Retro Hardware Guide

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Video[edit]

RGB SCART (or JP21, but that's somewhat worse to use for different reasons) will be your best for a majority of retro consoles in most use-cases. SCART is an all-in-one cable for video and audio (like HDMI), RGB SCART being the best quality of them all. However, there's a catch with using this kind of cable:

  • They're not really cheap.
  • If you have an American TV, it won't have a SCART port (it was a European standard, not to be confused with the physically similar but elctrically different JP21 cable).
  • Depending on the console, it could potentially either not support RGB SCART natively and require hardware modifications to be able to, or won't support it natively for non-European releases of the console.

To use RGB SCART on your TV, you'll need a SCART-to-HDMI converter (which is going to be something you'll want, even if your TV can accept natively accept SCART outputs), and a SCART switch for multiple outputs to go into the same port, in this case the converter, which will go into your television of choice.

"Why not use JP21 instead?"[edit]

JP21 is a perfectly usable cable in its own right, in fact in at least one aspect it's more convenient (the Framemeister comes with an adapter for it right out the box), however it CANNOT be used interchangeably with devices made for SCART cables, as both cables are differently wired up despite being identical in how they look on the outside. This means that by using them interchangeably with each other could damage various components, or even harm you if any short is sufficiently bad. Because of this risk and the fact that more people have tested out hardware for SCART cables and posted their results for others to see, it is generally recommended to use SCART over JP21. However, if you do sufficient research and do not use equipment made for SCART cables, then you can very much use JP21 instead.

Converters[edit]

  • The xRGB Framemeister is a common favorite, though has fallen out of common discussion due to frequent price hikes and it being discontinued in June 2019 [1]. However, even with a Framemeister, using it is not hassle-free (since it is a Japanese device, you will need to change a setting to get the Framemeister to display its options in any language that is not Japanese, and either a translation of the remote's Japanese labels or the purchase of an overlay that goes on top of the pre-existing printed label so that the buttons will have their function translated into your language of choice), or even a perfect solution (a common complaint is that it desyncs and resyncs when a game changes its own resolution from menus to in-game, Chrono Cross and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night are commonly used examples of such behavior). One important thing to note about the Framemeister is that the adapter that it comes with is not a SCART-to-"RGB In" adapter ("RGB-In" being Micomsoft's special port to feed the input data into the Framemeister), but a JP21-to-RGB In adapter, meaning it will require a separate SCART-to-RGB In adapter to properly work with your SCART equipment.

References[edit]

See also[edit]