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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    On a brighter note, I borrowed an OSSC to do video capture of the 1989 SSF2:T tournament and I've been trying it on my 28" benq TN panel monitor.

    I can actually play! - which is a big deal because I can't play on MAME and not miss timing of things.
     
  2. OP
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    elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    I'm proposing people don't spend $1875 on a CRT ever, and stop watching idiot YouTubers.

    I've lost count of the volume of people I know who are happy with a curbside CRT pickup for free. An upgrade to S-video or HDRetroVision YPbPr cables is at most a $50 investment for an excellent picture.

    Screw these people trying to spruik broadcast CRTs for hundreds/thousands.

    Which I have no problem with. It's the folks taking advantage of you, who themselves don't improve or contribute to the hobby, that annoy me.

    I genuinely wish there was another viable option. We've got excellent quality clone hardware for a huge amount of old computers and consoles, we've got emulation options that are a bit laggy but still awesome. When it comes to displays, we simply have nothing that beats or even comes close to a CRT.

    The chassis (driving PCB) is fine - they're still in plentiful production. But nobody is making tubes any more, and that's a massive problem.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2019
  3. nimmers

    nimmers Member

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    I think you need to take a deep breath man. Posting pics of scrap consumer gear and complaining about the price of an old broadcast monitor is not apples for apples. If they were all BVMs being scrapped I'd accept your point.

    In this instance the "folks taking advantage of you" look to be someone who bought the monitor for professional use and very likely paid tens of thousands of dollars for it. In the auction description he said he bought it to colour grade a documentary he made. It was obviously something he valued because it even has a flight case.

    As for whoever paid $1850 for it.... it was an auction that started at $0 it sold for $1850 because of the buyers bidding, you can't blame the seller for that.

    EDIT: You need to keep in mind that colour grading guys still use these for work too. The buyer might not even be using it for retro gaming.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2019
  4. OP
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    elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    I feel the precise point I'm trying to make is being missed.

    Consumer PC CRTs equal (and in some cases beat) BVMs for line count, dot pitch and colour and image quality. See my macro photography a page back. See the specs documented all around the web. Consider what the PC tubes were designed for (reading high resolution text and looking at high resolution images), and that they were made almost a decade later than BVMs, and it makes sense why.

    The scrap plant photo showed a number of consumer PC CRTs in there (easy to spot). While these are being trashed at scale, we're left with a "shortage" of similarly performing gear here, with hype factor added to it by prominent YouTubers because of the PVM/BVM label on the box. All of which ignores actual specs like line count, dot pitch, maximum frequencies and other key points which truly show the quality of a CRT rather than the sticker on the box.

    So yes, they're related. And yes, it's dangerous for people to think that it's OK to scrap one and not the other because the BVM label makes something "more magical". That very concept has been, in part at least, contributed to by a lot of YouTubers, mostly through their own ignorance. Some are after clicks, some were genuinely trying to help. But anyone who promoted that without doing the research has left a lot of people with information that isn't as black and white as they'd expect.

    Perhaps. I've also seen people begging companies like the one I work for now (a company that rented broadcast gear to prominent TV and film productions around the world, and we did then and still do today buy PVMs and BVMs new) for free CRTs in transport road cases that they then sell on eBay weeks later for 10 times as much. Literally happened to us 2 years ago, before I found out and told them to stop selling to that individual. You'd look at his auctions even today and think he was a supplier of broadcast gear. He's not. The dude literally sells out of his garage.

    As for the original price of the gear - they depreciate much like computer equipment does. They also get costed into projects, and make profit several times over their investment price. We don't expect to sell our $10K VFX workstations for $2K a decade later. Nor do we expect that of any of our monitors, including PVMs and BVMs of any technology generation.

    I've already hinted at it, but I'll point it out bluntly. I understand the concepts of supply and demand in a natural market. Once you factor in consumer ignorance and seller hype, things get very different. The specific example of this exact seller isn't my point. My point is that we're seeing an ever increasing dollar price for this gear based purely on a combination of low levels of understanding and a few individuals with far too much disposable income, popular YouTubers with dangerously low technical understanding, and all that coupled with greedy sellers who aren't in the hobby for enjoyment. To my mind, this isn't much different to folks who started hoarding Nintendo mini consoles and selling them on eBay at 3 times the price. Nor is it any different to people who pre-order limited edition things just to eBay them. None of these sorts of people are adding to the hobby, just mindlessly profiteering off it all for what really doesn't equate to a useful income.

    I'm not blaming any one seller. Nor any one YouTuber. Nor any one buyer. I'm commenting on a tiny little sub-market that's gone a little crazy, and needs to calm down.

    I am, in fact, urging the entire market to "take a deep breath", and not contribute to these sorts of auctions. I've done my bit to explain how this stuff works, and alternatives everyone here is financially and intellectually capable of investigating to not pay $1K+ for display solutions. This specific example may be unique for whatever reason, but it still is a point on an graph that is pointing upwards for no real good reason outside of hype, and not as much of an outlier as we'd hope.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2019
  5. WuZMoT

    WuZMoT Member

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    Spending weeks/months trawling scumtree for a good condition CRT that's the right size/inputs and having maybe 5 or less within reasonable driving distance at any given time then see this... :upset:
     
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  6. nimmers

    nimmers Member

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    I think you mean someone else but you might mean this asshole - he gets random junk and dumps it at a repair shop begging the repair guy to repair it for him.

    I got this newsletter - these monitors were actually A series monitors, I knew because I saw them sitting there waiting for repair. They never got looked at because the repair guy had better things to do. A series means they need a rare and expensive expansion card to to RGB which they didn't have. $100 broken is still ok for parts.

    48380818_10161147826305184_3172786057741598720_o.jpg
    I mailed the guy:

    48386207_10161147826275184_8849407499225268224_o.jpg
    I gave the guy a call and he wanted me to make him an offer because someone from Adelaide offered him $500 and would pay for shipping. I laughed and told him he's a @#%#wit. Anyway time passed and these came up on eBay. Fit the description perfectly:

    51278332_10161336675180184_8558200684967624704_o.jpg

    People are dumb.
     
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  7. OP
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    elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    And 4) The same HP1120 from (3), doublescanned, and with a scanline generator

    Huge: https://i.imgur.com/5ksCqBM.jpg

    4.jpg

    Next step is to get a better bloody camera, and try to find some more consistent settings when I take shots. The PVM and HP monitor are almost the same size, and pretty much spot on for identical colour and luminance as measured by a probe. Trying to get images with the same exposure levels is tough, and the captured colours vary wildly as a result.

    Anyways, it gives you some idea, I hope. Remember that an OSSC offers scanlines, but a RetroTink-2X doesn't. You can buy SLGs from eBay/AliExpress for peanuts though.
     
  8. WuZMoT

    WuZMoT Member

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    Camera variance aside to me the SLG seems to reduce the 'pixel fullness' of the desktop CRT to the PVMs level. The result is a balance between low dot pitch clarity and the scanline smoothing effect. It's very nice.

    The TV is obviously not as sharp but keeping in mind it's 9-10 Inches or 40-50% larger than the other displays I can understand why it tends to be your go to for most play.
     
  9. OP
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    elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Some interesting updates I'll try to update the original few posts with.

    First up, two RTings updates. A while back RTings updated their lag measurement tool with a custom device. It now offers much greater accuracy than before, which is useful to provide measurements at greater than 60FPS (i.e.: less than 16ms), although worth noting that they only test HD/1080p and UHD/4K/2160p, so this information might not be accurate if you're connecting retro consoles with lower resolutions (240p/480i/etc, or even 480p for some panels) directly, as scaling is still a question:
    https://www.rtings.com/company/input-lag-tool

    Secondly, RTings have spit their TV and monitor sections up. So ignoring all other picture quality discussion, they have lists like:
    * Lowest lag TVs: https://www.rtings.com/tv/tests/inputs/input-lag
    * Lowest lag monitors: https://www.rtings.com/monitor/tests/inputs/input-lag

    Worth noting that the best TVs come in at 10.7ms, and the best monitors come in at 3.7ms. For retro gamers concerned about lag, solutions like either original consoles hooked up via an OSSC or RetroTink-2X, or an FPGA console like the Analogue commercial consoles or the homebrew MiSTer to a ~4ms lag monitor now put input lag issues as a much smaller concern, which is great.

    And finally, if you want to measure the lag of your own devices, a new product called the Time Sleuth is available for purchase:
    https://shop.dansprojects.com/time-sleuth-lag-tester.html

    The device can not only test lag at 720p/1080p HD type resolutions, but also 480i and true 240p type modes to see what your panel's scaler will do with older resolutions. It can store 5 resolutions to choose from via a dial switch, and can be programmed with different resolutions should the 4 default modes not suit your needs (potentially useful to PAL gamers who want to add 288p/576i modes).

    RetroRGB review: https://www.retrorgb.com/time-sleuth-lag-tester-review.html

    Here's a random video of someone using it on different displays (in his case, demonstrating a HD CRT with native 1080i input, and comparing lag when sending it 480p and 720p modes):
     
  10. power

    power Member

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    fixed the rgb port on my 1084S the other week, forgot how good it looks.

    excuse the crappy phone camera...

    image-20190412_214239.jpg
     
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  11. OP
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    elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    There's *got* to be a way to get a better picture out of a phone camera from a CRT. I need to make a little cardboard blackout device and start mucking around with exposure levels.
     
  12. power

    power Member

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    it's a OnePlus 3T not the best camera around, camera is pretty much last thing on my list when i buy one.
     
  13. OP
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    elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Yeah I'm the same with my ancient Galaxy S6. But the Open Camera App lets you much around with exposure and ISO levels. I used it to do my macro photography and it came out... not total crap (I wish it didn't bloom so much without the exposure dropping too low and losing sync with the screen).

    But I remember in ye olden days of magazine journalism in the 8 and 16 bit days, photographers would have their little cardboard funnel/pyramid things that they'd stick over a screen and take a photo that way.
     
  14. badmofo

    badmofo Member

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    I've had a play with a scanline generator I picked up recently and am very impressed - the image from my Retrotink 2X -> HDMI to VGA converter -> VGA CRT is excellent but a little bright and oddly uniform; adding scanlines really finished it off nicely. I wasn't ever 100% happy with the image produced by my C64 on this setup but it's just as you'd expect it to look on a CRT now, and the PS1 jaggies are a lot less pronounced.

    This is the one I bought - I'm sure there are better ones out there but as a proof of concept it's a winner so far.

    https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/VGA-Scanline-Generator-With-Extension-Cable-For-Retro-Games-Arcade-Gaming/253978187926?ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&_trksid=p2060353.m2749.l2649
     
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  15. badmofo

    badmofo Member

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    Here's my setup if anyone's interested - it's getting pretty bulky but no probs with the right desk. I'm using an old school computer desk with a slide-out keyboard shelf so it's all hidden away.

    I should give up taking pics of my CRTs because they don't represent the real thing but you can get a sense of the scanlines at least.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  16. nimmers

    nimmers Member

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  17. power

    power Member

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    these photos probably came out better, maybe i should drag my dslr out - but kids if you don't have RGB, try and get it it can't be beaten.

    image-20190412_213337.jpg

    image-20190412_214427.jpg
     
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  18. bYrd

    bYrd Member

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    It might be the youtubers that drive the hype, but when people go looking for such items (consoles, CRTs) they are thinly spread due to the advent of e-waste "recycling". E-waste processes have really ramped up over the past five years; things I could literally find within days if I wanted it are now quickly destroyed or unavailable.
     
  19. OP
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    elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    I've heard a lot of these places also refuse to sell stock for whatever reasons (policy, law, quotas, whatever). That's a shame, because it would be a goldmine for anyone looking for a decent CRT.
     
  20. power

    power Member

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    i know he's not your favourite youtuber, but i wish we had places like this in Australia.

     

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