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Author Topic: Why are HD Retrovision cables for SNES and Genesis / MegaDrive so expensive?  (Read 6589 times)

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KenToad

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I've looked up all kinds of information about these cables and no one seems to ever explain why they're so expensive. Anyone have any information or guesses?

chopperthedog

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I'd say it's the RGB to component circuit used, it's basically a tiny version of the retrotink RGB2COMP in that cable.


good day.

Howard_Casto

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Yeah that's certainly true... I think it's also because people seem willing to pay that.  Supply and demand is a merciless ---smurfette---.

KenToad

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Okay, thanks for the replies. I guess that I would assume that the cables for the PS2 and Wii don't have any microcircuitry? Speaking of supply and demand, it kind of ticks me off that HD Retrovision won't even put the SNES and Genesis cables in their own Amazon storefront. As far as I can tell, they were only available from a single retailer in the US, Castlemania Games.

Howard_Casto

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Yeah it is.  I've gotta be honest.  I don't think they are a great option.  Component will stick around for now, but since it was never super popular to begin with I figure it'll eventually go the way of s-video.  Worse yet it coudl go the way of composite where it's supported but not in the resolutions we need for gaming.  The gbs-control with a component out is a good inexpensive option if you absolutely need component.   Just as soon as I get my stuff moved into the house I'll do some video capture of it in action.

KenToad

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I have a Genesis model 1 "high definition" console with sub-optimal composite out. As far as I can tell, the HD Retrovision component cables are the only way, short of internal modification, to pull a sharp picture from the system. I haven't looked too deeply into the gbs-control, though. I'll look forward to seeing your capture of it.

Yeah, I would assume that the next decade or two will see a lot of 80's and 90's tech hardware just fail permanently. For now, I have a decent CRT with component and S-video inputs. I have my SNES and N64 connected through S-video and they look pretty good. The Genesis really doesn't look great outputting composite, so I've been trying to change that.

Howard_Casto

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Well imho you should be getting rgb scart cables for all of your consoles that support it.  That's the standard in the retro gaming community and I don't see that changing.  Then you feed that into the upscaler of your choice.  (Unless you are in europe then you might be able to just plug it into the tv). The model 1 genesis supports rgb out... nobody uses composite anymore unless that's the only option.  I just mentioned the the gbs control because it has the unique option to output component instead of vga with a simple cable adapter.  I tried my model 1 on the gbs control and I was very satisfied with the picture. 

The NES, the 2600 and older consoles are composite only without extensive modding.  Just about everything released after that, however, supports some sort of rgb out (rgb scart, component, or hdmi). 

KenToad

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Yeah, with SCART, it would feel like starting from zero. I've watched several of the My Life in Gaming videos that attempt to show how to get the best setup to play these old games. To me, SCART with upscaler seems way too expensive and complicated for the, IMO, tiny difference it makes. For SNES, I'm pretty happy with S-video on a decent CRT. If I had a Genesis with better quality composite out, I'd probably stick with that.

As for the future, I'd argue that SCART connections married with upscalers are going to be a tiny blip on the overall timeline, even compared to lesser used options like S-video and component. Upscalers that utilize SCART are just too expensive and dependent upon the end user to configure to be truly popular solutions. Eventually, once the original consoles bite the dust, we'll all have tiny FPGA-like boxes that play all the older consoles through whatever standard replaces HDMI, I guess.

I went ahead and ordered the HD Retrovision Genesis component cable along with the model 2 to model 1 adapter from Canada. Sometimes it feels like I just need to get these things off my mind. Otherwise, I'll waste too much time pondering. And that's exactly why I don't do crowdfunded stuff or preorders, with rare exception.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2020, 12:37:26 pm by KenToad »

Howard_Casto

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SCART is just a connector.... it's 15khz rgb which isn't going anywhere as every old console and nearly every old arcade machine used it.  With all due respect I think it's actually fpga that's going to be a blip in the broader scheme of things.  To 99% of the people out there, it's just more expensive emulation (and in a way it kind of is) so it's only going to stick around until system on a chip boards get fast enough to properly emulate the more modern consoles.   Here in the US and in japan we've jumped from format to format, but rgb scart has been the standard in Europe pretty much the entire gaming timeline.  I figure it's still got legs and the upscalers aren't terribly expensive.  If you don't want to mod, the OSSC or retrotink line of products are under 100.... gbs control is well under 100.  You don't have to buy one for every system.... one will cover it all.  You'll just be spending a little more for a scart cable instead of the standard ones.... yeah it's more but not much more if you shop around.  The hd retro vision cables are expensive and for one console only, so imho they make absolutely no sense if you want to save money and have several consoles. 

As for the longevity of the original consoles.... well some of them are well over 40 years old and with a bit of maintenance they still work fine.  If optical drive emulators hadn't come along I would have agreed with you on the newer stuff but now that they have I don't think that will be a serious concern in our lifetime. 

KenToad

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I really don't agree that most people see FPGA as more expensive emulation. Some do, for sure, but to me they seem like a minority (they want to equate FPGA with their pi  ;) ). I agree that 99% of people can't tell the difference between high and low level emulation. I guess you shouldn't be able to tell the difference, if both are done well. And I agree with your suggestion that the landscape will radically change when the system on a chip hardware gets fast enough to cheaply and easily emulate 3D stuff like Dreamcast, GameCube, and PS2 (I'm making some assumptions as to what specific consoles you were referencing).

I would really like to know what kind of numbers of people worldwide still use SCART connectors. It seems like virtually no one here in the states has gone that route. Just looking up prices on Amazon, SCART cables are expensive. SCART switchers are expensive. You need multiple cables and at least one switcher if you're going that route with an OSSC or some other type of upscaler like a SCART version of Retrotink, so price is definitely a big barrier to entry, even with the cheapest options.

Most of the HD Retrovision cables are decently priced at around $30. I just couldn't understand why the SNES and Genesis cables retail for $70.

Mike A

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The SCART cable for my Saturn was 10 bucks on Amazon.

I needed a few dollars in parts to build a sync stripper circuit.

I currently have it hooked up to an arcade monitor.

« Last Edit: August 31, 2020, 11:39:39 am by Mike A »

KenToad

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The SCART cable for my Saturn was 10 bucks on Amazon.

I needed a few dollars in parts to build a sync stripper circuit.

I currently have it hooked up to an arcade monitor.

I would say that you are one in a million to have all that stuff and be able to build your own circuit.  :cheers:


KenToad

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You have the desire and ability to follow a schematic to connect a Sega Saturn via SCART to an arcade monitor.

Just a regular guy doin' regular things?  :applaud:

Mike A

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Yes. I am a warehouse company manager and co-owner.

I had no electronics background until I started doing arcade stuff.

That circuit is super simple and you don't even need to solder if you don't want to. It can be breadboarded.

The monitor connection is just red, green, blue, ground, sync.





Howard_Casto

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Ken do you even BYOAC bro?  We don't buy solutions here we build them.  ;) Like Mike I pay on average about 10 bucks a cable.  Sometimes you might need to swap out the resistors(or caps) (only PAL cables available) or add in the ridiculously simple sync stripper circuit but that's it.  Most of the time you don't even have to do that, it's fine as-is.  The problem is misinformation.  People will say you need super high quality cables..... those are certainly nice to have but a poorly shielded rgb scart cable still looks way better better than a s-video cable and lightyears better than composite.   I'm not sure where you are getting your info but scart is super popular for retro enthusiasts, even here in the states.  It's really a matter of necessity..... 240p doesn't play nice with modern tvs so some sort of upscaler is required.  If an upscaler is going to be used it makes more sense to feed it raw rgb rather than compressed garbage that then has to be decoded and upscaled. 

You could have took that same 70 bucks for the single cable.... built yourself a gbscontrol with scart input and had some leftover for some of the optional add-ons.  Then your investment per console would be about $10.  If you are one of those cable quality snobs or want someone to give you a turn key cable with some of the problem systems then your investment would be $20-$30 a cable.... roughly the same amount it is now. 

Switching gears on this stuff is intimidating...I know I was hesitant to go down the rgb rabbit-hole but once I got started I realized it was the only way to go.  The component adapters are really for guys you can't byo and we know you are perfectly capable of it. 

chopperthedog

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Ken you do you. If I remember correctly about a year ago you were about using LCD screens, good to see you have a crt with component and s-video currently.

Not everyone needs to be an RGB snob to enjoy a good lookin picture. Quite pleased with my JVC 27" 2008 crt with component/s-vid ins. I have no desire to head down the RGB hole in my console life.


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Mike A

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I was just pointing out that SCART cables don't have to be expensive, and either do mods. I don't know where you are getting the snobbery from. I was pointing out the opposite. You can do what you want without expensive equipment. It doesn't matter if it is RGB or any other format.

KenToad

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Not trying to be snobby, Mike. I think what you did with your Saturn sounds awesome. My point was that you have a lot of skills and interests that the average person doesn't (even if it's easy to do, the average person probably doesn't want to understand it, much less build their own circuit).

My argument is that, outside of our specialized hardcore niche, I believe SCART is a non-starter. I think $10 a cable isn't bad, but it sucks when you realize that you need a cable for every console and then a switcher that will run 60 bucks for 3 connections and some form of upscaler. You're essentially starting from zero with a format that has never been officially supported in this country. I guess My Life In Gaming YouTube channel has done wonders for the market for all these things.

I don't even think most Europeans use SCART anymore. My wife is German. I'll have to get her to ask around, just to see if I can find anyone who uses it.

Anyway, thanks Chopper. Yeah, you remembered correctly. I had all my consoles hooked up to a very average quality 40 inch LCD (that I still use for more modern consoles). Finally, I upgraded to a Retrotink 2x for the older stuff, then I eventually picked up a local giveaway consumer 32 inch Trinitron with Component and S-Video. The screen isn't perfect. It's a flat tube that has a subtle horizontal bowing that, from my research, seems to need some internal adjustment. Generally, it's great to play on a legit old school setup and I'm happy to be able to enjoy tons of light gun games, especially since I missed the golden age of that era back in the early 2000's. If you haven't already, the SNES and N64 look great through S-video and the cables were super cheap.

KenToad

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Since we're talking about making our own circuits, has anyone attempted anything like this: http://www.benryves.com/journal/3763160

It's supposed to be a way to make an adapter to use Sega's Light phaser as a Justifier. I keep looking at Justifiers and they go for $75 or more. I just want to play Snatcher. But that project looks daunting as hell.

Howard_Casto

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What do you need a switcher for?  You should only have one retro console plugged in at a time unless you want to deal with a nightmarish rats nest of wires regardless of which format you use. 

Also to your argument about scart not being viable.... well if you aren't in the hardcore community then you probably don't have all of these consoles.... which means you have to re-buy them.... and they never come with the cables.  So it's spend 10 bucks for a stock a/v cable or 10 bucks for a scart.  Costs exactly the same.  Also if you aren't hardcore then you don't have a lot of consoles... so there's no need for switches ect.  You just don't like scart for some reason, which is ok, but it's just as viable option as anything else.  At this point if you are buying old consoles outside of maybe a nes, snes or genesis, you are in the hardcore community anyway.  Normies just play the stuff emulated on a modern console via collections, virtual console, ect. 

mahuti

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Re: Why are HD Retrovision cables for SNES and Genesis / MegaDrive so expensive?
« Reply #21 on: September 02, 2020, 10:54:21 pm »
Quote
But that project looks daunting as hell.

Is it the breadboard work that looks daunting? For me usually the daunting part is waiting to get parts in the mail.

Quote
do you even BYOAC bro?

That made me laugh.
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Howard_Casto

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Re: Why are HD Retrovision cables for SNES and Genesis / MegaDrive so expensive?
« Reply #22 on: September 03, 2020, 01:26:06 am »
Yeah half the time the parts come from China and you wait a month or two to get them.  A sync splitter is super easy.... you really can skip the breadboard and solder the components directly on the chip... it's no big deal. 

I try to be funny but I get the feeling that some people don't get the joke and think I'm just being an ---uvula---. 

mahuti

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Re: Why are HD Retrovision cables for SNES and Genesis / MegaDrive so expensive?
« Reply #23 on: September 03, 2020, 08:28:38 am »
Quote
  solder the components directly on the chip   

Soldering is my happy place.

Quote
  just being an ---uvula---.   

Underrated pastime.

I saw the other thread on the GSB mod and I think I may have to do it. After 300 other projects are finished.
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KenToad

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Re: Why are HD Retrovision cables for SNES and Genesis / MegaDrive so expensive?
« Reply #24 on: September 03, 2020, 12:59:18 pm »
I got the joke, Howard. No one got my joke about Mike being one in a million, it seems.  Anyway, I'm pretty sure it's all good. I've been on this forum for over 15 years. I know that you guys are mostly awesome. Gotta be some reason that I've stuck around. :)

The HD Retrovision Genesis cable and adapter arrived today. It looks stunning on my CRT, as expected. It doesn't look significantly sharper than my S-video cable for the SNES, so I'm glad I didn't spring for the SNES version. The SNES and Genesis cables are still way too expensive and limited, but you can tell that they are a quality product just by holding them. They feel a lot sturdier than your typical cheap cables. I will admit that, if there were cheap quality clone cables for half the price, I would have gone that route.

*Edit* Here's a crazy bonus: My light phaser is more accurate now. Before, hooked up through cheap composite cables and a switcher, the shots always fell to left the barrel. Now, they are pretty much dead on with the sights. That's amazing. I wonder if there was some slight delay caused by the old connection setup?
« Last Edit: September 03, 2020, 01:09:07 pm by KenToad »

KenToad

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Re: Why are HD Retrovision cables for SNES and Genesis / MegaDrive so expensive?
« Reply #25 on: September 03, 2020, 01:15:01 pm »
Quote
But that project looks daunting as hell.

Is it the breadboard work that looks daunting? For me usually the daunting part is waiting to get parts in the mail.

Quote
do you even BYOAC bro?

That made me laugh.

The daunting parts are the ordering of parts and reading the schematic. I could probably figure it out, but it would be a lot of new experiences. It probably would make more sense to just spend $75 bucks on a Justifier.