As the years roll by and vintage consoles get older and older, it stands to reason that the AV connection standards these machines were intended to use will become obsolete. S-Video, Composite, Component and even RGB SCART are all legacy connections that are slowly but surely being phased out in favour of digital standards, with HDMI being the current 'catch-all' favourite.
Taking analogue signals from old machines and getting them to work on your modern-day TV is no simple matter; products like the OSSC and the GCHD do a great job but are expensive options, and it's possible to get machines modified to output HDMI. Thankfully, one company is taking steps towards providing another, cheaper alternative with a range of cables which allow you to use your dusty old machines on TVs via HDMI - and absolutely no modding is required.
Pound Technology is a relatively young firm but it has already made quite an impression with retro gamers the world over. So far, it has produced a handful of products - including a clone SNES system - but its range of HDMI leads has caught the attention of many. So far, Pound has produced cables for the Xbox, PS2 and Dreamcast, and we've been lucky enough to have a go with the Dreamcast option.
The lead uses the Dreamcast's VGA signal for 640x480, 480p output and produces an incredibly crisp and colourful picture (it sadly means that certain titles which don't work with the VGA signal - like the PAL version of Skies of Arcadia - are unplayable with this lead). It's not quite as sharp as the pure VGA signal, nor does it seriously challenge the RGB SCART signal when passed through an upscaler like the aforementioned OSSC, but it's still impressive, and a real improvement over composite or pure RGB SCART (assuming your TV has those connections, of course). In fact, one of the TVs we tested it on - a 2018 model - lacked even a VGA connection, so this cable is something of a godsend if you're wanting to play your Dreamcast on the latest 4K sets.
The only issue we had was that our TV didn't allow us to change the aspect ratio of the image, so we were stuck with a stretched 16:9 picture. However, we've had the same issue when running other HDMI content via this particular set (a Panasonic) so we can't strictly lay the blame for this at Pound's feet.
Pound isn't done yet, either. It has plans to produce cables for the SNES and TurboGrafx-16 which will also allow those consoles to connect to your TV via HDMI. Given that neither of those machines outputs over VGA it will be interesting to see the results, but we've certainly been impressed with the Dreamcast offering so far.
Perhaps the most alluring aspect of these cables is the price. When you consider the cost of the OSSC and the high price of the GCHD, the fact that Pound's cable can be picked up for £37.99 is quite a bargain. Could these leads spend the end of wallet-busting HDMI solutions for classic consoles? Possibly, and for those of you who simply want a good picture on your modern TV with the minimum of fuss and cost, we can't imagine you'll have any issues with these.
Thanks to Games Connection for supplying the Dreamcast HDMI cable used in this feature.
This article was originally published by nintendolife.com on Wed 31st October, 2018.
I'll buy an N64 cable when they do one!
Well if they do a SNES cable that should cover the N64 and Gamecube as they use all the same multi-av out jack.
Welp let me check and see if they ship to the US.
Since the SNES, N64 and GameCube can share the same composite lead, might one HDMI cable work for all three?
Since I have a N64 set up, I will need a cable now please.
Wait, HD Link PS2 ?!
Will my PS2 Slim deliver 1080p output ??
I want to play DDR in 1080p.
Without costing the Earth... 38 pounds. I'm guessing the previous options were... of Earthshattering cost?
Because 38 pounds is massive imo. xD
@VmprHntrD Actually I don't think it will. HD Retrovision has already came out with a similar product, expect it uses Component instead of HDMI. It doesn't work with N64 and Gamecube, because it uses the SNES RGB output to produce the HDMI picture, which I presume this will too, when it comes out.
@Anti-Matter Metal Jesus on YouTube was not super impressed with the PS2 cable.
@Blizzia Compared to the £150+ it costs to get a OSSC, or the high cost of having your console modded to output HDMI?
Please let them do an N64 cable. My current telly wont accept the SCART signal from an N64 at all.
pointless, why buy an A/V to HDMI cable for each older system you have, when you can just buy a single 5-6 source A/V to HDMI switch box for $20 (they usually also have HDMI in ports as well)
those individual cables actually ARE adding to the environmentally unfriendly issues, not reducing
@Damo Point taken, which is why I added the bit about the previous options xD
Damn, that used to be expensive. Glad I never had an interest in playing retro games on my new TVs/monitors.
Played them enough back when they were new.
My PS3 works for PS1 and PS2, and my Xbox doesn't work. I did just order the Dreamcast cables from Amazon, though.
I'm really glad that companies are realizing this is an issue for retro gamers. My old CRT that I've had for many years is finally started to crap out on me, so I had to make the leap to HD for some of my retro consoles. I still have some hooked up to another, smaller CRT, but the more HDMI options available, the better.
@Blizzia a framemeister is about 350 pounds and the ossc is 200
"It's not quite as sharp as the pure VGA signal, nor does it seriously challenge the RGB SCART signal"
@Damo Is the SCART output of the Dreamcast better than VGA? I've always thought VGA gave the best picture.
There is a BIG difference between converting systems like Dreamcast and PS2 to HDMI and converting a system like SNES that uses a sub 640x480 resolution. I am intrigued to see how the SNES cable performs but I am happy with my OSSC.
@BulkSlash You missed out the important part of that line:
"...nor does it seriously challenge the RGB SCART signal when passed through an upscaler like the aforementioned OSSC"
If you have a lot of consoles an OSSC is still the cheaper option since you only pay £160 to buy it once and it works for everything, these cables are £40 per console. I have more than ten systems I connect through the OSSC and the results are amazing.
@subpopz This is taking the VGA signal, though - so it's not the same as using a HDMI box at all.
@Damo Concerning those costs: the VGA Box I'm using for my Dreamcast right now, only cost me around €30, so these cables here aren't a cheaper option at all, and seeing as they also don't offer a superior picture quality in comparison with that VGA Box,
I think I'll stick to my current setup.
Of course, there is the tiny inconvenience that not all modern TV's, and especially 4K screens, have that VGA input anymore, but a simple VGA to HDMI convertor will take care of that, and the combined cost will still be lower...
@Damo I wanted to avoid quoting too much , would you say the DC looks better using SCART through an OSSC over VGA? I've got an OSSC and have my DC connected through its VGA port, but if SCART looks better I'll definitely look at switching.
Umm... I don't know where you got your information from, but I can play Skies of Arcadia via VGA just fine. Perhaps it is just these Pound cables that are your issue? It wouldn't be their first cable that came up short when it came to compatibility.
Also, there are plenty of VGA to HDMI converters, most of which do a better job at conversion than the Pound cable does.
@BulkSlash DC via VGA is hard to beat but the OSSC is stunning, and obviously, you can then use that with other hardware, too. Given that it is now capable of doing x4 upscaling, it's going to be much better than the 640 x 480 that VGA does. Plus, a lot of new TVs lack VGA ports these days.
@ShadowFalls The UK version of Skies doesn't run on VGA - sorry should have clarified that's the version I'm running.
@VmprHntrD not necessarily. If they use the RGB signal to convert it then it won’t work on a N64 unless you get it RGB modded. HD retro vision cables are proof of that.
@jhewitt3476 Because those boxes are dog turd.
@jhewitt3476 You might want to compare the quality cos those boxes are utter, utter trash. Like, the worst.
I've got 2 boxes, never had a problem.....
you buy American ???
Nobody mentioning lag?
SEGA Genesis please!
If retro works then more power to them....
Excellent. I'm in for a Dreamcast cable.
Having modded my Dreamcast with a new fan and the GDEmu, an HDMI cable just seems fitting to make my system sit nicely next to my more modern systems.
@ShadowFalls UK copy doesn't support VGA. This is a UK site. US version supports VGA.
@vitelus What people pay for these days... Waw. xD
@Damo I'm not disagreeing with you (Post #10), but if you're going to use an XRGB Mini/OSSC for multiple systems - which, I assume, most would - the cost becomes quite a bit more palatable. This is a great option for those nostalgic for a specific console, but the cost would quickly add up if you're looking to add several of these to your retro-system collection.
Personally, I'm all for more options. I've since sold my XRGB Mini and moved to a CRT, but I also have a beharbros adapter for my dreamcast, as well as an Analogue NT/Super NT, so I definitely understand the appear of a simple HDMI out solution.
@Mogster Moogle! I love it kupo!
@damo did you cover the RetroTink 2x yet? If not you have to go look at it, the retro RGB fellow interviewed the inventor on YouTube and he's a great guy. Its a serious and cheaper alternative to the ossc!
Nice, this is a lot more ideal than some costly HDMI adapter that could brick your console.
@vitelus a framemeister is about 350 pounds
350 lbs? Why so heavy?
It would, but the Gamecube would be better served using the Digital out port for HDMI.
@Damo You can use the Action Replay/Gameshark disc whether original one or burned copy of it to get around the VGA restriction for Skies of Arcadia as well as for other games. For some reason they turned it off in some games.
I am glad companies are doing this. Now if someone could make an HDMI split box that doesn't suck, I'd be in business.
When using something like an HDMI split box the security feature "handshake" often fails, leading to a picture flickering in and out. It's quite inconsistent and annoying. Sometimes it will be fine for days, even weeks. Other times it will look like a sugar-high kid playing with a light switch... I have encountered this on 2 different TV and with several different boxes.
Still, getting everything to HDMI is great and I hope companies stick with HDMI for a good long time.
Still more expensive than I'd like that to be. If a TV manufacturer wants my money anyway, it better have composite slots available anyway.
@EmmatheBest Many do, they have a single one shared with the component ports. The problem is that most of the newer TVs don't support a resolution below 480i, so anything from NES to N64 won't display, nor will the Sega Genesis.
Epic fail of a product. I just paid $19.99 for a AV to HDMI Box at Office Depot which works on All AV based game consoles. Sadly, I can't plug my PS2 or Xbox Component cables in it.
@NTELLIGENTMAN Those tend to have latency issues. They are the same as the $8 ones on ebay.
@NTELLIGENTMAN You do know that those AV to HDMI boxes are just that, right? AV to HDMI. In case your HDMI isn't compatible with AV signals already.
This cable simulates the VGA output of the Dreamcast to get a crystal clear 480p for HDTV's instead of a messy, laggy analog signal. It's a great way to capture footage and/or play arcade ports the way they were meant to be played! It might not be a premium Akura, OSSC or even XRGB quality, but it's at the very least super accessible~
Another reason to emulate if you can't even connect it to a modern tv. Portable systems get modded too given they already have a screen.
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