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 Post subject: Re: DIY video digitizer & scandoubler
PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2015 7:02 pm 


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Yes :) The difference is quite noticeable.

Fudoh has a lot more information on it here:
http://scanlines.hazard-city.de/
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 Post subject: Re: DIY video digitizer & scandoubler
PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2015 9:08 pm 


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Konsolkongen wrote:
That's not what I meant at all :)

I mean converting bad ports in either 480i or 480p to 240p first, so we can get nice scanlines there as well.

I suppose 480p with scanlines can work, but most of the times these ports in 480p are softened and look quite bad. Converting to 240p sharpens the image a lot. Or at least, that's the case with the 240p hack for the Gamecube's Gameboy player. It looks pretty damn good :)


For the case of the Gameboy Player I think you'll have to stick with forcing 240p in Swiss. It might be possible for this though if marqs can chime in to comment.

Fudoh wrote:
Quote:
since it's impossible to add borders with the FPGA, right?

the FPGA can do it, but the buffer-free design doesn't allow it.


Whoops, that's what I meant, yeah. It's beyond the scope of the project, not the FPGA.


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 Post subject: Re: DIY video digitizer & scandoubler
PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2015 10:50 pm 


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Konsolkongen wrote:
That's not what I meant at all :)

I mean converting bad ports in either 480i or 480p to 240p first, so we can get nice scanlines there as well.

I suppose 480p with scanlines can work, but most of the times these ports in 480p are softened and look quite bad. Converting to 240p sharpens the image a lot. Or at least, that's the case with the 240p hack for the Gamecube's Gameboy player. It looks pretty damn good :)

480p -> 240p -> 480p would be possible by discarding every other input line and duplicating the previous line over it, which should remove the softness caused by interpolation. 240p input is not required for scanlines though - you can enable them for any mode.


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 Post subject: Re: DIY video digitizer & scandoubler
PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2015 11:07 pm 


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dwards wrote:
This is a really cool project and I am looking forward to your first release. I have a couple questions I could not find answers to.

1) Will the SCART input accept Composite Video + SYNC or will it require CSYNC? Trying to see if SYNC STRIKE is necessary.

It accepts composite video as sync since TVP7002 has an internal sync slicer/separator. Still, csync/luma is always a better option in order to avoid crosstalk issues with some consoles/cables.

dwards wrote:
2) Has the Cyclone IV FPGA also dropped the cost of the board? Any idea on estimated cost of final board?

Thank you,
Ed

The low-end Cyclone IV IC I'm currently targeting is around one tenth of the price of the high-end Cyclone IV chip in the FPGA development board. It's too early to estimate the price of final board, but the PCB + parts for the next all-in-one prototype cost around $80.


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 Post subject: Re: DIY video digitizer & scandoubler
PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2015 11:26 pm 


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marqs wrote:
480p -> 240p -> 480p would be possible by discarding every other input line and duplicating the previous line over it, which should remove the softness caused by interpolation.


That would be an amazing feature if it was implemented :)
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 Post subject: Re: DIY video digitizer & scandoubler
PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2015 12:34 am 


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Got around to trying some 480p stuff on my Sony TV and now I'm really sad the component inputs will be blocked when I wall mount it. Another reason to look forward to this so I can use a free HDMI port. Really hope the Bloodborne deadline is met haha.


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 Post subject: Re: DIY video digitizer & scandoubler
PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2015 10:12 am 



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I might have an idea how to improve compatibility. I think right now one of the issues is that you are limited to linedoubling/tripling etc. This does not always result in the correct number of lines I guess for 480p/720p/1080p.

Perhaps there is a very precise PLL so you can derive a output clock that is equal to: input_video_clock*(pixels_output_frame/pixels_input_frame). The pixels include blanking period. If you can get it spot on then the output framerate is locked to the input framerate. I know this is is possible for 480p output. The guys at FPGA Arcade have done this. You just need to buffer enough lines, since the line speed/rate will also be a bit different between input and output. Not sure if this will work for 720p/1080p.

Kevtris seems to be able to do it for 720p/1080p without needing external RAM and I think he is outputing with standard timings otherwise some TVs will not take it, I think. I think he is generating the NES clock based on the output video clock, instead of the other way around (system clock/input video clock -> output video clock).

It might be interesting to look at this in order to improve compatibility.

I believe the XRGB mini also has some sort of vlock mechanism. Anyone that knows how they do this?


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 Post subject: Re: DIY video digitizer & scandoubler
PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2015 9:33 am 


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meneerbeer wrote:
I might have an idea how to improve compatibility. I think right now one of the issues is that you are limited to linedoubling/tripling etc. This does not always result in the correct number of lines I guess for 480p/720p/1080p.

Perhaps there is a very precise PLL so you can derive a output clock that is equal to: input_video_clock*(pixels_output_frame/pixels_input_frame). The pixels include blanking period. If you can get it spot on then the output framerate is locked to the input framerate. I know this is is possible for 480p output. The guys at FPGA Arcade have done this. You just need to buffer enough lines, since the line speed/rate will also be a bit different between input and output. Not sure if this will work for 720p/1080p.

Kevtris seems to be able to do it for 720p/1080p without needing external RAM and I think he is outputing with standard timings otherwise some TVs will not take it, I think. I think he is generating the NES clock based on the output video clock, instead of the other way around (system clock/input video clock -> output video clock).

It might be interesting to look at this in order to improve compatibility.

I believe the XRGB mini also has some sort of vlock mechanism. Anyone that knows how they do this?

It'd be possible to configure the PLL so that line count would match the standards, e.g. you could set 750/262 as the PLL multiplication/division ratio instead of 3 I'm currently using with linetriple. With a few extra line buffers, everything would be good in vertical direction. However, (pixels_output_frame/pixels_input_frame) -ratios are way too high to be valid for the PLL (at least in Cyclone IV), so horizontal sampling rate of the input would need to be defined by the output mode. Still, that is something to try in the future. I also need to check how PLL rates can be configured dynamically and if there are some limitations, as it's not possible use fixed rates in that kind of setup.

I believe the locking and output clock generation in Framemeister is handled by the Marvell scaler ASIC, which apparently requires that the whole input frame is buffered.


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 Post subject: Re: DIY video digitizer & scandoubler
PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2015 10:06 pm 


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I managed to finish the PCB design a few days ago, and had some time today to double-check everything and submit the order. As shown in the photos below, all the required chips are fitted to the board, plus some neat stuff like IR receiver (for remote control), small character LCD display and microSD connector (fw updates etc.) :mrgreen:

Top side:
Image

Bottom side:
Image

One PCB cost $20 for me, and the required components are around $75. It'll take a few weeks until manufactured PCBs drop into my mailbox, and then it'll take some time to solder all the 180 components :shock: (mostly SMD caps, though). Just hoping everything will work as intended...


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 Post subject: Re: DIY video digitizer & scandoubler
PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2015 11:06 pm 


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Gratulations on the milestone!


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 Post subject: Re: DIY video digitizer & scandoubler
PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2015 1:14 am 


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Nice!

Can't wait to see the results! :D


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 Post subject: Re: DIY video digitizer & scandoubler
PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2015 4:10 am 


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Congrats!
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 Post subject: Re: DIY video digitizer & scandoubler
PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2015 9:24 am 


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Awesome. I've got contacts here in the UK that, as long as you have the gerber files, parts list and accurate assembly instructions, can take a project like this and produce it in quantities of 10 to thousands, so I could definitely help get this to market if you're interested.
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 Post subject: Re: DIY video digitizer & scandoubler
PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2015 2:47 am 



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marqs wrote:
The low-end Cyclone IV IC I'm currently targeting is around one tenth of the price of the high-end Cyclone IV chip in the FPGA development board. It's too early to estimate the price of final board, but the PCB + parts for the next all-in-one prototype cost around $80.


marqs wrote:
One PCB cost $20 for me, and the required components are around $75. It'll take a few weeks until manufactured PCBs drop into my mailbox, and then it'll take some time to solder all the 180 components :shock: (mostly SMD caps, though). Just hoping everything will work as intended...


Out of curiosity, do you have an idea if a VGA/linedouble version would have a significantly lower BOM cost?
(Such as things like an even cheaper FPGA, no need for remote/display for options, less support components for the output, etc.)

I'd imagine alot of folks are looking for an alternative to the XRGB-2/3 or for a device to solve the XRGB Mini handshake issue when switching between 240p/480i


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 Post subject: Re: DIY video digitizer & scandoubler
PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2015 3:16 pm 


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BuckoA51 wrote:
Awesome. I've got contacts here in the UK that, as long as you have the gerber files, parts list and accurate assembly instructions, can take a project like this and produce it in quantities of 10 to thousands, so I could definitely help get this to market if you're interested.

Ok, I'll keep that in mind when the time comes to put a finalized board (possibly with case) out in the market.


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 Post subject: Re: DIY video digitizer & scandoubler
PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2015 3:57 pm 


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Asbrandt wrote:
marqs wrote:
The low-end Cyclone IV IC I'm currently targeting is around one tenth of the price of the high-end Cyclone IV chip in the FPGA development board. It's too early to estimate the price of final board, but the PCB + parts for the next all-in-one prototype cost around $80.


marqs wrote:
One PCB cost $20 for me, and the required components are around $75. It'll take a few weeks until manufactured PCBs drop into my mailbox, and then it'll take some time to solder all the 180 components :shock: (mostly SMD caps, though). Just hoping everything will work as intended...


Out of curiosity, do you have an idea if a VGA/linedouble version would have a significantly lower BOM cost?
(Such as things like an even cheaper FPGA, no need for remote/display for options, less support components for the output, etc.)

I'd imagine alot of folks are looking for an alternative to the XRGB-2/3 or for a device to solve the XRGB Mini handshake issue when switching between 240p/480i

The larger ICs (video ADC, FPGA, HDMI_TX) and LCD display account to ~50% of the current BOM costs. By removing the LCD and HDMI_TX (assuming it's possible to generate good enough VGA signal with FPGA + R2R network), and with cheaper FPGA, you could reduce the BOM costs by ~$25. When you count in the price drop of larger quantities, a 'budget' version with less than $50 manufacturing costs per board might be possible.


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 Post subject: Re: DIY video digitizer & scandoubler
PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 9:06 am 


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marqs wrote:
BuckoA51 wrote:
Awesome. I've got contacts here in the UK that, as long as you have the gerber files, parts list and accurate assembly instructions, can take a project like this and produce it in quantities of 10 to thousands, so I could definitely help get this to market if you're interested.

Ok, I'll keep that in mind when the time comes to put a finalized board (possibly with case) out in the market.


Great :mrgreen: I've been looking into HDMI though and it's not pretty, at least $5k just to put a HDMI connector on there..plus a mandatory $2 tip to the HDMI overlords for every one sold...That goes up to $10k if you sell more than a few thousand too...

Image
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 Post subject: Re: DIY video digitizer & scandoubler
PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 11:07 am 



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Congratulations! Since Crafty+Mech put his linedoubler project to the side, I'd be willing to pick one up if it does get a production release. :D Am I correct in assuming it does consoles of 240p/288p, 480i/576i and 480p/576p into HDMI, because I'm setting up my consoles again and that would suit them.


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 Post subject: Re: DIY video digitizer & scandoubler
PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 12:29 pm 



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Asbrandt wrote:
marqs wrote:
The low-end Cyclone IV IC I'm currently targeting is around one tenth of the price of the high-end Cyclone IV chip in the FPGA development board. It's too early to estimate the price of final board, but the PCB + parts for the next all-in-one prototype cost around $80.


marqs wrote:
One PCB cost $20 for me, and the required components are around $75. It'll take a few weeks until manufactured PCBs drop into my mailbox, and then it'll take some time to solder all the 180 components :shock: (mostly SMD caps, though). Just hoping everything will work as intended...


Out of curiosity, do you have an idea if a VGA/linedouble version would have a significantly lower BOM cost?
(Such as things like an even cheaper FPGA, no need for remote/display for options, less support components for the output, etc.)

I'd imagine alot of folks are looking for an alternative to the XRGB-2/3 or for a device to solve the XRGB Mini handshake issue when switching between 240p/480i

I made a board with a Cyclone IV EP4CE6 (smaller variant of what marqs is using, but still quite big imo, and you can always update to the EP4CE10). It has SDRAM and also a HDMI transmitter. One of the drawbacks of my board is that it is only 2 layers, which is not really recommended for the HDMI transmitter, but it seems to work (allthough I still have some issues, but I have only been able to play with it for one weekend, so hopefully I can fix it).

I get everything from China (chips, PCBs). You can find the FPGA and HDMI transmitter there for only 5$. I think my cost per board is only about 20$. Not sure for how much a video decoder would go from China, but I think the board can be made a lot cheaper. Obviously the quality of connectors and perhaps also the PCB is a bit less when it comes from China. Not to mention it can be hard to get connectors (HDMI for instance) with the right footprint.

Perhaps if you only buy the chips from China you will also save some money. I mostly did it because I was afraid to destroy expensive chips while soldering.


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 Post subject: Re: DIY video digitizer & scandoubler
PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 9:05 pm 


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BitFaced wrote:
Am I correct in assuming it does consoles of 240p/288p, 480i/576i and 480p/576p into HDMI, because I'm setting up my consoles again and that would suit them.

Yes, and it is also able to digitize 720p and PC signals up to at least 1280x1024@60Hz.


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 Post subject: Re: DIY video digitizer & scandoubler
PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 9:36 pm 


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meneerbeer wrote:
I made a board with a Cyclone IV EP4CE6 (smaller variant of what marqs is using, but still quite big imo, and you can always update to the EP4CE10). It has SDRAM and also a HDMI transmitter. One of the drawbacks of my board is that it is only 2 layers, which is not really recommended for the HDMI transmitter, but it seems to work (allthough I still have some issues, but I have only been able to play with it for one weekend, so hopefully I can fix it).
Interesting - which kind of board is that? I chose EP4CE15 because it has 2x embedded memory and 2 extra PLLs compared to EP4CE6 without being too much expensive. I'm awaiting 10M16 chips to be avaiable since they look like a great upgrade if the price is not too high. 10M08 would be another option if I could live with less memory allocated to Nios II RAM/caches and with 1-2 PLLs (no problem, if they can be fully reconfigured dynamically). The board shown above has 2 layers as well, and I also noticed that the trace impedance cannot be properly matched for recommended value (100ohm) for HDMI transmitter. I'm in the hope that it won't cause issues with 720p or lower output - 4 layer board would have doubled the price.

meneerbeer wrote:
I get everything from China (chips, PCBs). You can find the FPGA and HDMI transmitter there for only 5$. I think my cost per board is only about 20$. Not sure for how much a video decoder would go from China, but I think the board can be made a lot cheaper. Obviously the quality of connectors and perhaps also the PCB is a bit less when it comes from China. Not to mention it can be hard to get connectors (HDMI for instance) with the right footprint.
I actually had to order HDMI TX chips from Aliexpress (~$3 a piece) since I couldn't find them anywhere else. However, generally I'm trying to avoid risks at least in the prototyping phase, so I'm primarily buying the parts from trusted sources which have authentic/quality parts.

meneerbeer wrote:
Perhaps if you only buy the chips from China you will also save some money. I mostly did it because I was afraid to destroy expensive chips while soldering.
Yeah, you need to be quite careful with the QPF chips. Still, I'd be also afraid to lose time debugging the board if a problem was caused by a counterfeit/bad quality IC.


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 Post subject: Re: DIY video digitizer & scandoubler
PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:14 pm 


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I think an important thing to keep in mind is that the first fully-custom prototype board has come out to around $95. I don't even think that's bad, but it's certain to come down quite a bit considering design revisions, parts sourcing, removal of some debugging-friendly stuff, and a big group order from multiple communities. It's good discussion, but things will probably be very different come time it's done.


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 Post subject: Re: DIY video digitizer & scandoubler
PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2015 12:03 am 


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marqs wrote:
meneerbeer wrote:
I get everything from China (chips, PCBs). You can find the FPGA and HDMI transmitter there for only 5$. I think my cost per board is only about 20$. Not sure for how much a video decoder would go from China, but I think the board can be made a lot cheaper. Obviously the quality of connectors and perhaps also the PCB is a bit less when it comes from China. Not to mention it can be hard to get connectors (HDMI for instance) with the right footprint.
I actually had to order HDMI TX chips from Aliexpress (~$3 a piece) since I couldn't find them anywhere else. However, generally I'm trying to avoid risks at least in the prototyping phase, so I'm primarily buying the parts from trusted sources which have authentic/quality parts.

Smart man. No one should ever use questionable parts for a prototype. Even if it cost you 3x, you need to know the difference between a problem with your design/code and a problem with the parts themselves. And on top of that I usually build at least 2, so there's some alternate point of reference.
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 Post subject: Re: DIY video digitizer & scandoubler
PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2015 2:09 am 



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Is there some sort of waiting list on these? Ive been following the progress and would love to check it out when available.


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 Post subject: Re: DIY video digitizer & scandoubler
PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2015 8:05 am 



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Quote:
Interesting - which kind of board is that?

It is a custom board I designed myself. You can find it here if you are interested. It is kind of a mess. It started with a VGA board and then I wanted to upgrade it to HDMI (proposed to do this project for a course at school, so the HDMI board had to be finished quickly). It is also my first serious PCB.

I might make it four layers. Then I can make the board a lot cleaner. It should be possible to order 10 pieces for 50$ from China.

Quote:
The board shown above has 2 layers as well, and I also noticed that the trace impedance cannot be properly matched for recommended value (100ohm) for HDMI transmitter. I'm in the hope that it won't cause issues with 720p or lower output - 4 layer board would have doubled the price.

I think it will be fine. You kept your traces short. I was able to output 640x480 over a 5m HDMI cable with my board and my traces are a lot longer. One thing I did was put a ground plane around the TMDS pairs. That should make the impedance a bit lower. Unfortunately my board started acting weird at the end of the weekend. I think there is a pin not soldered correctly. I need to push on my board and then sometimes it will give an image again. Hopefully I can fix it this weekend.

Also, if you are interested, check the last post by Calpis here. It is about adding a PLL to the system to make the input and output frame rate lock onto each other. Not sure if there are external PLLs that would be able to get 9900 / 4471 like precision.

Edit: How do you solder your boards?

Also had a look at the MAX FPGAs. Seems like a very good option. No more external flash needed to hold FPGA program and I read it needs only one power supply instead of three (which is kind of annoying). 10M08 already seems kind of expensive: [url=mouser.com/ProductDetail/Altera-Corporation/10M08SAE144C8GES/?qs=sGAEpiMZZMvoScKlWpK8TPb%252brmUEzdPEXeqzFMf60es%3d]link[/url]. Although I have not checked how these chips compare in terms of LEs and internal memory to Cyclone IV. I guess it can still be worth it if you are short on board space. 5$ EP4CE6 from China is interesting as well though. :twisted:

How do you save your FPGA program? I see an SD card slot, but I thought you then still need a microcontroller for instance to read out the SD card and program the FPGA.


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 Post subject: Re: DIY video digitizer & scandoubler
PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2015 9:36 pm 


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Glossectomy wrote:
Is there some sort of waiting list on these? Ive been following the progress and would love to check it out when available.

Not yet, the project is still in prototyping phase. If all goes well, the next board to be designed could be made available for larger audience.


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 Post subject: Re: DIY video digitizer & scandoubler
PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2015 10:04 pm 


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meneerbeer wrote:
Edit: How do you solder your boards?

Also had a look at the MAX FPGAs. Seems like a very good option. No more external flash needed to hold FPGA program and I read it needs only one power supply instead of three (which is kind of annoying). 10M08 already seems kind of expensive: [url=mouser.com/ProductDetail/Altera-Corporation/10M08SAE144C8GES/?qs=sGAEpiMZZMvoScKlWpK8TPb%252brmUEzdPEXeqzFMf60es%3d]link[/url]. Although I have not checked how these chips compare in terms of LEs and internal memory to Cyclone IV. I guess it can still be worth it if you are short on board space. 5$ EP4CE6 from China is interesting as well though. :twisted:

How do you save your FPGA program? I see an SD card slot, but I thought you then still need a microcontroller for instance to read out the SD card and program the FPGA.

So far I've soldered everything by hand. Takes some time but not too hard with flux and good soldering station.

MAX10s are naturally more expesive as they are recently released, but then again, you can save ~$10 from other components (flash, regulators, oscillator etc.) by using one.

The FPGA bitstream is saved on a separate flash chip, which automatically configures the FPGA at power-on. The software running on Nios II can check if a SD card with a new firmware is connected, and then reprogram the flash chip in-system. That's still something I have to implement, but I didn't see any obstacles to that approach.


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 Post subject: Re: DIY video digitizer & scandoubler
PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2015 2:19 am 



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I joined this board for this exact reason. I have a 2014 Panasonic 50" and it does everything well except give good quality for 240i/p (composite or component). Hooked up my NES via composite and the artifacts are crazy on the TV. Tried to send the signal to my video capture card to stream on Twitch and it wouldn't recognize it.

I found this post because this write-up:
http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=630556

I have all the major classic systems, I used to work in the game industry so I was always testing. None of my systems are video modded so they currently all use composite/s-video. I plan to look at component but I don't have any soldering tools available (just moved 1200 miles - Akron to Dallas - left my workbench there).

I would be honored to test a beta board out, stream it on Twitch and post my findings on YouTube and do anything else to make this a reality. If so, I would need to know what outputs this will allow and what capture card is recommended for this board. I would assume my Diamond GC500 would be out of the question since it takes component.

Thanks!

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 Post subject: Re: DIY video digitizer & scandoubler
PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2015 8:45 pm 


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Kilokahn wrote:
I joined this board for this exact reason. I have a 2014 Panasonic 50" and it does everything well except give good quality for 240i/p (composite or component). Hooked up my NES via composite and the artifacts are crazy on the TV. Tried to send the signal to my video capture card to stream on Twitch and it wouldn't recognize it.

Unfortunately, NES via composite doesn't look very good on any HDTV or capture card.

Kilokahn wrote:
I have all the major classic systems, I used to work in the game industry so I was always testing. None of my systems are video modded so they currently all use composite/s-video. I plan to look at component but I don't have any soldering tools available (just moved 1200 miles - Akron to Dallas - left my workbench there).

I would be honored to test a beta board out, stream it on Twitch and post my findings on YouTube and do anything else to make this a reality. If so, I would need to know what outputs this will allow and what capture card is recommended for this board. I would assume my Diamond GC500 would be out of the question since it takes component.

The prototype system takes only RGB/component video as input and outputs digital RGB via HDMI. I may consider adding support for composite input in the future if it doesn't increase costs/complexity too much, but the focus is on the higher quality inputs.

I don't know too much about capture cards, but I've heard many HDMI capture cards are quite picky on the input signals. I've only had one analog capture card some 10 years ago, and it while it worked ok with different consoles, it was too laggy to be usable for gaming. I'm somewhat surprised your card doesn't sync at all with NES, even though it doesn't output exactly 525i/59.94Hz. The good thing with capture cards it that if you find one that can tolerate slightly off-spec refresh rate, it's possible to get quite good end result with just linedoubled input as you can adjust scaling options on a PC. 480p to 1080p (or whichever output) doesn't need to look bad as it is with many TVs (at least for pixel graphics).

I'm not sure if the current prototype board would fit your needs, and I've already ordered the parts for those few test units I've planned to assemble. There may be a few extra bare PCBs though, so please PM me if you're interested assembling one for yourself.


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 Post subject: Re: DIY video digitizer & scandoubler
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2015 12:15 am 



Joined: 16 Apr 2015
Posts: 9
I'll most likely go NES RGB then in this case, makes sense for this.

Yes, I agree, I would think a capture device would at least do what my TV does but I agree nonetheless.

What I could do is get a bunch of SCART converters and buy a SCART to Component converter as well for this.

I'll PM you. Thanks! :)


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