Connect MSX to scartless tv

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By LaDolceDols

Supporter (8)

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24-03-2019, 20:44

Hi guys,
I bought myself a zemmix machine, so I now have a few posibilities to connect to my tv. But since my tv is a hdmi/component only tv I was wondering if anyone else has tackeled this problem? There are a lot of converters to be found on the net, but a lot of them dont seem to worl with old machines. Thanks already Smile

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By Wild_Penguin

Hero (526)

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25-03-2019, 07:15

Hi LaDolceDols,

Just first a confirmation: Have you bought some iteration of the Zemmix Neo - which is in fact (for practical purposes) the OCM, or some old Zemmix console made by Daewoo?

I presume it is the formet. The Zemmix NEO can output plain VGA. That makes conversion slightly easier, since many displays can accept VGA, alhough they can not accept RGB signals at lower sync rates. See if your monitor can accept DVI-I - if it can, then I believe you can use a passive VGA<->DVI-I adapter.

If you can not find any monitorwhich can accept analog signals, then you need something more expensive to do the conversion. In addition to VGA, it can output RGBs (at lower scan rates, similar to SCART RGB), composite and S-Video. You can use any upscaler, but the cheaper ones will include more latency - which I guess will be comparable to a crappily made monitor (analog to digital conversion will always introduce some latency, and if done poorly, it will be more present). Also, if you are buing something that converts SCART to HDMI, the cheapest ones might only support composite trough it (but in this case - don't buy one with a SCART connector, since you already got VGA).

I believe widely regarded as best alternatives are the OSSC and Framemeister.

In short: this task is no different from connecting any old gaming console / home computer to modern hardware, except that Zemmix Neo can output many different formats compared to an average device.

By LaDolceDols

Supporter (8)

LaDolceDols's picture

25-03-2019, 16:25

Hi Wild Penguin,
Yes I bought a zemmix neo. The tv I am using doesnt have a Dvi, so I guess I have to convert compositie to hdmi, svideo to hdmi or vga ton hdmi... There are a lot of different devices out there, but I was wondering if anyone has experiences with one ornanother device. Thanks for your ander!

By Grauw

Enlighted (7893)

Grauw's picture

25-03-2019, 16:46

I only have experience with RGB to HDMI using both the expensive OSSC, and the SCART input of one of my TV-monitors which is equivalent in quality to cheap Chinese RGB->HDMI converters.

Composite is the worst source signal, which you want to avoid. VGA on the Zemmix Neo is also quite good quality but it’s got some aliasing to adjust the aspect ratio (VGA has square pixels while RGB has not), so RGB is the best quality signal you can get out of the Zemmix. However whether RGB or VGA is preferred also depends on the converter (=your budget).

The best quality is by converting RGB->HDMI with the OSSC. It isn’t cheap, but will also work great for pretty much all your other retro hardware.

If you don’t want to spend quite that much and prefer to use a cheap Chinese converter, probably VGA->HDMI is better than RGB->HDMI. RGB can be an interlaced and a progressive signal, and the cheap converters perform deinterlacing (for video recorders) even though the MSX outputs progressive. The deinterlacing introduces more latency and graphical artifacts in motion. Because VGA is always progressive, the VGA converters will not have this issue, though as said there is some aliasing due to the different pixel aspect ratio (neither is perfect).

I can’t say much about S-Video but it should be the same story as RGB mostly (though slightly worse in terms of quality), with the same gotchas in terms of converters.

By Meits

Scribe (5333)

Meits's picture

25-03-2019, 16:56

S-Video is indeed worse than RGB as one of my screens which only accepts S-Video showed me.

By The_Engineer

Master (153)

The_Engineer's picture

25-03-2019, 18:04

RGB with OSCC would be my current recommendation.
Framemeister is unfortunately discontinued.

I checked Psycho World on Sony HB-F1XDJ connected through RGB to Framemeister to HDMI and it looks and sounds superb.

It would be great if someone would design an OCM with HDMI output (akin the work that Analogue is doing for the consoles).

By TomH

Champion (322)

TomH's picture

25-03-2019, 20:18

As a quick aside, you can also get RGB to component adaptors — they perform a colour space conversion but in no other way affect the original signal. It's still standard definition, at the normal NTSC or PAL timing, and will avoid false interlacing only if your TV is putting the necessary care into handling analogue signals.

The HD Retrovision cables are a famous example, but now discontinued (and you'd need to come up with your own Zemmix -> Mega Drive-style cable). Other options are available.

In case you're interested in quickly testing your TV, plug cables into the two component inputs that aren't connected to anything, and plug the normal yellow composite cable into the Y input. If you get reasonable video but black and white (and, if you're producing NTSC video from a real MSX at least, producing weird jail bars instead of colours), then your TV is doing a good job. If you get false interlacing and all that nonsense, an OSSC as others have recommended might be the only good option.

By LaDolceDols

Supporter (8)

LaDolceDols's picture

25-03-2019, 19:54

Thanks all!

By TomH

Champion (322)

TomH's picture

27-03-2019, 16:39

Ugh, late to have discovered this, but also check out the RetroTINK. It's similar to the OSSC in that it also buffers a single line of input, outputs it twice via HDMI and then moves on, but differs in that:

  • it has no RGB input, only composite, S-Video and component;
  • it always outputs 480p for an NTSC input and 576p for a PAL input, not any higher multiple;
  • per various reviews, it just works — most of the fiddling of an OSSC is not required;
  • it costs only half as much as an OSSC; and
  • it appears to be in production now — the current stated lead time is 2-3 weeks.

So evaluate that based on your prejudice towards lack of direct RGB input, but it will most definitely accept a 240/288p input to produce an HDMI 480/576p output via line doubling. It also seems able to handle 480i and 576i conversion, supposing that were a concern.

By Manuel

Ascended (15190)

Manuel's picture

27-03-2019, 22:08

What happens with interlacing (e.g. NOP's Unkown Reality) with these products?

By TomH

Champion (322)

TomH's picture

28-03-2019, 03:01

Based on the evidence of Youtube (don't forget: you can pause and then use your < and > keys to step frame by frame, and tick yourself in for 720p60), both OSSC and RetroTink offer exactly the same two options for interlaced video:

  • 'passthrough', which demonstrates as weaving (presumably his capture setup if both are just passing through?); and
  • line double, in which each field is converted to a complete frame by line doubling (or, on the OSSC, higher integer multiples than that), with an offset applied for even/odds — so exactly like a real CRT in terms of painting a whole image every field.

That video also shows a 'filtered' mode for the RetroTINK, which is the line doubled version with some sort of attempt to interpolate between lines. That, thankfully, is entirely optional. I would dare imagine the OSSC probably omits that in favour if its 'scanline' mode that attempts to look like that tiny number of TVs where you can see the gaps between adjacent lines.

These are the only two I've researched.

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