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Author Topic: Comparing TV's and arcade monitors  (Read 17899 times)

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rCadeGaming

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Comparing TV's and arcade monitors
« on: June 14, 2012, 12:19:48 am »
I'm planning to use 15kHz TV's in two cabinets I'm building (a horizontal and a vertical).  I'm very pleased with the way 15kHz looks on the TV's I have, and a lot of what I'll be playing will be 15kHz.  However, some games will be 24-31kHz (including console games), and I'm wondering if I should spend the money to upgrade to a tri-sync monitor, or get a custom chassis that will enable this for the TV's.  

Basically, 15kHz is still the first priority, so if I can maintain the quality of 15kHz video I have, and add 24 and 31kHz, I want to; but if 15kHz would suffer, I'll just stick with 15kHz and live with interlaced video for higher resolutions.  I was wondering if anyone would be interested in comparing with the 15kHz picture they're getting with their multi-syncs, and talking about options for multi-syncs.

This describes my current setup in more detail.  From another thread:

I think the best TV for arcade purposes is a Sony KV-27FS120.  This a flat 4:3 tube that's strictly 15kHz (~240p/480i), that was produced in the early 2000's.  Picture quality on the component input is outstanding, sharp but not too sharp, with great scanlines.  All of the TV's geometry and picture settings can be changed in the service menu, which can be accessed by turning the TV off and pressing Display, 5, Volume Up, Power, on the remote.  This was a very popular tv, and is now one of the most commonly available on Craigslist.
...
I have a Crescendo TC1600 VGA to component transcoder
...
I'm using a GeForce 7300GS with Soft15kHz and Powerstrip.

Here's some pictures of some MAME games in their native resolutions (all are 15kHz progressive):













Right click the pics and open in new tab/window to see full size.

The colors are a little washed out in the pictures, especially in the Mario ones.  They look about perfect in person.  What I wanted to show most is the scanline width and dot pitch, which I really like on these TV's.  How would these things compare when using a tri-sync to display 15kHz?

Wei-Ya and Makvision are the only tri-syncs still being produced now right?  In any case, I want to get something that will be easy to find two matching ones (for the two cabinets), easy to find parts for, and easy to replace when they burn out someday.

If possible, I think a conversion chassis to use the tubes from these TV's would be great.  Would that allow to me keep the same look in 15kHz while adding 24 and 31?  Using these TV tubes allows me to stockpile spares, practically free.  I've heard of people selling built to order custom chassis's to convert TV tubes for arcade monitor use, but I never get any concrete references.  Can anyone tell me where to look?  Is this a good idea?
« Last Edit: June 14, 2012, 12:22:25 am by rCadeGaming »

ahofle

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Re: Comparing TV's and arcade monitors
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2012, 11:33:25 pm »
You don't need 31khz for console games.  Remember, old CRT TVs ran in interlaced mode which you get achieve with a 15khz monitor (640x480i), so in reality you WANT to run them interlaced for authenticity.  There are only a few EGA/24khz arcade games so I wouldn't worry too much about those.  Worst case you can run them at 640x480i with borders or stretch them.  I have both a large 27" multisync and a 19" 15khz CGA monitor.  To be honest, the 19" CGA looks better to me for arcade games.  I don't notice much difference between consoles running interlaced on the CGA and progressive on the multisync.  The multisync is a bit finer and isn't quite as smooth as the CGA monitor at low resolutions.  Don't get me wrong though it's still way better than MAME's CRT effects.  The multisync is easier to work with because it goes up to 800x600, but if I think your plan of separate vertical and horizontal cabinets with 15khz monitors is about as good as you can get.

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Re: Comparing TV's and arcade monitors
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2012, 04:20:35 pm »
That looks damn good.....I'm a little confused how you're getting progressive scan on your TV, as far as I know SD TVs are locked to 480i. What model(s) and what methods are you using?
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MonMotha

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Re: Comparing TV's and arcade monitors
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2012, 04:38:38 pm »
Most analog SDTVs will accept progressive at 15kHz.  Some of them still try to treat it like it's interlaced, so you get some flicker/jitter, but most of them work just fine.

Some of the later ones with digital sync processing/deflection have issues, but most detect and handle it just fine.  Almost every console system output progressive video, so it was essentially mandatory to support it by then.  The NTSC guidelines call for the TV to support it (I don't know if it's mandatory or optional, but it's at least recommended), even though broadcast stations are forbidden from using it.

ahofle

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Re: Comparing TV's and arcade monitors
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2012, 05:41:45 pm »
15khz progressive over what connection?  Component?  I was assuming he was using SCART.

MonMotha

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Re: Comparing TV's and arcade monitors
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2012, 05:44:57 pm »
Any connection you want.  It's just a change in the timing of the sync signal.  You can run progressive 15k (e.g. 320x240) on composite, if you want to.  Lots of the old consoles did just that.

He specified that he's using YPbPr component, though (via a colorspace transcoder).

rCadeGaming

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Re: Comparing TV's and arcade monitors
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2012, 01:01:35 am »
Video setup used for those pictures:

MAME on PC using Windows XP 64, Soft15kHz, and Powerstrip -> VGA out from nVidia GeForce 7300GS graphics card -> TC1600 VGA to Component Transcoder -> Component input on 27" Sony Trinitron KV27-FS120 15kHz CRT TV

More info can be found here, last post (as of this post):

http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?topic=95833.0

You don't need 31khz for console games.

What?  I certainly do.  Almost everything on Dreamcast looks best in 480p (Ikaruga, Psvariar 2, Triggerheart Exelica, Shikigami no Shiro II, Soul Calibur, etc.).  Though I won't use them AS much, the same goes with the Wii/Gamecube, and Playstation 2 where supported (Guilty Gear).  Saying that these should be played in 480i because it's "authentic" is silly to me.  The designers didn't intend this, it was just a necessary compromise if you didn't didn't have a 480p display at the time.  They included progressive support for a reason.  I don't play my Super Nintendo with composite video because that's how I did as a kid; I play it in RGB SCART transcoded to component because that's the best video available.

I'd also like to play things like Street Fighter IV, PacMan CE, Space Invaders Infinity Gene, etc. in 480p.  1080p looks better, but I want them in my cabinets; without the lag of a flat panel or the poor 15kHz display of a CRT capable of exceeding 480p.

On a TV like the one I'm using, 480i is an especially bad compromise due to the clarity of the picture.  Interlace flicker is highly noticeable in front-ends and menus, and motion tearing/feathering is extremely obvious during gameplay.


I have both a large 27" multisync and a 19" 15khz CGA monitor.  To be honest, the 19" CGA looks better to me for arcade games.  I don't notice much difference between consoles running interlaced on the CGA and progressive on the multisync.

If you can't see the ugliness of interlaced motion tearing/feathering, it must be from some combination of the CGA monitor being much smaller (19" and 27" is a big difference) and blurrier (not necessarily in a bad way) than my TV.  Tearing/feathering is quite apparent even if you try to ignore it and focus on gameplay.

The multisync is a bit finer and isn't quite as smooth as the CGA monitor at low resolutions.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think your "multisync" which can display up to SVGA (800x600) is sharper than a proper "tri-sync" which only displays CGA/EGA/VGA.  Nevertheless, I'd be interested in pictures of it in CGA.

-

Anyone want to compare with a tri-sync CRT?

Does anyone have any advice on conversion chassis's?  Any references?  Who's making these?

« Last Edit: June 16, 2012, 10:32:02 am by rCadeGaming »

notbillcosby

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Re: Comparing TV's and arcade monitors
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2012, 08:00:43 pm »
Wait wait- how can I use the composite input on my tv to display progressive scan?
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Jack Burton

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Re: Comparing TV's and arcade monitors
« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2012, 12:38:09 am »
Wait wait- how can I use the composite input on my tv to display progressive scan?

The very easiest way: connect an NES.

The NES and many old consoles output low res progressive scan.  It was usually 224p or 240p, depending on how you think about the res. 

Beyond that, you need something like soft15kzh and a way to covert the 240p RGB signal from your computer to composite video. 

notbillcosby

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Re: Comparing TV's and arcade monitors
« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2012, 12:43:54 am »
Awesome. Was just pointed to this thread; I'm in the middle of figuring out what to do for a display in my first cabinet. I'll read up on soft15khz. I have svideo out on my video card and an svideo to RCA cable, will that do?
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MonMotha

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Re: Comparing TV's and arcade monitors
« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2012, 12:47:22 am »
No.  PC TV outputs (S-Video and Composite, not the YPbPr component outputs found on some cards from the mid-2000s) pretty much universally mash everything to 480i.

You're probably going to have to do an "outboard" conversion.  Converter compatibility with progressive scan may vary, but you may be able to find something that works.

rCadeGaming

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Re: Comparing TV's and arcade monitors
« Reply #11 on: July 16, 2012, 12:53:07 am »
Wait wait- how can I use the composite input on my tv to display progressive scan?

You need to learn about resolutions, scan rates, and what progressive vs. interlaced really means.  

I'm guessing you're thinking that there's a problem using progressive scan via composite because it doesn't work with modern consoles that output 480p or above.  This is because "standard resolution" CRT tv's can't do 480p or above.  They are restricted to around 15kHz horizontal scan rate, and 480p (640x480 progressive) is 31kHz.  However, the resolutions in most classic arcade games (including those in the pictures) are around 240p (320x240 progressive) which is 15kHz.  480i is also 15kHz, so this is why it's used for higher resolution where progressive isn't an option.

Maybe what I should be saying is the progressive scan does not mean high resolution.  NES, Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, etc. output progressive scan using composite.  It's low resolution, around 240p, but it's progressive.

Again, read up on progressive vs interlaced.

Also note that I'm using the component input, not the composite input, but this TV is limited to 15kHz regardless.

Finally, I'm pretty sure that a composite can't be used for anything over 15kHz (nothing more than 240p or 480i) regardless of what is on either end of it.  A composite video signal is the red, green, and blue color signals, plus sync, all compressed onto one wire, so there's just not enough bandwidth.

rCadeGaming

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Re: Comparing TV's and arcade monitors
« Reply #12 on: July 16, 2012, 01:12:54 am »
Ok, first let me say that I didn't see the three posts after your original question until after I typed my response, so sorry for any repetitive info.

Awesome. Was just pointed to this thread; I'm in the middle of figuring out what to do for a display in my first cabinet. I'll read up on soft15khz. I have svideo out on my video card and an svideo to RCA cable, will that do?

No.  PC TV outputs (S-Video and Composite, not the YPbPr component outputs found on some cards from the mid-2000s) pretty much universally mash everything to 480i.
Absolutely agree here.  "TV out" is crap, stay away.  It makes no sense to spend time building your own cab and then settle for ugly 480i on a TV/monitor that could be displaying the actual resolutions of the games.

You're probably going to have to do an "outboard" conversion.  Converter compatibility with progressive scan may vary, but you may be able to find something that works.

First off, you're using an old CRT TV right?  If it doesn't have component inputs, you might want to upgrade.  You can get the model I'm using for $0-$50 on Craigslist.  They're very common.  Info above...

You'll need a graphics card that's listed as compatible with Soft15kHz.  I bought mine for like $20 on ebay.  Just make sure it matches your motherboard (PCI, AGP, or PCI-Express).

Finally, to get the VGA from the card displaying on the TV, you'll need a VGA to component transcoder.  The Crescendo Systems TC1600 is very high quality.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2012, 08:19:51 pm by rCadeGaming »

rCadeGaming

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Re: Comparing TV's and arcade monitors
« Reply #13 on: July 16, 2012, 01:20:44 am »
Just saw your question in your other thread.  Unless you'll be playing Dreamcast era games and newer, you don't want to put a CRT TV that's capable of 480p or more in arcade cabinet.  All the ones I've tested won't actually display anything in low-res, they upscale it to 480p.  

This is why you'd need an arcade monitor to display both 240p and 480p.  CRT TV's are usually one or the other.

And that is why I was asking if anyone would compare their tri-sync's handling of 240p with my setup.  Anybody?
« Last Edit: July 16, 2012, 08:20:56 pm by rCadeGaming »

MonMotha

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Re: Comparing TV's and arcade monitors
« Reply #14 on: July 16, 2012, 01:39:28 am »
Finally, to get the VGA from the card displaying on the TV, you'll need a VGA to component transcoder.  The Crescendo Systems TC1600 is very high quality.

There were also some PC video cards from the mid-2000s with YPbPr component outputs on them.  They were generally "fully capable" outputs - they were just as configurable as the RGB (VGA) outputs, but they output in YPbPr.  Very handy if you can find one as it avoids the need for an extra converter.  Configuration can be a ---smurfette---, though.

Just saw your question in your other thread.  Unless you'll be playing Dreamcast era games and newer, you don't want to put a progressive scan CRT TV in arcade cabinet.  All the ones I've tested won't actually display anything in low-res, they upscale it to 480p. 

I've seen some that don't, but they seem rare.  Most televisions are very cost sensitive, and it turns out that it was cheaper during that era to do digital scaling than to do multisync deflection.  This was especially true of some of the late 1080i widescreen CRTs.  I can't give you any models I know are multisyncs, but they're out there.

And that is why I was asking if anyone would compare their tri-sync's handling of 240p with my setup.  Anybody?

My digital multisyncs as well as my older dual-res analog chassis look similar to that.  It's tough to tell from a picture, and everybody has different taste in how they adjust the monitor (the contrast control especially will affect the appearance of scanlines to the naked eye).

If the system's not scaling, then, for progressive video, the only real difference to concern yourself with is dot pitch of the CRT, and those are all over the map.  The arcade monitors that support SVGA/XGA tend to have finer dot pitch (and hence more accentuated scanlines at low res), but that's not guaranteed, and none I've ever seen are even close to what was seen on computer monitors.  All of my arcade monitors appear to have a dot pitch comparable to a typical CRT television from the 90s with the possible exception of my 29PFXes, which are maybe a bit finer.  The "pure flat" or "dynaflat" tubes tend to have somewhat weird edge geometry that can become apparent if you look closely at the scanlines on low res.  These also tend to be very contrast heavy tubes (i.e. they're really bright) which is nice but again accentuates the scanlines at low res.  I could say that all of my monitors look "good" at low res progressive e.g. from a Neo-Geo MVS.  The ones that are capable of it look downright beautiful at 480p/VGA assuming the graphics its displaying are reasonably designed for that, but even the old 25k/mid-res stuff looks very smooth.

notbillcosby

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Re: Comparing TV's and arcade monitors
« Reply #15 on: July 16, 2012, 01:50:15 am »
Thanks for all the info! I'm trying to find a monitor that will fit in my cab, be easy enough to remove when I have to push the cab up my basement stairs in the future, look fairly authentic for games 1995ish and earlier, and will look good hooked up to a computer running Mame and not cost more than it has to. I have no plans to hook up any other game systems. I'll read up on all the stuff you mentioned. The monitor part of this project is turning out to be much more involved than I was expecting!
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rCadeGaming

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Re: Comparing TV's and arcade monitors
« Reply #16 on: July 16, 2012, 08:30:13 pm »
you don't want to put a progressive scan CRT TV in arcade cabinet

To be clear, I meant you don't want a CRT TV that's marketed as "progressive scan," meaning one capable of 480p or higher.  As stated above, traditional CRT TV's are of capable of 15kHz "low-res" progressive, which is what you want.

I worded this poorly.  MonMotha, you seemed to know exactly what I meant, but just wanted to clarify for anyone else reading.  Post edited.


There were also some PC video cards from the mid-2000s with YPbPr component outputs on them.  They were generally "fully capable" outputs - they were just as configurable as the RGB (VGA) outputs, but they output in YPbPr.

If anyone can find one, go for it.  Just make sure it's listed as compatible with Soft15kHz:

http://community.arcadeinfo.de/showthread.php?7925-Getestete-Grafikkarten


Very handy if you can find one as it avoids the need for an extra converter.

Agreed.  In my case, I also use my transcoder with custom cabling to get RGB quality from my Genesis, PC Engine, Super Nintendo, Saturn, and Dreamcast.  I use it with a scan converter for 240p output from PS3 (Third Strike Online), Wii (Mega Man 9), and Gamecube (Game Boy Player).  I also use it with an NTSC decoder (composite to RGB) for NES.

I need the transcoder anyway.  If you're not dealing with consoles in your cab, a component graphics card may be both the simplest and best solution, but I would recommend reconsidering using consoles in addition to MAME.

There's tons of great console ports of games that aren't yet full speed or even working at all in MAME.  Also, there are tons of console exclusive games that are better suited for a cabinet than a controller.  Finally, there are some MAME games with very high input lag that are better played on a console port.


Most televisions are very cost sensitive, and it turns out that it was cheaper during that era to do digital scaling than to do multisync deflection.

Makes perfect sense.


This was especially true of some of the late 1080i widescreen CRTs.

Yeah, and I should say that these TV's generally upscale to at least 480p.


I can't give you any models I know are multisyncs, but they're out there.

Does anyone know any model numbers of multisync CRT TV's capable of displaying real 15kHz.  I've tried very hard to find some, but no luck.  I've personally tested many sets, but they've all had the upscaling problem.

I will say that a 480p capable CRT TV gives the best picture you can get from a Dreamcast.  720p games (like SFIV and Blazblue) are also very nice on a capable CRT TV, and of course no lag.


It's tough to tell from a picture, and everybody has different taste in how they adjust the monitor

I know.  There's really no substitute for us actually meeting in person to compare, but it's the best I could on a forum.


If the system's not scaling, then, for progressive video, the only real difference to concern yourself with is dot pitch of the CRT, and those are all over the map.  The arcade monitors that support SVGA/XGA tend to have finer dot pitch

Of course.  I definitely don't want anything capable of over 31kHz, as the dot pitch would have to be too high.  I'm looking for something like the TV I have pictured.

Even among 15kHz TV's there's a wide variety of different dot pitches available.  It's pretty much correlated to how long ago it was made, and then varies slightly from there among manufacturers. 

The difference in dot pitch in 15kHz TV's presents a tradeoff.

The one pictured is relatively new.  It's from about the last line of 15kHz CRT TV's that Sony made, so it has a flat tube and a digital chassis.  It has a relatively fine dot pitch, so it produces a fairly sharp image (for TV's, nothing like a computer monitor) and pretty distinct scan lines, which I prefer.  However, since it's relatively sharp, motion feathering is quite apparent with 480i sources.

On the other hand, the fuzzier image produced by an older TV with a coarser dot pitch (like one with a curved tube and only composite inputs) may have no apparent scan lines, but the fuzziness will also hide motion feathering.

Technically a curved tube is more accurate to the arcade, and some people will prefer a fuzzier picture with less or no scanlines.  I don't know why anyone would prefer motion feathering, so older TV's may actually be better depending on your preferences.

Also, wouldn't a shadow mask be more accurate the arcade than the aperture grille of my Trinitron?  You have to look very closely to see this difference though; everything's a tradeoff.


All of my arcade monitors appear to have a dot pitch comparable to a typical CRT television from the 90s...

I could say that all of my monitors look "good" at low res progressive e.g. from a Neo-Geo MVS.  The ones that are capable of it look downright beautiful at 480p/VGA assuming the graphics its displaying are reasonably designed for that, but even the old 25k/mid-res stuff looks very smooth.

What tri-sync (15/24/31) monitors are you using/referring to? 

What do you think of the currently available monitors from Wei-Ya and Makvision?  They're the only new tri-sync's available right now, correct?

-

Since we're reviving this thread, my other question was if anyone makes custom chassis's that would allow me to use the tube from this TV for 15/24/31kHz?  I've heard about this, but can't find any details or references.

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Re: Comparing TV's and arcade monitors
« Reply #17 on: July 16, 2012, 09:52:41 pm »
I have three models of multisyncs.

2x KT-2914F: this is the original model "Betson Multisync" - later ones were the KT-2914DF.  The later ones had a "dynaflat" tube with finer dot pitch.  The "mostly flat" type found on the KT-2914F has dot pitch comparable to a television from the late 90s/early 2000s.  It looks good at pretty much all supported resolutions (15-38k), but 800x600 doesn't look much sharper than 640x480.  I suspect the relatively coarse dot pitch of the tube and limited bandwidth of the system is a limiting factor at that point.  240p looks essentially identical to my Japanese analog dual res monitors from the 90s (Toshiba D29CR55 and Hitachi GMK-29FS2).  There's some side compression at 15k, but this doesn't affect the scanline appearance (it's annoying on side-scrolling stuff, though).

3x Sanwa 29PFX ("the monitor"): These are 15-31k "pure flat" tubes.  The dot pitch is I think a little finer than the KT-2914F.  This makes sense as it's a substantially newer tube.  I haven't really tested these at 240p much, but 480i and 480p both look pretty good.  My recollection is that 240p has very visible scanlines since the monitor is very bright (yes, even set correctly) with somewhat finer dot pitch.  Even with the somewhat finer dot pitch than the other monitors, it's still nowhere close to a PC monitor like my GDM-FW900s.

1x Wells Gardner D9200: this thing is pretty badly burned (from before I got it).  It's probably the lowest quality of the multisyncs I have, but that could be due to tube wear.  Dot pitch appears comparable to the KT-2914F.  I'm not sure I've actually run 240p on this one.

Oddly, I don't think I own a single "American" arcade monitor...  I don't have any experience with the new Wei-Ya/Makvisions.  I've heard mixed things.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2012, 09:59:48 pm by MonMotha »

Zebra

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Re: Comparing TV's and arcade monitors
« Reply #18 on: March 07, 2015, 04:55:29 pm »
I want to revive this thread temporarily to add some info that would have been helpful when I was buying my arcade monitors and TV's. I currently have a 25" tri-sync arcade monitor with a dot pitch of around .8mm, a 27" Sony trinitron (15khz only) and a top of the line 20" Ikegami broadcast monitor with a dot pitch of .31mm.

As a general point, an arcade monitor that can display 480p wouldn't need a dot pitch that is finer than a tv that displays 480i as the resolution is the same. It is the FPS that is different. I.e 480p is 60fps while 480i is 30fps. The fact that a few tri-sync and vga monitors have a finer pitch doesn't mean that they all do.

You can tell what type of pitch they have by looking at the model number of the tube (not the monitor as a whole). Tubes that start with an "A" (e.g. A68) use the same tubes as those found in 480i tv's. There are a few that use "M" tubes which are the same fine pitch as you find in pc monitors. These should be avoided for CGA gaming in my opinion as they produce overly thick scanlines and a pixelated image. A tubes have a pitch of around .8mm. M tubes have a pitch of around .3mm and the difference is very noticable.

Most of the 480i broadcast monitors such as the Sony PVM and BVM's or the high end Ikegami monitors also use M tubes which gives them a horizontal resolution of over 900. Some people love the extra sharp image on these with jagged edges and thick black scanlines but if you are after that smooth authentic arcade look, these should be avoided too.

Incidentally, the second set of number on a tube model is the size in centimeters. My Billabs BL25C90t 24.8" arcade monitor's tube number starts A59 as the tube is 59cm.

Before I got my tri-sync, I mostly used my 27" Sony Trinitron tv. While you can run EGA and VGA games in interlaced mode, the difference is very noticable. The image is far softer and smaller text like hi scores tends to look a little blurry. While most games are CGA, there are a number of great emulated games that are EGA and above. Some of the EGA or VGA games I play on my tri-sync include: Sega Ralley, Daytona USA, Street Fighter 4, Narc, ridge racer, Virtua Fighter and Virtua Cop. These are all great games that I wouldn't want to be without. Even paperboy is EGA which is strange as the graphics look like I a 3-year-old made them.

If you are going to go interlaced instead of native, you should probably stick with a tv over an arcade monitor. I don't know if this applies to all arcade monitors but the ones I have owned did not handle interlaced resolutions well at all. The amount of flicker made them unusable. My Sony Trinitron had a fairly stable 480i image for games like Narc but the drop to 30fps was noticable for driving games. Also, for EGA games, you need to use hardware stretching for interlaced modes which makes most games in mame look bad.

If you are going to run interlaced modes, I suggest buying a decent scan converter, even if your graphics cards are capable of interlaced resolutions. My Extron scan converter cost $50 on ebay and it did a far better job than my arcade vga cards interlaced mode. It also has 4 anti flicker settings which are essential for games that were not natively 480i. It is worth noting that, even with the extron scan converter, interlaced modes flicker too much to use in my arcade monitors which obviously weren't made to be interlaced.

When buying a tv, the type of tube it has should be considered if you want it to look as authentic as possible. Sony Trinitron and wega sets give a sharp image but they use a different type of mask than arcade monitors. Trinitron tubes produce scanlines than are more prominent than on a standard arcade monitor. They also don't have curved tubes which makes a difference to how games look. Some people, (myself included), prefer how games look on lower end CRT tv's. You just want to make sure to get one with component input as a minimum. Also, some higher end Sony and Toshiba sets use an M tube so these should be avoided, even if they are 15khz only.

Getting 240p s-video from you graphics card is more difficult than one might think. Most of the devices that convert a vga connector to S-video out, will also change the resolution to 480i. There is only a few transcoders that will only convert the color space and leave the resolution at native 240p. I used a jrok converter for a while. Jrok boards cost around $70 and they are used inside US superguns to allows jamma boards to be played on a US crt tv as they don't have RGB inputs. My jrok converts RGB to either component, s-video or composite.

The 240p s-video output from the jrok is actually quite good. It has independent red, green and blue color adjustments so you can make it look accurate. On a decent tv like most Sony Trinitron models, the image through Svideo is acceptable and only slightly worse than component. Smaller text does pick up some blurring though, particularly towards the edge of the screen. The overall appearance is not as sharply defined as you get with RGB on arcade monitors but at least you don't have to worry about jagged edges. You can increase the sharpness in the service menu too.

Given that crt tv's can still be picked up for very little money, there is no reason not to get one with component though. Getting component output from rgb is far easier than finding a device that outputs S-video at 240p. Jrok boards are not exactly user friendly but scart to component converts are easy to use. My radeon 4890 can output component video with an adapter that it comes with.

A lot of multi-sync arcade monitors have both a 15 pin d-sub port (vga cable) and a molex connector for jamma boards. Real Jamma boards put out a 4-5volt rgb signal while PC graphics cards put out a 1 volt signal. The molex input on my monitor needs 4-5 volts to work at all where as the vga input works with 1 volt. Some cga arcade monitors only work with a 4-5 volt signal. Ultimarc sells a video amp for $15 that converts the output from graphics cards to 4 volts. The significance of this is that cga and EGA games look different when used with the same higher voltage signal as the original arcade board. At 4 volts, the graphics are brighter and the monitor blooms more. Jagged edges get smoothed and thick black scanlines become less visible.

This is probably the reason why some people think that the image is too sharp on some tri-syncs (assuming it is a model with an A tube and not and M tube). If a monitor has both a molex input and a 15 pin d-sub that can be connected to a gpu without an adapter, why would they use the molex? The vga port on mine works at cga, ega and vga. It autoswitches without losing sync ever, so it is convenient. The molex input needs a video amp and only works at cga or EGA so most people would give it a miss. However, when I use the molex input for cga games, they look exactly the same as a cga only monitor and identicle to the real jamma pcb.

This video amp thing is important when deciding between tv, broadcast monitor and arcade monitors because most TV's and broadcast monitors will only work with a 1 volt signal. At the lower voltage, the colors on emulated games don't look accurate, they seem to have a slight yellow tint so whites can look beige etc. you also pick up a little extra sharpness which is noticable on higher end displays. This is not a huge issue for most people because mame and service menus allow some adjustments to compensate, but, the difference will be noticable to a purist.

A number of CRT tv's can't sync to 54hz games like mortal kombat. Most of the Sony Trinitrons I have tried in the US will lose sync at anything below 57hz so you can't play mortal kombat 1,2,3 or R-type at native resolutions which is annoying after all of the trouble you go through to output 240p from a pc in a format that works on a crt tv. My arcade monitor can sync to anything from 47hz to 72hz. My ikegami broadcast monitor can sync to an ever wider range.

While it is right that most 480p / 1080i capable tv's can not display 240p without upscaling it, I believe that a small exception to this rule is the crt rear projection tv's that were made between 1998 and 2002. People used to call these "big screen tv's). There are many going free on craigslist that are 50" 4:3 crt sets that can sync to both 15khz, 31khz and up to 1080i without scaling.

I was looking at a 50" Mitsubishi set that has rgb hv inputs on BNC connectors as well as component video. They were only capable of displaying HDTV with a seperate receiver that was available as an upgrade. I remember that many of the arcade games at my local movie theater used these 50" rear prpjection monitors. They even had CGA games like street fighter 2 running on them. I never owned one of these sets in the late 90's but I would be interested to hear from anyone who has a 4:3 crt rear projection tv with component or rgb inputs. I would like to know how they handle 240p and if they can multi-sync.




akfransen@sbcglobal.net

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Re: Comparing TV's and arcade monitors
« Reply #19 on: April 03, 2015, 09:09:20 pm »
Hi Zebra, thanks for this post, that's a lot of handy information in one post.  It will definitely come in handy when it comes time to build my next machine.

If you're willing to read this, I'd love your input on my current build.  I have read a lot about my situation, but I am having a very difficult time figuring out the hardware for my build. 

I have a 2005 Golden Tee PCB with a Jamma Harness.  I am outputting EGA signal from the Jamma Harness (5 pin), and currently using a CGA/EGA/YUV to VGA Arcade HD-Converter PCB (GBS-8220) from jammaboards.com.  I am using the VGA output on the converter board to an LCD monitor as a temporary solution.  For the permanent build, I am trying to use an old 27" tube TV because it fits in the cabinet well and will probably be a more authentic picture.  But I've tried two different converters (EGA to S-video) and have not had success with either.

Now that I have a VGA signal with the converter board, I thought about just converting that again with a VGA to S-Video or VGA-Component conversion box.  But I'm a afraid this won't work correctly (and it seems inefficient to do two conversions to get the signal to the TV).  My TV doesn't have component inputs but I would gladly go dig one up on craigslist if that would produce a far superior picture.

Do you have any suggestions on the best setup to approach this?

Thanks for taking a look!

Aaron F

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Re: Comparing TV's and arcade monitors
« Reply #20 on: May 17, 2015, 09:48:01 am »
Thanks for the detailed comparison Zebra, very informative. 

One thing to note is that it's a little misleading to say that there is a drop in frame rate from 480p to 480i.  It's true that in 480i there are only 30 full frames completed each second, but there is a still a new field completed 60 times per second, just the same as in 480p.  Moving objects are still updated 60 times per second, it's just that in 480i there is interlace-feathering caused by alternating between the odd and even lines each field, whereas in 480p every field contains every line.

tiobolinha

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Re: Comparing TV's and arcade monitors
« Reply #21 on: May 17, 2015, 09:43:02 pm »
When I got my cabinet it came with a 15 khz KOF arcade monitor.

The image that I got with my semp toshiba 29" CRT running at native resolutions (PC with ATI x1550->CRT_Emudriver->RGB-Component transcoder-> CRT TV 15khz) is way superior in my opnion. I don't remember playing an arcade in the 80s and 90s with an image as good as I have in my cabinet today.

It's true that all my games are supposed to run in 15 khz (even the medium resolution ones were interlaced in the original hardware) so I'm pretty much ok with my set.

I'm very curious about the results one can get with a PC monitor running at 120 hz. Maybe that's a nice alternative for a tri sync monitor?

Thank you.


Zebra

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Re: Comparing TV's and arcade monitors
« Reply #22 on: May 25, 2015, 03:58:09 pm »
PC monitors at 120hz look terrible and are definitely not a good alternative to an arcade monitor. The resulting image is incredibly pixelated, just like on an HD flatscreen. When using make, you would still need HLSL, even when playing at native resolutions.

Btw, almost no arcade games used interlaced resolutions. 480i is 30 frames per second (with half of the screen drawn in one field and then the other half in the second. This is fine for movies that were shot with film at 24fps but the resulting flicker made computer graphics look blurry. Arcade games run at around 60 frames per second by drawing both fields in the same set of lines. The second set of lines is left blank which is what creates what people call scan lines. Ega monitors used this same method to get 60 fps but with 380 lines in use (instead of the 240 that ca games use).

CRT tv's use the same tubes as arcade monitors which is why many have a similar look. In the U.S. You will get a slight degradation in quality from using component instead of rgb (but this is not noticeable for most people). The exception is that some higher end CRT tv's use M tubes with a finer dot pitch. Those higher end models can make 15khz games look a little pixelated. Some people call that a "clearer image".

In my opinion, it is better to use a shadow mask TV if you aren't going to use an arcade monitor. Stripe pitch tv's and monitors should be avoided like curried toilet paper as these result in a horrible jagged look.

MonMotha

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Re: Comparing TV's and arcade monitors
« Reply #23 on: May 26, 2015, 01:56:07 am »
A number of late 90s/early 2000s games run 480i.  Many of them also support 480p and are DIP switch (or similar) configurable in that regard.  This is especially common on hardware based on consoles (PS2, mostly) and PCs.  Early games...yeah, those were basically all progressive.  I've not seen any that ran interlaced but with the same line in each frame line you describe, but I imagine somebody did it.  I can't imagine why, however...  That's basically 240p30 but with added interlace shimmer.

While PC monitors will look "wrong" at 120Hz/240p native arcade resolutions due to tight phosphor dot pitch, there are some late-model CRT arcade monitors from the mid-late 2000s (and current) that have fairly coarse phosphor pitch (SD TV-like) but still only support 31kHz+ scanrates.  These are often great candidates for 120Hz refresh if they support it which many do.  Some have tighter dot pitches as they use HDTV-targeted tubes or PC M-type types, and these will have overly pronounced scanlines when using double refresh which may be objectionable (consider "doublescan" instead, which will draw each line twice, or use digital filtering for other effects).

"EGA" in arcade (not PC/VESA - that's different) parlance aka "mid res" is ~384 lines and is almost universally progressive scan, not interlaced.  Horizontal scanrate is ~25kHz.  You can double refresh this (draw each frame twice) on PC monitors supporting 120Hz refresh or doublescan it (draw each scanline twice) as it will then have similar horizontal line timings to PC XGA (1024x768).  You can also interlace 1024x768 and display it on a mid-res arcade monitor, though you'll typically run into bandwidth and phosphor dot pitch limitations that will cause it to be pretty blurry.  Some mid res games had an option to downscale or alter the graphics rendering to run in standard res.  The results were usually poor, but it let operators run these games on older cabinets with 15k-only monitors.

You cannot cheat the numbers much on this other than by altering the refresh rate as there's a fixed relationship between number of scanlines (total, not all will have video), refresh rate, and progressive vs. interlace .  This did happen occasionally.  Mortal Kombat 2, for example, ran at ~54Hz and hence had more than the customary 240-256 lines of progressive video while still using a 15kHz standard res monitor.

dmckean

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Re: Comparing TV's and arcade monitors
« Reply #24 on: May 26, 2015, 04:13:51 pm »
PC monitors at 120hz look terrible and are definitely not a good alternative to an arcade monitor. The resulting image is incredibly pixelated, just like on an HD flatscreen. When using make, you would still need HLSL, even when playing at native resolutions.

While PC monitors will look "wrong" at 120Hz/240p native arcade resolutions due to tight phosphor dot pitch, there are some late-model CRT arcade monitors from the mid-late 2000s (and current) that have fairly coarse phosphor pitch (SD TV-like) but still only support 31kHz+ scanrates.  These are often great candidates for 120Hz refresh if they support it which many do.  Some have tighter dot pitches as they use HDTV-targeted tubes or PC M-type types, and these will have overly pronounced scanlines when using double refresh which may be objectionable (consider "doublescan" instead, which will draw each line twice, or use digital filtering for other effects).

Multisync PC CRTs are still the third best option after real arcade monitors and TVs with SCART or component inputs. The later models that are capable of SXGA and UXGA can do both native resolutions or doublescan at 120Hz. Then you just load up each indivual game using both and decide which looks better for each one. Hostestly, if you could add some bloom and defocus in software you'd have a better picture than lower end arcade monitors.

I would rank TVs with composite or S-video, broadcast monitors and non-multisysnc PC monitors behind them.

maiki

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Re: Comparing TV's and arcade monitors
« Reply #25 on: July 11, 2017, 08:16:33 am »
I have to disagree with claims that PS2/Xbox... console video game makers optimized the games for 480p. This is not true. They used standard 15 kHz CRT TVs for output. Not to mention the overscan meaning hardly any of the games use the full 480p. Do not mix home consoles with arcade boards.

Titchgamer

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Re: Comparing TV's and arcade monitors
« Reply #26 on: July 11, 2017, 02:11:32 pm »

  
 

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