Want Crisp HDMI Output From Your Sega Genesis / Mega Drive? Check Out The Megaswitch HD 1
Image: Stanislav Parhomovich

HDMI mods for retro consoles are a game-changer. As anyone who has witnessed a Dreamcast or PS2 running via HDMI will attest, this is one retroactive modification which can really make your vintage systems feel brand-new; the biggest limitation, of course, is adapting systems built around analogue output for the digital age.

That's one of the reasons why many older systems don't currently have advanced HDMI solutions – but, thanks to the efforts of modders such as Ukrainian Sega fan Stanislav Parhomovich, progress is being made all the time.

Parhomovich is the developer behind the Megaswitch HD, the first HDMI mod for the Genesis / Mega Drive. "The main goal of this modification is to achieve high-quality digital video using the console's digital buses," he explains. "This helps to avoid noise and blurry video at the pixel boundaries. The console will have its own HDMI output, allowing you to connect it directly to your TV without using analog cables or digitization devices. The built-in FPGA Cyclone II scaler with a single-buffer algorithm allows for upscaling the original resolution up to 1080p with a five-fold multiplication factor."

Megaswitch HD supports 1920x1080p video and is able to maintain a stable image even when the console switches between resolutions, as is the case with games like Sonic 2.

Two buffering modes are included. "In Single Buffer mode, the delay dynamically adjusts," explains Parhomovich. "In Zero Delay mode, the algorithm works similarly to a line doubler, minimizing the delay." It also has its own OSD, allowing you to tinker with options during gameplay.

On the downside, it doesn't work with the Mega Drive Mk2 or 32X and isn't compatible with the Mega Drive's built-in Master System hardware, so you can't use this with the Power Base Converter to play 8-bit titles.

Parhomovich has just released the latest firmware for the Megaswitch HD, which allows you to fine-tune the colour reproduction:

The Megaswitch HD requires some soldering skill to install and costs $150 USD – sadly, though, it's out of stock at the time of writing. Hopefully, Parhomovich can produce some more of these soon so we can finally get our beloved Mega Drives into the HD era.