Retro display solutions (monitors, TVs, CRTs, flatscreens, upscaling, calibration)

Discussion in 'Retro & Arcade' started by elvis, Jul 24, 2018.

  1. nimmers

    nimmers Member

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    Is that L5 pic a bit too bright?
     
  2. OP
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    elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Exposure on my shitty phone. I spent a long time trying different settings in Open Camera, and opted for the ones that showed the macro detail of the CRT rather than an accurate picture. Using the Macro mode through that app, which is very fussy about distance from the screen, too.

    Of the three displays, the 30" CRT is much brighter (objectively measured with both my phone's light level sensor and a SpectraCal C6 / X-Rite i1Display Pro probe). But due to it's sheer size and low resolution, it was far easier to get a good picture at low levels.

    I'd love to re-do these on either a proper DSLR or my wife's Pixel 3 which has a much nicer camera. But that's the best I can do for now.
     
  3. Camm

    Camm Member

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  4. Sir Didymus

    Sir Didymus Member

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    elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    BVM is a step up from PVM. While these aren't the most sought-after model of BVM around, I've seen these things go for $400+ in places.

    I've seen top of the line BVMs sold for over a grand in the last year.

    This is why I keep telling people to consider PC monitors. Similar spec screens, and when coupled with a MiSTer, OSSC or RetroTink-2X and a scanline generator, give you an almost identical picture (see my macro photos on the previous page).

    Alternatively, a late model all-analogue consumer TV with a Shinybow RGB/SCART to Component/YPbPr converter will still give you a pretty good picture (not PVM/BVM levels), but at a fraction of the price.
     
  6. Sir Didymus

    Sir Didymus Member

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    I have reasonable Sony CRT that I'm quite happy with. Just curious as these are the holy grail and they don't come up often.
     
  7. noogai93

    noogai93 Member

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    I tried to grab this earlier in the week but the seller listed it on ebay short after listing it on gumtree and is not taking offers over gumtree. Some muppets already have it at $630
     
  8. WuZMoT

    WuZMoT Member

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    For comparison the Shinybow SB-2840 + UMSA Ultimate Scart Adapter set me back about $156 and $89 respectively (including freight and exchange rate sting) If you aren't combining sync (PC VGA) you don't need the UMSA.

    elvis isn't mad, save a CRT TODAY!
     
  9. OP
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    elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    I'm in the process of writing some scripts that generate CRT test patterns (can also be used for LCD screens too).

    Black and white levels (luminance/brightness/contrast) are the easiest to calibrate. The human eye is the best tool of all for that.

    Colour, particularly white point, is impossible for humans to calibrate. Our eyes adapt very quickly to colours for a long list of biological reasons, and instruments are needed to help there.

    Gamma is tricky, but you can use maths to help. According to the sRGB spec using a gamma curve of approximately 2.2 on a CRT, a 50% black/white alternating pixel pattern and a pure grey at RGB levels (188,188,188) should look identical when sitting back at a distance from the screen in both colour and brightness.

    Here's my big 30" CRT which I know isn't great due to lack of controls. Even with the white point in a rough ballpark according to a probe, the gamma is off.

    Somewhat tricky to show in photos due to how poor cameras are at capturing generated light (they're designed for capturing reflected light), but here's my 30" telly with my gamma test pattern:

    gamma_tv.jpg

    Now compare with my properly calibrated PVM:

    gamma_pvm.jpg

    And calibrated PC monitor (which has the advantage of being in progressive scan, so my phone camera doesn't freak out so bad):

    gamma_pc.jpg

    Again difficult to see in photos from a camera that isn't a human eye, but to the naked eye the PC (bottom) and PVM (middle) are nearly identical left and right, while the TV (top) is quite blatantly out with the gamma too high.

    Once I get a few more of these test patterns right, I'll link to my github with the generation tools. From there I'll try to do a video or something demonstrating how to use these.

    Some of these tests will overlap somewhat with the 240p test suite and the AVS tests, others I haven't seen before (like this gamma test, which is oddly missing from most test suites).
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2019
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  10. badmofo

    badmofo Member

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    I'd never heard of a scan line generator before, I have much to learn. The RetroTink -> HDMI to VGA setup is great but some scanlines might be nice. I did 5 mins of research and ordered a cheap unit from eBay, am interested to see how it looks.
     
  11. OP
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    elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Hrm, that means I need to something to the first post.
     
  12. self_slaughter

    self_slaughter Member

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    Does anyone know someone near Brisbane who might be able to hook my tv up with a scart input?

    I'd love to try myself, but with no electronics knowledge I will probably end up killing myself... or worse, killing the TV. :/

    Big old flat screen Sony Trinitron (KV-XJ29M31), so service manual is easily available.
     
  13. nimmers

    nimmers Member

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    $1875 for that BVM. Prices still going up for these.
     
  14. noogai93

    noogai93 Member

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    A 14" 800 TVL HD capable BVM went for $570 in the last month or so, I rate that last auction as hyper inflated.

    I feel people see this guy's store https://www.ebay.com.au/str/videoaudiostudios and get the wrong idea.

    He has been at it for ages and under different names, few funny threads around about him.
    https://www.reddit.com/r/crtgaming/comments/9eux8n/watch_out_buying_from_theonlyshop2013_on_ebay/
    For $1875 you could could probably import something from videoaudiostudios...
     
  15. nimmers

    nimmers Member

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    I dunno man, I have a few PVMs and BVMs I use to play arcade games on. When they cost more than a Blast/Astro City arcade cabinet I think people are valuing them too highly.

    I guess its just supply and demand.
     
  16. OP
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    elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Or hype and greed, which is much the same thing. The people who genuinely use and love this equipment aren't the ones price gouging the market. The people doing so are pure opportunists.

    For $1875 you could RGB mod all your consoles, attach them all to a top of the line SCART switch, feed that into an OSSC with an excellent quality VGA DAC, feed that into a 21" PC monitor at 150% the line count and a 50% smaller dot pitch, and have $1000 spare.

    I love CRT gaming, and there's no way in hell I'd pay that sort of money for any 14" display on Earth.
     
  17. nimmers

    nimmers Member

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    Just glad I got what I need a while back. Unfortunately it's the way of these hobbies man, there are hobbyists who earn so much money that $1850 isn't a big deal.

    What's also funny is I reckon the seller was expecting more.
     
  18. OP
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    elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    What annoys me is the hype cycle. You can buy a GameCube for years for $20. Then some idiot YouTuber does a "hidden gems" video, and they're $200 overnight. It's like people need to be told what to buy, and can't think for themselves, and that's what drives pricing more than actual demand.

    And as for the "supply" part, here's a photo taken in 2019 of a Chinese recycle plant. And there's thousands of these things popping up. There's so much supply it's being destroyed en mass, but people are still spending hundreds (or thousands now, it seems) on things that YouTube tells them to buy.

    crt_recycle.jpg
     
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  19. Sir Didymus

    Sir Didymus Member

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    That's absurd.
     
  20. badmofo

    badmofo Member

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    What are you proposing elvis? I don't really understand the problem in the first place but a solution is even harder to conceive. The general public don’t have the knowledge or level of interest as you guys – I visit here daily and am totally taking your lead on getting a better display solution going for my consoles. I’d be amazed if you’ve never seen something awesome on the YouTubes and threw money at it to make it yours – maybe you did your research and saved some bucks by rolling your own / finding one locally / fixing a busted one, but begrudging people who don’t have time / inclination to do that isn’t reasonable.

    My thinking is that you take the good with the bad – retro gaming is huge which is great in countless ways, but you’re gonna get lamers (like me) jumping on the bandwagon and buying up some of the limited pool of hardware out there.
     

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