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Thread: RGB on the American continent

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    RGB on the American continent

    People who live in Europe are somewhat spoiled when it comes to true RGB monitors. I must admit I've never really put any effort into RGB-quality when I was younter. Owning an N64 as my first console didn't help (:p) and I've had trouble recognizing the difference on my Xbox 1 when I tested it almost a decade ago (oh God, how time goes by).

    But when I entered the world of retro gaming, RGB became more and more important to me. I prefer arcade style games and 2D graphics, both of which are clearly designed to be presented in RGB quality. As late as in 2007, being addicted to arcade style games for a humble four years, I decided that everything needs to be RGB-ticized. First off were my Saturns, my Mega Drive, SNES, my PS2, then my Dreamcast, my GameCube (I performed a modification so my PAL GC - the only one that can output RGB! - would be able to play US and JPN games), and now finally, the PC-Engine.
    Basically every CRT TV here in Germany supports RGB except for the pre-Scart stuff and some exceptions. Companies like Grundig, Telefunken or Sony built very high quality tubes into their consumer televisions. For instance, some Telefunken televisions were equipped with the same tubes as arcade machines back in the day (the best RGB picture to get).

    So I was wondering. How hard is it to get an RGB-capable screen in the US or Canada? How common are Sony/Barco/NEC rgb screens and are they the same models as those distributed in Europe? For instance, my Sony PVM 2730qm has scart RGB, is it identical to an American 2730QM?

    And last but not least - some impressions of one of the best RGB monitors ever made. The Sony PVM series, what we have here is the 27 inch-model "Sony PVM 2730QM":



    I know there are still some people out there who believe "not to see a difference between S-Video and RGB", so here it goes:

    59,630 > 57,300

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    SCART is European, you'll be hard pushed to find it in America.

    However, there are RGB monitors in the US - the easiest to find would be broadcast monitors, and monitors for computers such as the Amiga or Atari ST ranges. They'll have either broadcast-standard RGB sockets (e.g. a multi-way connector), BNC connectors or a D-sub connector... i.e. you may have to make up a lead. Easiest thing to do is make a SCART to (whatever) monitor lead, and use SCART cables intended for whatever games consoles you want to use on it.

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    So Amiga/pc monitors in the US were all capable of true RGB, right? I was already afraid there was no option but to buy a broadcast monitor like the PVM's. However, since I'm already living in fear of no-RGB-country, I've started to accumulate RGB screens before I go to America. I've got two 27" PVM's and two 14" Amiga monitors, hopefully that's enough for a start.

    I was just wondering how common the Sony PVM's are in the US and how much they cost. Here in Germany you can grab them off ebay and local inquiries from time to time and they won't cost much more than 50-100 Euro in pristine condition. I paid 70 for my first, 50 for the one pictured (w/speakers). I was afraid they were more like 300$ up in the US... or are they not?
    59,630 > 57,300

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    You can always search eBay.com and select US only and view the sales history for a comparson of cost and rarity :P

    Also good luck with your move!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ave View Post
    So Amiga/pc monitors in the US were all capable of true RGB, right?
    Not PC. They're 31Khz, you want 15kHz. A few do dual scan. And not ALL of them do RGB. I think they might have the Commodore 1084 in America?

    Quote Originally Posted by ave
    I was already afraid there was no option but to buy a broadcast monitor like the PVM's.
    Pretty much!

    Quote Originally Posted by ave
    However, since I'm already living in fear of no-RGB-country, I've started to accumulate RGB screens before I go to America. I've got two 27" PVM's and two 14" Amiga monitors, hopefully that's enough for a start.
    And a bunch of step-up transformers. And of course, you're selling your house to be able to afford to ship them! Nah, sell them and get something over there.

    There's also the geometry issue, although as we're above the equator I don't think that'd matter. Take a Japanese monitor to America, though, and it'd need realigning.

    Quote Originally Posted by ave
    I was just wondering how common the Sony PVM's are in the US and how much they cost.
    Pretty common and a fair bit, although still cheap compared to their original price!

    Quote Originally Posted by ave
    Here in Germany you can grab them off ebay and local inquiries from time to time and they won't cost much more than 50-100 Euro in pristine condition.
    Ha, good luck getting one for that in America!


    Quote Originally Posted by ave
    I was afraid they were more like 300$ up in the US... or are they not?
    They are. $200-300 is a reasonable estimate for what one would cost you. They're broadcast monitors (and usually ONLY broadcast monitors) in the US... so more often than not, they end up in the hands of those "recycling" companies... you know, the ones that sell old PC and video gear for crazy prices? You can get lucky, though. In fact, looking at eBay this week, it's a lot more promising than it was a while back. Just because it is broadcast, don't expect it to have RGB, though (or be colour!) - check! There are a lot of old, crappy broadcast monitors over there!

    Also, don't expect them to have the same models over there. That's often not the case. Sure, you'll get a Sony broadcast monitor, yes they use the PVM code, but not necessarily the same.

    By the way, Europe doesn't have it lucky because we have SCART connectors on or TVs... Europe has it lucky because we use PAL! Good luck with that NTSC, man! :-P

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    Quote Originally Posted by retro View Post
    Ha, good luck getting one for that in America!
    I've heard of plenty of people picking up PVMs for cheap in the US. Often for less than I paid for mine, actually - coincidentally mine is identical to ave's, a 2730QM, and it set me back ~£50 (plus fuel for collection).

    Also, don't expect them to have the same models over there. That's often not the case. Sure, you'll get a Sony broadcast monitor, yes they use the PVM code, but not necessarily the same.
    It'll almost certainly be lacking the SCART socket for one thing, which will necessitate a custom cable (like you say a rig to adapt SCART cables is the easiest/cheapest option).

    By the way, Europe doesn't have it lucky because we have SCART connectors on or TVs... Europe has it lucky because we use PAL! Good luck with that NTSC, man! :-P
    Um. What? If we're talking about RGB, PAL/NTSC distinctions are mostly meaningless anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by retro View Post
    And a bunch of step-up transformers. And of course, you're selling your house to be able to afford to ship them! Nah, sell them and get something over there.
    There's also the geometry issue, although as we're above the equator I don't think that'd matter. Take a Japanese monitor to America, though, and it'd need realigning.
    Since our stuff is going to be put into a 40 foot container either way, it's not a question of money to get them over there. It would cost just the same if I wouldn't take them.
    The step-up converters are no problem. My entire hobby is powered by a whole collection of step-down converters right now because I play only with 110V consoles in a 220V country. It will be a relieve to have only ONE step-up converter lingering around :D

    I never considered there could be difficulties from a technical point of view, like geometry which you mentioned. I sure hope that's not the case, but then again people have been importing all kinds of monitors and it did work out very well.

    Also, don't expect them to have the same models over there. That's often not the case. Sure, you'll get a Sony broadcast monitor, yes they use the PVM code, but not necessarily the same.

    By the way, Europe doesn't have it lucky because we have SCART connectors on or TVs... Europe has it lucky because we use PAL! Good luck with that NTSC, man! :-P
    Mh what's wrong with NTSC? The PVM's recognize an NTSC signal without any problems, there's even an LED at the front telling you if the signal is NTSC or PAL (I love the backlit membrane buttons).


    Well, thanks for confirming that it's indeed hard to track down good RGB monitors in the US. I was already wondering if I'm just crazy :-)
    Last edited by ave; 02-27-2011 at 03:56 PM.
    59,630 > 57,300

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    SCART is almost completely unknown to most people outside of A/V enthusiasts over here, but there was a high-end TV in the 1980s called the RCA Dimensia that had it (though it was under the name EIA multiport despite being the exact same thing).

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    For commercial household products we never saw RGB of any kind (that I am aware of)until LCD's came around(which have PC RGB inputs)

    Composite video pretty much dominated everything. S-Video as well but not as common that I saw growing up.
    Last edited by Vosse; 02-28-2011 at 03:29 AM.

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    Yeah, Europe was the RGB heaven while Japan was kinda restricted to S-Vid. But US only got crappy AV from most of the TV sets :p

    Since I was about 15, RGB was an indispensable must for me. PCE, MD, SFC, SMS, Amiga and even my MSX was running via RGB.

    Now am stuck again to S-Vid :(
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    I assume JRGB didn't really take off in Japan then? I've still yet to see a TV with a JRGB socket here, even on then-expensive 28" brand name CRTs.

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    There's also the XRGB-2/3. It lets you connect a console that outputs RGB (it needs to be one that uses 240p, so basically PSX/N64/Saturn and earlier) to an LCD or a computer monitor. It obviously isn't exactly the same as using a CRT over RGB, but supposedly it's pretty close - especially with the simulated scanlines. I've never used one myself.

    Personally I'm waiting for the next iteration of the XRGB - the XRGB-mini G2 Frame Meister. It's supposed to have HDMI outputs and new scaling technologies.

    That, and I've also been eyeing a 20" PVM on eBay.
    Last edited by la-li-lu-le-lo; 02-28-2011 at 04:43 AM.

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    I never even attempted to use a console with a SCART cable until 2009.

    Now I run all my consoles via RGB. Even N64. :lol:

  14. #14
    I am currently in the process of RGB'ing all of my consoles. I got a PVM 2750 (damn, was that thing heavy) and 2 Amiga Monitors. Too bad my PVM seems kind of faulty ... I will have to inspect it.

    I love your pictures, clearly shows the advantage of those cables/monitors.

    But I got a question: Basicly, you say: If there is a scart-Socket, RGB will work. Really? I mean: Really? Did you test that out on some TV-Sets? Do those tv-sets all displayed a crisp image, with 240p scanlines? I don't expect the image to be perfect like on those broadcast monitors, but the image is still displayed and looking properly?

    This is so very cool, I did not know that RGB would be accepted by most of those TV-Sets! :D

    no, I got a 2730QM too ... we got the same one! *dance*
    Last edited by LeGIt; 03-01-2011 at 04:00 AM. Reason: Double post merge

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    No, scart-socket ≠ automatically RGB.
    It so depends on the TV, maker etc. I had good experiences with all sony, toshiba, phillips & blaupunkt in europe, they all supported RGB ex-work. But there are plenty low-cost TVs which didn't.
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    Scart was such a mindfield with regards to getting RGB, and still is. Even today, most TV manufacturers will advertise two Scart sockets, yet insist on making the second Scart socket only support Composite/S-Video (despite the fact that dedicated connectors for these are normally present). Sony are one of the few who actually get this right.

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    Fun fact: Scart RGB became popular because the french made it a law that all video electronics must have a scart video output. However, the french have no clue what scart is, because the connector is called Péritel over there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ave View Post
    The step-up converters are no problem. My entire hobby is powered by a whole collection of step-down converters right now because I play only with 110V consoles in a 220V country. It will be a relieve to have only ONE step-up converter lingering around :D
    Firstly it might be worth checking the rating sticker on the back of the monitor. I think some PVM's have a universal power supply (100v - 240v 50/60Hz), so you might get lucky there.

    If not you'd need quite a hefty step-up transformer, as when the monitor is first powered up the degaussing coil draws high current for a few seconds (some of you with large CRT sets may notice the lights shimmer ever so slightly at power on).
    This'll most likely blow the protection fuse on some transformers, so you'll need one designed to run a high load (let's say around 700W to be safe). Also check to make sure the monitor can accept a 60Hz mains frequency.

    Not sure if this is worth mentioning, but I read somewhere that most American homes have a 220v output for tumble dryers and cookers etc, connected over +110v/0v/-110v arrangement (220v by connecting directly to the 110v taps). Maybe there is some way to utilize this instead!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ninn View Post
    But I got a question: Basicly, you say: If there is a scart-Socket, RGB will work. Really? I mean: Really? Did you test that out on some TV-Sets? Do those tv-sets all displayed a crisp image, with 240p scanlines? I don't expect the image to be perfect like on those broadcast monitors, but the image is still displayed and looking properly?
    It has been said before, but many TV sets had two scart sockets of which only one actually supports RGB. My 21" Triniton tube that I use for retro gaming supports RGB (very good quality, but not as good as a PVM or CRT) only if you use the upper of the two scart inputs - the other one is composite only. And that's the way many TV's were built in the 90's.
    Buy you can always buy a scart RGB switch (again, make sure all sockets support RGB! The cheap switches are often equipped with only 1 RGB and 3 composite or so) and connect your 3-4 RGB sources at a time. That's what I do and there's no noticable loss in quality if you've got a good switch.

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldgamingfart View Post
    If not you'd need quite a hefty step-up transformer, as when the monitor is first powered up the degaussing coil draws high current for a few seconds (some of you with large CRT sets may notice the lights shimmer ever so slightly at power on).
    This'll most likely blow the protection fuse on some transformers, so you'll need one designed to run a high load (let's say around 700W to be safe). Also check to make sure the monitor can accept a 60Hz mains frequency.
    It says 220-240V 50/60Hz. But a step-up converter isn't as bad as you make it sound :P I'm currently having a whole bunch of converters laying around for import consoles and all those would be gone in 110V-land. My biggest stepdown-conv. is a 500W monster for an arcade cabinet, so to say a 29" 110V-CRT. It requires about 300W for degaussing. I'm not sure what kind of watt power a PVM takes while doing that, but it can't be more than that considering it is even 2 inch smaller, can it?
    Last edited by ave; 02-28-2011 at 09:20 AM.
    59,630 > 57,300

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    Quote Originally Posted by ave View Post

    It says 220-240V 50/60Hz. But a step-up converter isn't as bad as you make it sound :P I'm currently having a whole bunch of converters laying around for import consoles and all those would be gone in 110V-land. My biggest stepdown-conv. is a 500W monster for an arcade cabinet, so to say a 29" 110V-CRT. It requires about 300W for degaussing. I'm not sure what kind of watt power a PVM takes while doing that, but it can't be more than that considering it is even 2 inch smaller, can it?
    Yes an arcade monitor PSU is a good example. I think in that case, a 500W step-up transformer will suffice.

    Back to TV's, I have a 28" standard 4:3 set, manufactured by Finnish company Salora (contains a heap of ITT/Nokia chipsets for the microcontroller, Teletext etc).
    It does feature a Videocolor tube, the same type used in the Hantarex Polo monitors, and gives nice results over RGB.
    Last edited by Oldgamingfart; 02-28-2011 at 09:38 AM.

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