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Author Topic: Newbie TV walkthrough, please!  (Read 43887 times)

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notbillcosby

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Newbie TV walkthrough, please!
« on: July 16, 2012, 09:08:21 pm »
I've been reading this thread:
http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?topic=120798.0

It's become very apparent that I need a few things spelled out for me. I haven't found a really good cut and dry tutorial for how to get MAME graphics to look correct on a consumer television. I've gathered some stuff, but I just need verification on some things! If there's a thread or tutorial that I overlooked, by all means, point me there and I'll stop asking stupid questions.

Just to start off- I have a gutted cabinet, a rack mount server that will be the MAME brains, one open PCI slot for whatever video card I will need to do this properly, and a 20" TV with RCA composite inputs that I hope to replace with something a bit larger (but not by much... my cab is 23" wide on the inside). I have no intention of playing console games on here, unless I'm using emulators to do that too... but that's a pretty low priority for me.

I've gathered that I need to get a video card that's compatible with Soft15khz, so that my videocard is outputting a resolution that will look good on my TV and display games in the resolution they were intended to be in. Correct?

I'll also need some way to convert my VGA output to RCA composite. It sounds like the goal is to get things at 240p, which my old TV would be able to display via the composite input. I'm not sure if there's special steps to get this to work, or if i just need a box that has a VGA-in and a Composite-out and the right resolution being pushed through it.

Is this all there is to it?
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rCadeGaming

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Re: Newbie TV walkthrough, please!
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2012, 12:19:15 am »
*****
MAJOR EDIT - IMPORTANT - READ THIS FIRST:


I wanted to post some updates on the first page so anyone reading this for the first time would see it first.

A general disclaimer for this whole thing is that while this thread specifically refers to using a 15kHz CRT TV for native resolutions in MAME, EVERYTHING HERE applies perfectly to doing the exact same thing with a 15kHz (CGA) arcade monitor.  The only difference is that an arcade monitor will not need an RGB to component transcoder, as it can accept the computer's VGA signal directly (the same goes for a TV with an RGB SCART input).  It may need something to convert H and V sync to composite sync, but this isn't difficult.

In fact, this applies to 25kHz (EGA) and 31kHz (VGA) arcade monitors as well, but you'll just be working with some different resolutions (or all of them in the case of a tri-sync).

The other update is about GroovyMAME and CRT_Emudriver. 

GroovyMAME is a MAME build that has been around for a while now.  In addition to some other great features, it is designed to automate some of the setup of native resolutions for CRT's that's discussed in this thread.  The automation is not necessarily always perfect, so it's still good to be able to correct things yourself.

Reading through this thread and gaining and understanding of how your TV/monitor works, and how set things up yourself, is still highly recommended.

A problem with GroovyMAME is that it wasn't possible to get around the automated monitor settings, and use your own settings, but this is supposed to change for the next release.  I'll be switching be GroovyMAME at this time, and I would highly recommend everyone reading this to do the same.  UPDATE:  This is out now.  I've made the switch, and its a big improvement over other MAME builds.

Here's an interesting conversation I had with Calamity, the creator of GroovyMAME, about this:

http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php/topic,128879.msg1318540.html#msg1318540

CRT_Emudriver is a newer alternative to Soft15kHz.  There is a lot of talk about Soft15kHz in this thread, but I would highly recommended CRT_Emudriver now.  All of the video concepts discussed (resolutions, timing values, etc.) still apply though.

Soft15kHz is really not the best option anymore. 

First of all, it's silly to use a real CRT and not use GroovyMAME, and that works hand in hand with CRT_Emudriver.  GM can generate resolutions on the fly to keep everything native res (and native refresh, very important), saving you a lot of work; and it has a lot of other important features for native res even if you don't use the auto-generation. 

Even if not using GM, tweaking your resolutions in Soft15kHz requires editing the text modelines by hand (super tedious), or using Powerstrip.  Powerstrip was not really designed for this application, it's very cumbersome, and does not even fit on the screen in lower resolutions.  CRT_Emudriver includes ArcadeOSD, which was purposely designed for this, is just as powerful if not more so, more flexible, and much easier to use.

Making the change only takes a couple of minutes once you have the right graphics card (which can be dirt cheap).  I started with Soft15kHz, and resisted making the change because I had some GeForce cards on hand (only compatible with Soft15kHz).  When I finally switched over to CRT_Emudriver, I was really kicking myself for not doing it sooner.

*****




I'll include some of your questions from your PM as well.

Just to start off- I have a gutted cabinet, a rack mount server that will be the MAME brains

What operating system?  I've had great success with Soft15kHz and Powerstrip in XP64.  I haven't tested other OS's but my understanding is that 32-bit XP should work just as well, but any Windows 7 will not work.  Not sure about other pre-XP Windows.  EDIT: This not out yet, but Calamity is currently working on full support for GroovyMAME and CRT_Emudriver in Windows 7


one open PCI slot for whatever video card I will need to do this properly

Here's the list for Soft15kHz compatible cards.  Search through it and buy whichever PCI card is listed as fully functional and is readily available:

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


(the inside of my cabinet measures 23 inches wide... so whatever I can cram in there. I don't think they made the Sony you're using in anything smaller than a 27").

They did.  Mine is a KV-27FS120.  There is a KV-20FS series, which includes the KV-20FS100, KV-20FS120 and maybe others, which will be the same thing but smaller.  Same thing with the KV-24FS series.  You might be able to fit a 24" into your cab easily, probably not a 27" even after taking it out of its case.

All the models above are strictly 15kHz, meaning they can display anything around 240p or 480i.  This is what you need.  They also have component inputs, which will be easier to get the computer working with, and allow a better picture.

Keep in mind that they are flat tubes with a fairly sharp picture, which I recommend, but you'll have to decide if it's your preference.

From my thread you linked to:
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.

These TV's are so cheap and readily available you should just pick one up and set it side to side with your older TV to compare and come to a decision.

Get on Craigslist and search those models.  If you don't find anything with the exact model number listed, skim all the TV listings, filtered to view only ones with pictures.  Open the ones that look right, and send an email asking the model number.  I've picked up many TV's for testing this way.  Don't pay over $50.  Some people will give nice sets away free.

There is also a KV-20FV and KV-24FV series.  Looks like they're also 15kHz with component inputs, but I'm not familiar with them.  You'd have to research, or better test, for yourself.


I'd prefer to use a TV so I can easily take it back out when I go to move this beast out of my basement when I eventually move out

Sounds like you mean to leave the TV in it's plastic case.  I'd recommend taking it out of the case (remember to discharge the tube), especially if you're trying fit a 24" in.  If build a sturdy frame for it, it shouldn't be a problem to take it back out and put it back in.


not to mention I'm pretty sure it'd be cheaper to buy an "outdated" TV in a size that would work than buying an arcade monitor.

Definitely, you can get like new TV's for dirt cheap, whereas even used arcade monitors can be very expensive.


I have no intention of playing console games on here, unless I'm using emulators to do that too... but that's a pretty low priority for me.

Please reconsider:
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.

Anyhow, if you use MC Cthulhu boards for your controls and a TV for the monitor, you'll have all the provisions in place to easily plug most consoles right in if you change your mind later.


I've gathered that I need to get a video card that's compatible with Soft15khz, so that my videocard is outputting a resolution that will look good on my TV and display games in the resolution they were intended to be in. Correct?
...
It sounds like the goal is to get things at 240p

The games look much much better when ran in native resolution, meaning the resolution they were originally designed to run in, which they actually did run in in the arcade.  These 2d graphics were drawn in a precise number of pixels, and the art looks best when each pixel is reproduced correctly.  This is all lost when there is any stretching to a higher resolution.  You need to get an appreciation of it in person to see how good native resolution looks on a proper CRT, with scan-lines and an appropriate dot pitch blur to smooth things out and look natural.

The native resolution of the games we're talking about is usually not exactly 240p, but something close.  For example, NEO GEO actually ran at 320x224p, and CPS-2 (Street Fighter II) actually ran at 392x224p.

There're actually tons of resolutions around 240p that you'll need to work with, but this is handled in software.  Basically, Soft15kHz just enables your graphics card to output low resolutions and gives you a few rough presets.  Powerstrip allows you to fine tune your resolutions and add custom ones.

I'll get into the software side later, it's late. 

For now you need to get your hardware together, a TV, a graphics card, and a transcoder.


I'll also need some way to convert my VGA output to RCA composite... I'm not sure if there's special steps to get this to work, or if i just need a box that has a VGA-in and a Composite-out and the right resolution being pushed through it.

Hopefully you'll be working with component, not composite, but the TV won't accept VGA so yes you'll need some kind of box.  That is unless you get a card that's compatible with Soft15kHz AND has a fully customizable component output, but that sounds pretty rare.

Anyhow, you'll be working with a variety of resolutions around 240p, not just 240p itself, so the final resolution that reaches the TV must be controllable from the PC.  This means you need a box that leaves resolution completely alone.  This is called a transcoder.  A transcoder only translates colorspace and/or sync.  Whatever resolution you feed into it is what comes out the other side.

If you use component, the answer is simple.  Use a Crescendo Systems TC1600 VGA to Component transcoder.  This is what I have and it's outstanding.  For VGA cards it's plug and play, and it will give you RGB from your classic systems with a little custom cabling.

If you must use composite, you'll need to do some research.  The are a lot of cheap VGA to composite "converters" available, but they upscale everything to 480i.  To get a true "VGA to composite transcoder" you'll probably have to pick up a quality used professional rack mount NTSC encoder.


I plan on making the monitor horizontal, and getting one big enough that vertical games will still be a reasonable size

You can't display vertical games in native resolution on a 15kHz TV or monitor unless it's oriented vertically.  This is because the game is already using about all the resolution the display is capable of in progressive, around 320x240 pixels.  To rotate the screen, maintain the full resolution of the game, AND add black bars on the sides requires more resolution that isn't available in progressive.  To get this extra resolution, you'll have to run these rotated games upscaled in 640x480 interlaced (or something close to that, depending on the game).  It's not optimal, but it's a necessary solution to play both types of games in the same cabinet.  This is why I'm building two cabs, one horizontal and one vertical.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2014, 12:01:11 am by rCadeGaming »

notbillcosby

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Re: Newbie TV walkthrough, please!
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2012, 01:53:04 am »
Thanks so much for the awesomely detailed response! I'm gonna respond without quotes, too much of a pain on the iPod.

I'm using XP32. I think I might actually have a 64 bit processor, but no copy of XP64. Maybe it doesn't matter that much.

I'm excited to hunt down one of those TVs. I think I'd REALLY like a curved screen, but am willing to sacrifice that detail if it means a nice picture. Are there curved screen TVs that do 15khz?

I'm a little scared to discharge the tube in a TV, and not sure what I'm getting into with making a frame. Will all TVs have some sort of tabs or frame around the screen for mounting? It also seems like it'd be a lot easier to safely transport an enclosed TV in the future. If I could fit a 24" in the case in my cab, that'd be awesome! But I'm not getting my hopes up :)

Good to know about the MC Cthulu being able to convert to work with other systems. While it isn't a priority right now, I like knowing that I'd have the option in the future, since I'll have a tv in there anyway.

That stinks that only the horizontal games will look right. Fortunately, it's really only the way older games that are vertical so maybe a little lower image quality won't seem awful on those, especially if I have a nice clear looking tv. Agh... I do play an awful lot of Ms Pac Man though... Anyway, will MAME automatically take care the resolution switch? I guess I don't know why it wouldn't.
Ian's BurgerBoss Cabinet project build thread!
http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php/topic,129225.0.html

notbillcosby

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Re: Newbie TV walkthrough, please!
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2012, 02:06:10 am »
Agh! Not even the smallest 20" Sony will fit in my cabinet while still in its case! Uh oh, I see more work in my future...
Ian's BurgerBoss Cabinet project build thread!
http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php/topic,129225.0.html

notbillcosby

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Re: Newbie TV walkthrough, please!
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2012, 11:22:55 am »
Are there curved screen TVs that do 15khz?

I feel like maybe that was a stupid question. I should rephrase that: How will I know if a TV can display 15khz? If I'm insisting on keeping the tv in its own plastic housing, there's a number of sets that will fit and have a curved screen, but I have no idea how to tell if it's compatible. Is that something that would be obviously listed in the manual?
Ian's BurgerBoss Cabinet project build thread!
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rCadeGaming

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Re: Newbie TV walkthrough, please!
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2012, 10:40:13 pm »
I'm using XP32. I think I might actually have a 64 bit processor, but no copy of XP64. Maybe it doesn't matter that much.

How fast is your pc?  I don't think MAME will utilitze multiple processors unless you get a special version, but 64 bit windows is helpful in that it will allow background processes to run on one processor, leaving another free for MAME.

There's nothing difficult about XP 64 beyond getting a copy.  Let's just say that there are some people in the world who have copies they didn't pay for, and they work great.  That's all I'll say about that, don't ask me about it.

If you do have a dual core or more, there's no reason not to take advantage of it.


I'm excited to hunt down one of those TVs. I think I'd REALLY like a curved screen, but am willing to sacrifice that detail if it means a nice picture.

Just get one of those and compare, then make your decision.  Be sure you're comparing with an actual 15kHz progressive signal.  A Super Nintendo would be a simple test source if you've got one.  Composite will be fine for comparison, since both TV's will accept it.  On the Sony's we're talking about RGB would be very slightly sharper and cleaner with better color, but the difference between your current TV will still be very clear.

What exactly is your current TV?  Make, model number, and manufacture date will be listed on the back.


I'm a little scared to discharge the tube in a TV, and not sure what I'm getting into with making a frame. Will all TVs have some sort of tabs or frame around the screen for mounting? It also seems like it'd be a lot easier to safely transport an enclosed TV in the future. If I could fit a 24" in the case in my cab, that'd be awesome! But I'm not getting my hopes up :)

Discharging isn't hard.  You'll be fine if you follow the instructions here.

The frame depends on how elaborate you want to make it.  It really doesn't need to be complicated, just depends how modular you want to make it for removal purposes.  Yes, there will likely be useful mounting points on a metal bracket/frame.  It's also possible to hack up the plastic case and reuse parts of it.

With the Sony's I mentioned, a lot of their width is due to having speakers on both sides of the screen.  After taking off the case and tossing the speakers I think you should be able to get a 24" into a 23" space.  My 27" is over 30" wide in the case, but I think the actual tube is under 24".  Another benefit of flat tubes is that fitting a bezel is much simpler.  Also, they'll have a digital chassis with a service menu for adjusting geometry/brightness/contrast/color levels, etc.

You should check if depth is a concern.


Good to know about the MC Cthulu being able to convert to work with other systems. While it isn't a priority right now, I like knowing that I'd have the option in the future, since I'll have a tv in there anyway.

Yup.  You'll need one MC Cthulhu per player, but it's lag free and works great with Windows/MAME.  My thinking with my project is to build the most capable cabs possible now, even including features I don't need yet, so I have to build another one down the road.


Anyway, will MAME automatically take care the resolution switch? I guess I don't know why it wouldn't.


MAME lists the resolution of each game.  Once you know the resolution the game runs in, you need to set up a suitable resolution for that game in Powerstrip; this includes tweaking it so the geometry looks good on the TV.  Then you need to tell MAME to use that specific resolution for that game. 

If you leave it up to MAME to auto switch, it doesn't just display the native resolution.  It has to try and pick the closest resolution available in your graphics driver, and it might not make the best choice.  The resolutions available in your graphics drivers will be the graphics card's defaults, plus the default resolutions added by Soft15kHz, plus the custom resolutions you've added in Powerstrip.  It's up to you to tweak the defaults resolutions correctly and add custom ones where needed.

There's also the issue of setting up the refresh rate correctly.

Once you get your hardware together I can run through this step by step for an example game, from setting up Soft15kHz and Powerstrip to setting up MAME for a particular game.

Note that most games run on hardware that's shared with a lot of other games.  For example, Street Fighter II runs on CPS-2 hardware, so once you've tweaked up Street Fighter II just right, you can tell MAME to use those setting for all CPS-2 games, as well as CPS-3 since it uses the same resolution.  I think CPS-1 as well, but I forget.

Same thing with NEO GEO, once you've set up one NEO GEO game, you're done tweaking for all of them, etc.  There's not too many games you'll be concerned with that ran on totally unique hardware.


Are there curved screen TVs that do 15khz?

I feel like maybe that was a stupid question. I should rephrase that: How will I know if a TV can display 15khz? If I'm insisting on keeping the tv in its own plastic housing, there's a number of sets that will fit and have a curved screen, but I have no idea how to tell if it's compatible. Is that something that would be obviously listed in the manual?

You would have a very hard time finding a curved TV that is NOT strictly 15kHz.  There might be some in existence, but I've never seen one.  It's when you get into flat tubes that you have to worry about the TV scaling 240p to 480p instead of displaying it correctly.  The Sony's I mentioned won't have this problem.

It may or may not be listed in the specifications in the manual.  If it is, it may be explained in different terminology.

-

I think I should make some things clear about video.  Sorry to everyone here that's already familiar with all this.

Scan Rate

A CRT draws each pixel one at a time in order.  It starts at the top left corner of the screen and draws individual pixels from left to right, drawing a line.  Once it reaches the end of a line on the right side, it jumps back to the left side and down a little bit to begin the next line.  It keeps drawing lines like this until it reaches the end of the last line at the bottom right corner, completing a full picture, or one frame.  Then it jumps back to the top right to start the next frame.

15kHz refers to the horizontal scan rate, which is the physical speed at which the display can draw from left to right.  In order to draw 240 progressive lines at 60 frames per second, the display must draw from left to right at a speed of around 15,750Hz, or about 15kHz.  To draw 350 progressive lines, the display must draw at about 24kHz; and to draw 480 progressive lines, the display must draw at about 31kHz.

240p = 15kHz progressive = CGA resolution
350p = 24kHz progressive = EGA resolution
480p = 31kHz progressive = VGA resolution

Note that despite it's name a "VGA cable" doesn't have to carry 480p, it can carry whatever resolution you want.

Vertical scan rate (also called refresh rate or refresh speed) refers to how fast a display can draw from top to bottom.  The standard (at least in NTSC territories) is 60Hz, regardless of what the horizontal scan rate is, which results in 60 frames per second.

So far I've only been discussing progressive scan.  Progressive scan means that the display draws every line order, completes a full frame, and then draws the next frame. 

In interlaced video, the display draws only the odd lines, completing one "field," then draws only the even lines in the next field, and so on.  Vertical scan rate remains at 60Hz, so the display still draws from top to bottom at 60 times per second, but each time it does so it only draws half of the lines.  Since the display only has to draw half of the total number of lines per field, it can draw twice as many total lines in interlaced video as it can in progressive at the same horizontal scan rate.

In 240p the display must draw from left to right at 15kHz, but it can draw 480i at 15kHz as well.  The display is still only drawing 240 lines 60 times per second, whether it's 240p or 480i.

Allowing twice as much resolution without increasing horizontal scan rate is a neat trick, but interlaced video isn't without it's problems.  Each frame is actually made of two visible fields, so there's technically now only 30 full frames per second.  Since the two fields that make up each frame are actually drawn at slightly different times, if something is moving it will show up in two slightly different places.  If the display is sharp enough you can visibly see this.




Scanlines

I think you're already aware that what us gamers call "scanlines" are the black lines in between each line of resolution in low resolution graphics.  The reason for these are visible is that a CRT TV will draw lines at the same width, regardless of what resolution it's displaying.  That's why a TV with strong scan lines at 240p may have little or none visible at 480i. 

If a CRT TV's picture is fairly sharp, it is drawing fairly thin lines.  The lines of 240p are fairly spread out, so there's a little black space in between where nothing is drawn.  However, when 480i displayed, twice is many lines are visible in the same space, so there may not be any room left in between them.


Scaling

Scaling means converting an image from one resolution to another.  In the current context it usually refers to scaling a lower resolution to a higher one, like something around 240p to 480i or 480p. 

The first problem with this kind of scaling is that whatever scanlines would have been visible will be greatly diminished or lost entirely.

When scaling 320x240 to 640x480, everything translates evenly.  Each original pixel will translate as a block of 4 pixels after scaling.  However, most classic games use something close to 240p but not quite.  This is the second problem.  392x224 does not translate very smoothly to 640x480.

-

On the curved TV you have now, it may be difficult to tell the difference between proper native resolutions around 240p and things scaled to 480i.  Depending on how sharp it is, you may or may not be able to see scanlines or make out individual pixels clearly in 240p.

On the TV's I recommended, it will be clear as day.  In anything around 240p, scanlines will be prominent, and individual pixels will be fairly clear.  If this is scaled to 480i, that will be lost.

notbillcosby

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Re: Newbie TV walkthrough, please!
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2012, 12:20:44 am »
Thanks for the incredibly patient reply. I had the basics on the ideas of resolution and interlaced vs progressive, but you absolutely cleared up some specifics. Thanks for taking the time! Onto specifics:

My PC is a 1U server that I happened to get for free last summer, and never had any idea what I was going to use it for until my recent arcade obsession started. I was pleased to find out it has 4gb of ram and 2 dual core (i think) Xeon 2.0ghz processors. I'm pretty sure they're 64-bit, I didn't realize that XP32 didn't take advantage of dual processors... I'll see what I can do.

You bring up my "current TV"... I hardly want to count what I have as a "current" TV. It's way too small. I won't use it in my cabinet. Plus, it sounds like it's going to be easier and smarter to get the signal into a TV with component inputs. A curved screen CRT with component ins would be awesome, but the lure of adjusting geometry via onscreen menus is pretty tempting, and I hadn't thought about the effect it would have on making a bezel.

I did see someone's blog, where they used a hack saw to take the speakers off the side of their TV set to fit it into a cabinet. It actually worked really well and would make transporting the monitor in the future a whole lot easier than having it removed from the case entirely. Ironically, the guy with the blog wound up taking it out of the case and mounting the tube in the cab anyway, to make it more "solid." Dang it. I'm still inclined to try it in the case first, maybe with its ears lopped off. I don't have any of those Sonys showing up in my local Craigslist. I wish there was an easy way to know if other flat tubes of the era would scale to 480p or if they'd work. I always liked Samsung CRTs.

I think setting up all the custom resolutions for individual games is going to be my least favorite part of this arcade build. Maybe I'll just leave a wireless mouse on top of the cab so i can screw with stuff in windows when I need to. I'll deal with that when I get there.
Ian's BurgerBoss Cabinet project build thread!
http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php/topic,129225.0.html

rCadeGaming

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Re: Newbie TV walkthrough, please!
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2012, 12:43:54 am »
I agree with you wanting to get rid your current TV.  Just make sure to test it side by side with your new one for comparison.  Do you have a Super Nintendo?


the lure of adjusting geometry via onscreen menus is pretty tempting

Keep in mind that getting into it requires turning the tv off and putting a special command on the remote to turn it on in service mode (with Sony's at least, other manufacturers, including Samsung, require you to connect a jumper on the chassis).  It allows some pretty powerful adjustments, but it's very clumsy.  You want to get it to a good setting and leave it, it's not something you tweak often like the OSD menu on a PC monitor.


I did see someone's blog, where they used a hack saw to take the speakers off the side of their TV set to fit it into a cabinet. It actually worked really well and would make transporting the monitor in the future a whole lot easier than having it removed from the case entirely. Ironically, the guy with the blog wound up taking it out of the case and mounting the tube in the cab anyway, to make it more "solid." Dang it. I'm still inclined to try it in the case first, maybe with its ears lopped off.

The end result of this might be optimal for you, but you need to take the tube chassis out while modifying the case, then put it back in.  Cutting blind you run a good risk of damaging something inside, or worse electrocution.


I don't have any of those Sonys showing up in my local Craigslist.

Are just trying to search those model numbers or are you looking over everything.  If anyone has any listing that even just says 24" Sony TV for sale, send an email that says "Very interested!  What's the model number (you can find it on the back)?"

You can try eBay as well, but it will probably cost you more.  Unfortunately the 24" Sony's are probably rarer than the 20" and 27"s.


I wish there was an easy way to know if other flat tubes of the era would scale to 480p or if they'd work.

Buy and test.  I went through over a dozen TV's figuring out what I liked best, though a lot were free.

I always liked Samsung CRTs.

I had a 27" that was equivalent to my Sony.  It was pretty similar, but somehow looked a little too "digital" for me, it lacked the "warmth" of the Sony or something, it didn't look as natural, I can't describe it.  They're also a major ---smurfette--- to get in the service menu.

EDIT: Actually it might have been a Phillips I had.  I can't remember, sorry.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2012, 02:24:58 pm by rCadeGaming »

notbillcosby

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Re: Newbie TV walkthrough, please!
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2012, 12:59:11 am »
I agree with you wanting to get rid your current TV.  Just make sure to test it side by side with your new one for comparison.  Do you have a Super Nintendo?

Two! :) Is there a reason i need to do this, other than to fully appreciate how good this Sony looks?

The end result of this might be optimal for you, but you need to take the tube chassis out while modifying the case, then put it back in.  Cutting blind you run a good risk of damaging something inside, or worse electrocution.

Of course! I wouldn't think of doing it without opening it up. The guy on the blog managed to take the back off the TV, remove the speakers, measure and cut the wings off the front and back half of the case, then screw it back together all without removing the tube. I'd probably still want to discharge it first to avoid things like death.

I had a 27" that was equivalent to my Sony.  It was pretty similar, but somehow looked a little too "digital" for me, it lacked the "warmth" of the Sony or something, it didn't look as natural, I can't describe it.  They're also a major ---smurfette--- to get in the service menu.

Noted. Did it scale to 480p?
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Re: Newbie TV walkthrough, please!
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2012, 06:12:59 pm »
I agree with you wanting to get rid your current TV.  Just make sure to test it side by side with your new one for comparison.  Do you have a Super Nintendo?

Two! :) Is there a reason i need to do this, other than to fully appreciate how good this Sony looks?

To appreciate the benefits of real 15kHz progressive if they're clear on the Sony but not on the other one.  It would also be good have a side by side of real 15kHz progressive next to something scaled.


I had a 27" that was equivalent to my Sony.  It was pretty similar, but somehow looked a little too "digital" for me, it lacked the "warmth" of the Sony or something, it didn't look as natural, I can't describe it.  They're also a major ---smurfette--- to get in the service menu.

Noted. Did it scale to 480p?


What's with this smurfette stuff I didn't type that  :angry:

No scaling, it was strictly 15kHz.  I just didn't like the picture as much and the service menu difficulty was a deal breaker.

notbillcosby

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Re: Newbie TV walkthrough, please!
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2012, 09:27:18 pm »
I'm visiting a friend for the next few days who lives several hours away in a much larger city. Thankfully, I had the forethought to look at his local Craigslist before I left home tonight... lo and behold, I found some Sonys! Awaiting model numbers, but hopefully I'll come home with a nice $20 monitor :)
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Re: Newbie TV walkthrough, please!
« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2012, 12:41:42 am »
The set closest to me is a KV-24FV12. Will that work? Man oh man I hope so.
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Re: Newbie TV walkthrough, please!
« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2012, 05:46:19 pm »
Here's some specs on it:

http://www.crutchfield.com/S-b0cfwR7LgmI/p_15824FV12/Sony-KV-24FV12.html#details-tab

It's an FD Trinitron and it's listed as not compatible with 480p or higher, so it should be good.  I'd take a chance on it if it's fairly cheap.

If you can't normally find these in your area though I'd try to pick up more than one model while you're at your friend's.

notbillcosby

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Re: Newbie TV walkthrough, please!
« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2012, 05:50:24 pm »
I hope to be snagging a KV-24FS120  I THINK thats yours. Yes?
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Re: Newbie TV walkthrough, please!
« Reply #14 on: July 20, 2012, 05:52:51 pm »
Mine's KV-27FS120, but yeah should be exactly the same just scaled down slightly.

I'd get the FS and the FV while you have the opportunity.

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Re: Newbie TV walkthrough, please!
« Reply #15 on: July 20, 2012, 06:04:18 pm »
Well, the other one doesn't have composite in, an I dont have the funds to get a composite transcoder too. While I'm really appreciative of your advice and dont mean to argue, I feel like it'd be a safe bet to just get the 24"version of yours that I know should be awesome! Pretty excited about it, just waiting to hear back from the lady on when I can meet her.
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Re: Newbie TV walkthrough, please!
« Reply #16 on: July 20, 2012, 06:20:59 pm »
You mean it doesn't have component in right? 

Those Crutchfield specs on inputs looked wrong to me.  I found the actual manual, and though there are more inputs, there's only 1 RF, 2 composite, and 1 s-video.

http://www.docs.sony.com/release/KV20FV12.PDF specs on p. 36

So basically you're right, good catch. 

Sorry about that.  I assumed that it would have component in because it should be a newer model than mine, but it might be a "budget" model.  Also, I may have been thinking of the KV-24FV300, which does have component.

http://www.docs.sony.com/release/KV24FV300.PDF specs on p.37

notbillcosby

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Re: Newbie TV walkthrough, please!
« Reply #17 on: July 22, 2012, 05:45:02 pm »
Well, I didn't have time to get the TV while I was down there, but my friend is very graciously picking it up for me tomorrow! I'll get it in early August when they come up to visit. I have secured an ATI Radeon 9250 256mb card for $20 that I"ll be nabbing tomorrow, and may have found a transcoder that I can afford- more details on that once it's mine for sure. Working on getting Windows 64 so I can take full advantage of the 2 dual core processors in my MAMEbox. I cut out a dummy blank of plywood yesterday to work on laying out my control panel, and I just happened to find a nice USB gamepad for $1.88 at Goodwill the other day that I'm gonna try hacking for my Player 1 controls! Yes. I am well on my way and have plenty to do while I"m waiting for my beautiful monitor to show up. Excitement growing!
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Re: Newbie TV walkthrough, please!
« Reply #18 on: July 22, 2012, 07:51:50 pm »
Well, I didn't have time to get the TV while I was down there, but my friend is very graciously picking it up for me tomorrow! I'll get it in early August when they come up to visit.

Nice.


I have secured an ATI Radeon 9250 256mb card for $20 that I"ll be nabbing tomorrow

Sounds great as well.


Working on getting Windows 64 so I can take full advantage of the 2 dual core processors in my MAMEbox.

XP 64 right?  Sounds good.


and may have found a transcoder that I can afford- more details on that once it's mine for sure.

What is it.  Sure it doesn't do any scaling?


I cut out a dummy blank of plywood yesterday to work on laying out my control panel

I would highly recommend using this layout:



It's the Sega Astro City cabinet layout, it can be found here:

http://www.slagcoin.com/joystick/layout.html

There's several versions there (different ppi), so you print it in real size and trace, very easy.  That website explains some of why some people think it's much superior to the "American" or "square" layout.  This has also been argued at length here:

http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?topic=118842.0


and I just happened to find a nice USB gamepad for $1.88 at Goodwill the other day that I'm gonna try hacking for my Player 1 controls!

I'd stick with something that will be console friendly down the road.  Depending on the quality of this PC pad, it could have ghosting and lag issues, hard to tell.  Also, where are you going to get a matching one for player 2.  

I think you'd be better off waiting until you have money for a better solution than putting time into hacking this now.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2012, 08:02:20 pm by rCadeGaming »

notbillcosby

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Re: Newbie TV walkthrough, please!
« Reply #19 on: July 22, 2012, 09:12:12 pm »
It's that RCA transcoder I PM'd you about. The manual sure makes it sound like it doesn't scale... Either way, it was $10.01 after shipping, which is WAY too good of a deal for me to pass up. There's no way you can disagree with that ;)

I know we're getting pretty far off topic here, but I'll respond to the rest of this anyway..

Thanks for the button layout! My first control panel (they're going to be interchangeable so I don't have to have one super-cramped end-all panel) is going to be a single player 4-way stick with a custom button layout so it'll work nicely with the selection of old games that I play frequently. I WILL be doing a variant of that Sega layout on my 2 player fighting setup, just with 6 buttons each instead of 8. My fighter of choice is without a doubt Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, so more than 6 buttons doesn't need to happen.

From what I understood, ghosting and blocking issues were really only a keyboard thing; A gamepad with only 14 contacts including the D-pad seems like it would be made specifically to NOT have these problems. I do plan on testing it as extensively as possible before gutting it and spending an hour soldering leads to the board. It's a clone of a PS1 pad, i believe it's made by Gravis (but don't quote me, it's not sitting in front of me right now). It was a company that I was familiar with and wasn't some weirdo oddball controller that I'd never be able to find another of... And in the name of keeping it cheap, i think $2 for an interface beats the $70 I'd be spending on the Cthulhu. Don't get me wrong, I love the idea of being able to expand in the future to consoles and stuff, but in the same breath, there's nothing keeping me from ripping out $4 worth of gamepad parts and putting in a Cthulhu in the future. If nothing else, it'll be a good project to learn from and I'll find out that you were right all along!
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Re: Newbie TV walkthrough, please!
« Reply #20 on: July 22, 2012, 09:28:48 pm »
It's that RCA transcoder I PM'd you about
...it was $10.01 after shipping

The Audio Authority 9A60 or the RCA VHDC300.  Either one sounded like it would work, just a little iffy.  Certainly worth the risk at that price.


My first control panel (they're going to be interchangeable so I don't have to have one super-cramped end-all panel) is going to be a single player 4-way stick with a custom button layout so it'll work nicely with the selection of old games that I play frequently.

Nice.  Progress pics please.  If you think this is off topic for this thread, you should start a build log thread.


I WILL be doing a variant of that Sega layout on my 2 player fighting setup, just with 6 buttons each instead of 8. My fighter of choice is without a doubt Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, so more than 6 buttons doesn't need to happen.

I'd recommend a 7 button, deleting the top right button from that layout.  I've been using that for a few years on my portable fight sticks, works great.  The four buttons across on the bottom is important for NEO GEO and Arc System Works games.  Ever played Last Blade?  Easily the most underrated NEO GEO game, better than Samurai Shodown and King of Fighters.


From what I understood, ghosting and blocking issues were really only a keyboard thing; A gamepad with only 14 contacts including the D-pad seems like it would be made specifically to NOT have these problems. I do plan on testing it as extensively as possible before gutting it and spending an hour soldering leads to the board.

Yeah probably not ghosting, but could be lag.  Maybe not.  I'm too picky, can you tell?  Just use screw terminals and everything will be easy to swap out if you want to make a change later.



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Re: Newbie TV walkthrough, please!
« Reply #21 on: August 07, 2012, 09:36:13 am »
ALRIGHT! I got my TV last night! I have a Radeon 9250 that reportedly works with Soft15khz, and I have a transcoder. Next step is to get it all working together!

I haven't even looked at Soft15khz or Powerstrip yet. Do I need both of them, or will Soft15 do the trick?
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Re: Newbie TV walkthrough, please!
« Reply #22 on: August 07, 2012, 09:09:04 pm »
Nice.

Powerstrip is pretty much essential.  Soft15kHz just unlocks low resolutions with your gfx card.  Powerstrip is needed to create custom resolutions not enabled by default, and to tweak geometry in all of them.  Technically Soft15kHz can do this, but not on the fly, and it's not nearly as user friendly/intuitive.

Do these steps in this order:

1.  First, I'm assuming you're running XP, make sure of that.

2.  Set your computer up where you can connect to either the TV or a monitor just by swapping the VGA cable.

3.  Hook the transcoder up to the TV.

4.  Install the graphics card.

5.  Start the computer using the monitor.

6.  Install the drivers for the card.  Every card that's as compatible with Soft15kHz has a specific driver listed.  Make sure to use that one.  Restart.

7.  Install Soft15kHz.  Click only the Install 15k button, not 24 or 31 or user/custom, whatever.  Restart when it's done.  Get the computer running in 480i.  At some point during this step, the monitor will stop working.  Your monitor probably can't do below 31kHz video, and the TV can't do over 15kHz, so you'll have to switch over once Soft15k gets you to that point.

8.  Once you get it running on the TV, then install Powerstrip, and start tweaking your resolutions. 

I can give you more tips on this once you get to this point.  Basically, your geometry might be crap at first, but it's easily fixed.  Try a couple different resolutions, and you'll probably see that some sync up right away, and some don't.  640x480 interlaced and 320x240 progressive will probably be good starting points.

Let me know how it goes/if you need more explanation.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2012, 10:37:54 am by rCadeGaming »

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Re: Newbie TV walkthrough, please!
« Reply #23 on: August 08, 2012, 03:57:35 am »
I built my arcade 10 years ago with a Sharp 27" 27uf-500 TV.  It has component inputs, but does not support 480p.  I've used S-Video.  It looks OK, but I've always regretted not using an arcade monitor (I couldn't afford it at the time).  From this thread, it sounds like I can use the component transcoder along with Soft15kHz and Powerstrip to output actual arcade resolutions w/ progressive scan for low-res games.  I have a Radeon 7500, which Soft15kHz appears to support.  Did I read this correctly? 

Instead of using Soft15kHz/Powerstrip, could you use the transcoder with ArcadeVGA to achieve the same results?

Final question: Since booting into Windows w/ the transcoder will use 480p, could this damage the TV?

Thanks!
« Last Edit: August 08, 2012, 05:51:01 am by TalkingOctopus »

notbillcosby

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Re: Newbie TV walkthrough, please!
« Reply #24 on: August 08, 2012, 09:20:08 am »
I've got a pretty busy week a head of me, but when I've got an hour or so to screw with things I'll definitely be doing it. Results to follow!
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Re: Newbie TV walkthrough, please!
« Reply #25 on: August 08, 2012, 07:47:01 pm »
I built my arcade 10 years ago with a Sharp 27" 27uf-500 TV.  It has component inputs, but does not support 480p.  I've used S-Video.  It looks OK, but I've always regretted not using an arcade monitor (I couldn't afford it at the time).

If you were using the "S-Video Out" port from a PC, it's pretty certain that you were running everything scaled to 480i.

From this thread, it sounds like I can use the component transcoder along with Soft15kHz and Powerstrip to output actual arcade resolutions w/ progressive scan for low-res games.  I have a Radeon 7500, which Soft15kHz appears to support.  Did I read this correctly?

Did you locate that card on this list to confirm that it's compatible with with Soft15kHz?  If so, then yes.

Instead of using Soft15kHz/Powerstrip, could you use the transcoder with ArcadeVGA to achieve the same results?

Yes.  However, an ArcadeVGA is more expensive and less flexible, but it's probably more user friendly.

Final question: Since booting into Windows w/ the transcoder will use 480p, could this damage the TV?

Once Soft15kHz is installed, Windows can run in 480i (which you'll want to run your front-end in), but yes, the bios screen and start-up screens will probably still be 480p though, until you get to the desktop. 

Most 15kHz CRT's won't be destroyed instantly by receiving a signal over 15kHz (480p for example), they just show a lot of garbage.  I've done this plenty of times while tinkering with things, but not for more than a few seconds.  Supposedly it can damage things if left on for too long, so I try to minimize the risk now.

It's best to just get things set up, and then not turn on the TV until Windows gets to the desktop.  In my cabinet I'm working on using a computer controlled relay wired into the TV's power switch that will turn on the TV automatically once the front-end is loaded.

I'm working on using a computer controlled relay that will turn the TV on automatically after the front-end has loaded.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2012, 06:29:59 pm by rCadeGaming »

rCadeGaming

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Re: Newbie TV walkthrough, please!
« Reply #26 on: August 10, 2012, 06:31:50 pm »
billcosby, you'll never guess what I got for free yesterday.  A KV24-FS100; wasn't even looking for one. 

I was at work, and a co-worker came back from a job with one and asked me if I wanted it.  It was like new, the customer just didn't want it because they'd upgraded to a flat panel.

Told you these things are common.  I've now got four of basically the same TV.  A 24", two 27"s, and a 32".

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Re: Newbie TV walkthrough, please!
« Reply #27 on: August 10, 2012, 10:19:22 pm »
Nicely done! Next week when my company is no longer in town I should have an evening to see how mine looks...
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Re: Newbie TV walkthrough, please!
« Reply #28 on: August 12, 2012, 05:30:31 am »
I'm giving this a try as well. I picked up a KD-27FS170.  It looks like a newer version of the KD-27FS120.  It supports 480i and 1080i, however, no 480p.  Any experience with this set?

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Re: Newbie TV walkthrough, please!
« Reply #29 on: August 12, 2012, 09:51:19 am »
I thought you must have been mistaken, I had never heard of a CRT that supports 1080i but not 480i.  I've also never heard of one that supports 1080i and is still a 4:3 tube.  However, the specs listed here seem to confirm this:

http://store.sony.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10551&storeId=10151&langId=-1&partNumber=KD27FS170#specifications

This is really strange though.  Did you also look these specs up or have you tested it?  A PS3 would be a quick and easy way to test 480i, 480p, 720p, and 1080i individually.

I'd guess that if it displays 1080i, it will not actually display low res (15kHz progressive, ~240p) without upscaling it.  Try plugging in a Super Nintendo, and see what it looks like.  Look for scanlines, and share some close up pictures if you can.

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Re: Newbie TV walkthrough, please!
« Reply #30 on: August 12, 2012, 06:45:52 pm »
Been following this conversation as I have some of the same questions. It looks as if I lucked into a pretty good set-up. Unkowingly, the TV I picked up on CL is a Sony 27" (KV-27FS100). I also got a bag of MAME gear from CL cheap in preparation for my build and ended up with an Ultimarc ArcadeVGA card for not much money. Anything I may need to know, equipment wise, other than VGA-Component converter?

Thanks for all the info

-ceburto2

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Re: Newbie TV walkthrough, please!
« Reply #31 on: August 12, 2012, 09:00:30 pm »
Burto, that TV will be perfect, and yes you'll need a transcoder.  Again I recommend the Crescendo Systems models, as they're the highest quality and I've personally had great success with them.  I don't know if I mentioned this one, but I think JS technology makes a good one as well that should work.

As for the ArcadeVGA I think I've said what I think of them a few times... don't think you're stuck with it just because you've got one now.  You can pick up a great card that's compatible with Soft15kHz for under $20 sometimes on eBay (and maybe sell the ArcadeVGA for more).  I'm using nVidia GeForce 7300GS's, I picked up a couple of them that way.  You just have to choose a card depending on whether your motherboard has an AGP or PCI-express slot.  Mine is the latter. 

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Re: Newbie TV walkthrough, please!
« Reply #32 on: August 12, 2012, 09:10:15 pm »
I noticed that you had referenced the TC1600 in previous posts. Crescendo only advertises the TC1500. I sent them an email concerning the differences between the 2 products. Perhaps you know how they differ? It may be moot as the TC1500 is the only product that appears to be available.  I will probably start with the ArcadeVGA card, because it is on hand. As you say, I am not stuck with it should I change my mind.  Thanks.

-ceburto2

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Re: Newbie TV walkthrough, please!
« Reply #33 on: August 12, 2012, 10:41:36 pm »
http://www.crescendo-systems.com/transcoder.html

The only differences are "Adjustable low level gamma" and "Fully adjustable picture shift with control of H-delay, H-width and V-width."  All of these adjustments can be made in Powerstrip if you get a more flexible gfx card.

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Re: Newbie TV walkthrough, please!
« Reply #34 on: August 13, 2012, 02:15:24 am »
I tested the KD-27FS170 with a PS3 through component.  It does not support 1080i (or 480p).  The online specs seem to lie, but is it possible the TV only supports 480i through component (which the online specs suggest)?  Could it still upscale 480i to 1080i?  How else could you get a 1080i signal to the TV if you cannot use component?  The tuner?

I don't have a SNES ready to go right now, but I'll set one up and take pictures of the results tomorrow.  Maybe it will shed some light on this messed up TV.

EDIT: I found this wikipedia page that seems to confirm it can process an 1080i signal.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FD_Trinitron/WEGA

Sony calls this tech "Hi-Scan", which "is Sony's trademark for all Trinitron displays capable of processing a 1080i signal."

EDIT 2: This forum thread claims the TV downconverts everything to 480i.

http://www.highdefforum.com/direct-view-tube-tvs/98235-kd-27fs170-hd-not.html

"It does say 1080i display resolution in the marketing specs but that is an error. It should have read "1080i display capability" which only means that the TV can accept a 1080i signal."
« Last Edit: August 13, 2012, 02:26:47 am by TalkingOctopus »

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Re: Newbie TV walkthrough, please!
« Reply #35 on: August 13, 2012, 05:19:00 am »


The only differences are "Adjustable low level gamma" and "Fully adjustable picture shift with control of H-delay, H-width and V-width."  All of these adjustments can be made in Powerstrip if you get a more flexible gfx card.

I wish I knew how to use my scroll wheel  ::)  Sorry, I didn't see the TC1600 lower on the page. Thank you.

-ceburto2

rCadeGaming

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Re: Newbie TV walkthrough, please!
« Reply #36 on: August 13, 2012, 05:46:33 pm »
This forum thread claims the TV downconverts everything to 480i.

That is just bizarre, but again your links do seem to confirm it.  Luckily we don't care what it does with 1080i, just what it does with something around 240p. 

If it can't actually display anything over 480i, that means it's a strictly 15kHz set; so there's a good chance that it will display ~240p correctly instead of upscaling it.

Go ahead with the SNES test, that will clear everything up.  If you have it, the large text on the Super Mario World title screen is a good reference.  Set your camera to a high resolution and take some pictures as close as you can without losing focus.

« Last Edit: August 13, 2012, 05:48:44 pm by rCadeGaming »

ceburto2

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Re: Newbie TV walkthrough, please!
« Reply #37 on: August 13, 2012, 07:16:53 pm »
I think that I'm going to go with the Audio Authority 9A60 VGA converter. Product details here, http://www.audioauthority.com/product_details/9A60   I found it for around $40 cheaper than advertised here. Looks like a good solution.

-ceburto2

harveybirdman

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Re: Newbie TV walkthrough, please!
« Reply #38 on: August 15, 2012, 07:45:41 pm »
I'm very interested to see how your transcoder works notbillcosby, I am going to need one and I've already wasted a bunch of funds on crap that won't work.

I don't have any AGP or PCI-E slots on my motherboard so I can't upgrade to a card that suporrts the DVI to Component dongle I bought.  I finally got my PCI ATI Radeon 7500 card working but the s-video is garbage.

Therefore VGA to Component seems to be the only option.  But I'm not sure if I have quite the appetite for $100 plus to spring for the one rCadeGaming suggests...




notbillcosby

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Re: Newbie TV walkthrough, please!
« Reply #39 on: August 18, 2012, 02:14:27 am »
Alright. I've had a few bursts of free time to try to get this working. I have Soft15khz and Powerstrip. I open Soft15khz and click on the four "install" buttons and nothing seems to happen. I've restarted plenty of times... I can't turn my resolution below 800x600, and the refresh rate is fixed at 60hz, in both the system dialog boxes and the Catalyst software. I'm using that Radeon 9250 PCI card. I feel like I've just missed a step somewhere... I can't find a great tutorial on Soft15khz. I have the feeling that I'm supposed to be doing something more with it somehow...

UPDATE: I uninstalled ATI drivers and installed a newer version, and after restarting in "VGA Mode" from the F8 boot menu, I got it to display at 640x480 60hz. Plugging into my TV gives me grabled crap.

UPDATE 2: And however it happened, Now I'm typing this to you while viewing on the Sony at 640x480! It's kinda jittery looking, but I'm guessing if I figure out how to  get 320x240 going on here it'll look a lot better.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2012, 03:26:36 am by notbillcosby »
Ian's BurgerBoss Cabinet project build thread!
http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php/topic,129225.0.html

  
 

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