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 Post subject: Connecting a PC to a CRT TV via composite
PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 5:05 am 



Joined: 21 May 2017
Posts: 25
This is a repost of my question on reddit. The verdict seems to be NO-CAN-DO but I thought maybe somebody here could also chime in with second opinion.


I finally have some spare time/hardware to attempt to build a PC-CRT TV setup.

I've been reading these 2 guides...

http://wavebeam.blogspot.com/2016/02/th ... plays.html

https://www.aussiearcade.com/showthread ... de-Monitor

..and think I pretty much get what to do to make it work; in short - build a PC with compatible GPU - install emudriver & tools/configure stuff - connect via appropriate VGA-SCART cable/adapter.

The problem is, while it seems pretty straighforward for RGB TVs/PVMs I'm also interested in possibility of connecting it via composite (perhaps S-video too, but that's an extra) to NTSC consumer sets.

Reason being, I can use SCART-capable TVs when I'm in Europe, but I also live in Asia and here composite NTSC is the only option (for various reasons). Hence my question: is there any way to go from the DVI/VGA on the gfx card to my composite in the TV without employing expensive transcoders or somesuch? Eg, if I get the RGB SCART cable for connecting to my Euro sets, can I just use some SCART > composite adapter/extra cable for the Asian ones?

Of course I'm looking for a 1:1/no artifacts/no lag/etc solution. Any help most appreciated.


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 Post subject: Re: Connecting a PC to a CRT TV via composite
PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 5:46 am 



Joined: 19 Jul 2017
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I'm assuming you want to display on an SD-only CRT, yes?

Some older GPUs (Ones I actually have, I'm thinking as far back as the AGP era--Radeon 9200, X850--and as new as X1950, HD 4870 X2) had breakouts for composite/s-video and component, and would output 480i over S-Video and composite. I never really used those outputs, so I don't have much more information than that.

Just keep in mind that if you want composite and S-Video from the GPU natively, you probably shouldn't go too far back, or else you're going to be stuck with ancient drivers and software. For example, AMD only supplies 32/64bit drivers for XP and Vista for the X1950 Pro, whereas, for the HD 4870 X2, they supply drivers for 32/64bit versions of XP, Vista, 7, and 8. (Of course nothing for W10).

You could try researching something newer, but I'm pretty sure the HD 4000 series cards were the last ones with non-VGA analogue output.


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 Post subject: Re: Connecting a PC to a CRT TV via composite
PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 5:52 am 



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No, is the short answer. If you want native 240p resolutions through SVideo or composite, you need a transcoder like a JROK.

If you only want composite, you can find Namco arcade rgb to NTSC converters for very little money.

If you are ok with 480i (which you shouldn't be) there are all manner of low cost scan converters on eBay.


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 Post subject: Re: Connecting a PC to a CRT TV via composite
PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 6:05 am 


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The Time Harvest Supergun on AliExpress accepts SCART and outputs composite or svideo.

Your video card will have to output a 15kHz signal the television can display.

Not dirt cheap, but it comes in a case with a proper power supply.
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 Post subject: Re: Connecting a PC to a CRT TV via composite
PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 6:25 am 


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Gbs-8100. Composite gives less delay then s-video. It's not perfect pixels or artifact free but is very playable and is affordable.

Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk


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 Post subject: Re: Connecting a PC to a CRT TV via composite
PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 7:09 am 



Joined: 21 May 2017
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Thanks for the replies. To clarify, yes, I'm strictly after 240/288p. I already have RPi connected via composite (plus have Pi2SCARt for when I'm in Europe) It mostly works great but I want to move to a PC for more power/options. I already have the PC and Radeon HD 6450 which is compatible with crtemudriver.

I would be happy with only composite for now. When I eventually settle somewhere for longer I can source a component capable TV.

NoAffinity wrote:
Gbs-8100. Composite gives less delay then s-video. It's not perfect pixels or artifact free but is very playable and is affordable.

The GBS, Supergun, JROK's encoder and other such boards are apparently meant for arcade games only? One of the reddit posters who seems fairly knowledgeable (u/jamvanderloeff) says I would need to mod it to be usable with my VGA card ("add a sync combiner and possibly amplifier for the R/G/B") - and I haven't got a clue about soldering/electronics.


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 Post subject: Re: Connecting a PC to a CRT TV via composite
PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 1:03 pm 


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HDMI-to-composite converters are cheap and plenty. The chinese ones seem to work just fine, I've seen them in countless videos (LGR uses them for a start)

Assuming the DVI port on your card does digital as well(it should), get a cable that has DVI on one end and HDMI on the other, and plug that into one of those cheap converters. done


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 Post subject: Re: Connecting a PC to a CRT TV via composite
PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 10:23 pm 



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dreadnought wrote:
Thanks for the replies. To clarify, yes, I'm strictly after 240/288p. I already have RPi connected via composite (plus have Pi2SCARt for when I'm in Europe) It mostly works great but I want to move to a PC for more power/options. I already have the PC and Radeon HD 6450 which is compatible with crtemudriver.

I would be happy with only composite for now. When I eventually settle somewhere for longer I can source a component capable TV.

NoAffinity wrote:
Gbs-8100. Composite gives less delay then s-video. It's not perfect pixels or artifact free but is very playable and is affordable.

The GBS, Supergun, JROK's encoder and other such boards are apparently meant for arcade games only? One of the reddit posters who seems fairly knowledgeable (u/jamvanderloeff) says I would need to mod it to be usable with my VGA card ("add a sync combiner and possibly amplifier for the R/G/B") - and I haven't got a clue about soldering/electronics.



The JROK works just fine with a PC. It just converts RGB to NTSC and component video.


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 Post subject: Re: Connecting a PC to a CRT TV via composite
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 2:14 am 



Joined: 21 May 2017
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FinalBaton wrote:
HDMI-to-composite converters are cheap and plenty. The chinese ones seem to work just fine

And what, no extra lag or artifatcs, all in 240/288p? I could give it a go just to "see what happens" if they're really cheap but it just just sounds too good to be true...

Classicgamer wrote:
The JROK works just fine with a PC. It just converts RGB to NTSC and component video.


Component? I'm after composite. Are you 100% sure it would work? The JROK RGB to NTSC encoder I linked to says in the description that: "This board ONLY works with standard resolution arcade boardsets ( 15kHz horizontal line frequency ) it is NOT designed for medium resolution games or for VGA cards".


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 Post subject: Re: Connecting a PC to a CRT TV via composite
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 4:23 am 


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The jroks are capable of component, or component, composite and s-video, just get the right j-rok. And in one of the guides you linked it talks specifically about getting 1:1 composite video if you need to, and the fact the J-rok works with arcade boards but also PC video at 15kHz :D (VGA is technically a VESA standard signal format of 31kHz 640x480@60Hz, not a plug or connector type. No one is going to lambast you for using it that way, but that's the difference here). I think you'll need to deliver composite sync via something like crt_emudriver, but that's the option i'd recommend for 15kHz output anyway.

The scan converters for HDMI-to-composite will only do 480i output, same with an older GPU's TV-out port, and 480i is far from ideal. But these options are plug-and-play, where the jrok requires you to break out the input signal and maybe do the very simplest of soldering. Not sure there, mb crimping will do.

I'll have to take note of the valuable contributions here and update the guide with a few more options though ;P


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 Post subject: Re: Connecting a PC to a CRT TV via composite
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 5:19 am 



Joined: 19 Jul 2017
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dreadnought wrote:
I'm strictly after 240/288p...I already have the PC and Radeon HD 6450 which is compatible with crtemudriver.
...
When I eventually settle somewhere for longer I can source a component capable TV.
...
Component? I'm after composite.

Your options are going to be limited, because most people are looking to improve video quality by going RGB or YPbPr, not ruin it with S-Video or composite video.

The only setup I can think of that might work is to configure your GPU for 240p output via YPbPr and then use something like a Kramer FC-4040 or FC-4043 to encode to composite. Stay away from the FC-4046; it treats 240p as 480i; only the older models are 240p-capable.

Since you intend to source a YPbPr-capable CRT in the [near?] future, I strongly recommend saving your money by buying a cheap HDMI to composite converter as previously recommended and dealing with 480i for the time being. Anything that will get you 240p over composite from your PC is simply going to be a very expensive bandage to a temporary problem.


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 Post subject: Re: Connecting a PC to a CRT TV via composite
PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2019 5:57 am 



Joined: 21 May 2017
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buttersoft wrote:
The jroks are capable of component, or component, composite and s-video, just get the right j-rok. And in one of the guides you linked it talks specifically about getting 1:1 composite video if you need to, and the fact the J-rok works with arcade boards but also PC video at 15kHz :D


Ah, Mr buttersoft himself :) Thanks for that excellent guide. Which, admittedly I did not read in its entiriety (I'm not that technically minded and my brain just shuts down at some point) so I didn't get to the composite bit.

In any case, let's say I will buy one of these encoders (converters?) This one is from TimeHarvest, looks the same like JROK, costs 1/3rd and has pretty good reviews.

What then? I mean, after setting up my Radeon HD with crtemudriver. Then I'd need to get from VGA on my PC to these RGB pins on the encoder, I assume by building a cable myself? And what of "adding a sync combiner and possibly amplifier for the R/G/B"....where does that come in? (if it does?)


nmalinoski wrote:
Your options are going to be limited, because most people are looking to improve video quality by going RGB or YPbPr, not ruin it with S-Video or composite video.


I'd rather not start a "compo$hite" argument here - suffice to say I don't subscribe to this line of thought because composite, while certainly inferior is by no means as atrocious as people like to paint it, and also its many artifacts were often put to good use in countless videogames.

I like that FC unit you linked to, looks solid, but is not very portable and that is a dealbreaker for me at the moment. Plus, the other solutions (240p ones) mentioned in this thread already are not that expensive (sub ~50$) so I may give it a go.


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 Post subject: Re: Connecting a PC to a CRT TV via composite
PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2019 8:15 am 


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PM sent. It's possible, the gist is that a any RGB to NTSC encoder will work when using a Radeon and the CRT_emudriver at 15khz, the 5V from the VGA port is enough to power the encoder as well. Good luck.


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 Post subject: Re: Connecting a PC to a CRT TV via composite
PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2019 5:01 pm 



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dreadnought wrote:
nmalinoski wrote:
Your options are going to be limited, because most people are looking to improve video quality by going RGB or YPbPr, not ruin it with S-Video or composite video.


I'd rather not start a "compo$hite" argument here - suffice to say I don't subscribe to this line of thought because composite, while certainly inferior is by no means as atrocious as people like to paint it, and also its many artifacts were often put to good use in countless videogames.

I like that FC unit you linked to, looks solid, but is not very portable and that is a dealbreaker for me at the moment. Plus, the other solutions (240p ones) mentioned in this thread already are not that expensive (sub ~50$) so I may give it a go.

I wasn't trying to start a quality argument either; I'm just pointing out that there won't be much equipment that does what you want because there's little to no demand for it.

You also didn't mention portability as a requirement until now. :P


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 Post subject: Re: Connecting a PC to a CRT TV via composite
PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2019 5:46 pm 


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muckyfingers wrote:
PM sent. It's possible, the gist is that a any RGB to NTSC encoder will work when using a Radeon and the CRT_emudriver at 15khz, the 5V from the VGA port is enough to power the encoder as well. Good luck.


I have two consumer sets that I had intended to modify for RGB inputs, but it turns out the jungle inverts the signals and does other strange silliness, so s-video is the next best thing. I don't feel like shooting RGB right to the guns, so. (One is a Sharp, the other a Sanyo, but both are technically using Sanyo tubes.)

I'll give that Timeharvest RGB board a try and report back.


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 Post subject: Re: Connecting a PC to a CRT TV via composite
PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2019 6:35 pm 



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You could also go for a VGA to Component transcoder and just use component. Personally I'm not a fan of rgb on consumer tubes because there is no noticeable gain in sharpness over component but you lose control over the picture and I find it tends to look dull to me, but this is just my opinion.


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 Post subject: Re: Connecting a PC to a CRT TV via composite
PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2019 7:12 pm 



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Taiyaki wrote:
You could also go for a VGA to Component transcoder and just use component. Personally I'm not a fan of rgb on consumer tubes because there is no noticeable gain in sharpness over component but you lose control over the picture and I find it tends to look dull to me, but this is just my opinion.

I think you missed the bit where the display he's using does not have component as an option, and that he'll be seeking a component-capable CRT later on.


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 Post subject: Re: Connecting a PC to a CRT TV via composite
PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2019 10:21 pm 


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dreadnought wrote:
Thanks for the replies. To clarify, yes, I'm strictly after 240/288p. I already have RPi connected via composite (plus have Pi2SCARt for when I'm in Europe) It mostly works great but I want to move to a PC for more power/options. I already have the PC and Radeon HD 6450 which is compatible with crtemudriver.

I would be happy with only composite for now. When I eventually settle somewhere for longer I can source a component capable TV.

NoAffinity wrote:
Gbs-8100. Composite gives less delay then s-video. It's not perfect pixels or artifact free but is very playable and is affordable.

The GBS, Supergun, JROK's encoder and other such boards are apparently meant for arcade games only? One of the reddit posters who seems fairly knowledgeable (u/jamvanderloeff) says I would need to mod it to be usable with my VGA card ("add a sync combiner and possibly amplifier for the R/G/B") - and I haven't got a clue about soldering/electronics.

The GBS-8100 is meant for PC -> CRT. You might be thinking of the GBS-8200, which is RGBS/VGA/Component input to VGA output.

But, yes the GBS-8100 works with PC VGA output. RGBS output looks great, arcade perfect and no noticeable delay (at least in my limited testing of PC -> a Nintendo Donkey Kong cabinet). S-video looks pretty good, but with a bit of extra delay comared to composite. Composite looks okay, and with less delay than s-video.

Again, for the price point, it's not a bad option.


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 Post subject: Re: Connecting a PC to a CRT TV via composite
PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 2:04 am 



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nmalinoski wrote:
I wasn't trying to start a quality argument either; I'm just pointing out that there won't be much equipment that does what you want because there's little to no demand for it.


Fair enough, I'm painfully aware that I operate in a niche within a niche. Nevermind the hardware, trying to find correct settings for this setup is also a struggle. But then, that's part of the fun I guess. Like I said, I move a lot (and will continue for another year or two) so portability is crucial, that's why I've used Pi up till now. Got a bigger suitcase now so may squeeze in some PC mainboard+ a card or two as well, but not bulky encoders.

NoAffinity wrote:
The GBS-8100 is meant for PC -> CRT. You might be thinking of the GBS-8200, which is RGBS/VGA/Component input to VGA output.


Okay, but I hear it's outputting only 480i....so probably not good for my 240p target?


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 Post subject: Re: Connecting a PC to a CRT TV via composite
PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2019 9:36 am 


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dreadnought wrote:
In any case, let's say I will buy one of these encoders (converters?) This one is from TimeHarvest, looks the same like JROK, costs 1/3rd and has pretty good reviews.


IDK :(

What you're trying to do is convert the video signal type, but not convert the format. So RGBS becomes Composite or S-Video, but your 320x288@50.26Hz (let's say) video game stays just that. A cheap converter will take whatever you feed into it, 480p, 1080p, HDMI, whatever, and turn that into 480i.

The jrok will work. Whether the item you posted will i cannot say. IT looks pretty good, i'll admit. And if the seller speaks enough english, you might be able to find out the above critical information.

dreadnought wrote:
What then? I mean, after setting up my Radeon HD with crtemudriver. Then I'd need to get from VGA on my PC to these RGB pins on the encoder, I assume by building a cable myself? And what of "adding a sync combiner and possibly amplifier for the R/G/B"....where does that come in? (if it does?)


You setup crt_emudriver on your 6450, making sure to read the second post in the download thread on calamity's site about composite sync. You may need composite sync for that timeharvest device, it doesn't say. Then yes, you have to break out a VGA cable into R, G, B, H-sync (which is the line composite sync will be on, if required) and possibly V-sync. And a ground connection. The timeharvest encoder seems to come with a plug or two. You might be able to use screw terminals to connect the VGA wires, but soldering about be neater. First thing is to get a table image up on the TV. Once you have a stable image, you start dialing in those colour pots on the timeharvest to exact values, and worrying about things like picture size.

A J-rok would not need a video amplifier, it has enough range to get a PC signal to good brightness. The timeharvest encoder, again, i'm not sure sure about. Maybe you could ask about that too. Or one of the guys recommending it in here might be able to comment further...

IMO the timeharvest encoder is probably going to work fine, assuming you can connect the wires up ok. But i have no experience with it, so i'm reluctant to make claims about it. If you do go that route, I'd be keen to hear how you get on.


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 Post subject: Re: Connecting a PC to a CRT TV via composite
PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2019 4:55 am 



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buttersoft wrote:
dreadnought wrote:
IMO the timeharvest encoder is probably going to work fine, assuming you can connect the wires up ok. But i have no experience with it, so i'm reluctant to make claims about it. If you do go that route, I'd be keen to hear how you get on.


Thanks for your tips. It actually seems I might be going back to Europe for a while - the land of RGB SCART simplicity :) - so I put this side on hold for a while, but will most likely revisit soon.

Yes, Timeharvest or its ilk (there are few similar looking/priced ones) would be a gamble so maybe I should stick with JROK. Pricey, but if it's confirmed working and has more support then probably worth it. It'd be a one stop solution for all types of NTS TVs then (there's one with component too)

Anyway, thanks again, I will report back/ask more inane questions when I've made a move eventually.


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 Post subject: Re: Connecting a PC to a CRT TV via composite
PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2019 12:32 pm 


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dreadnought wrote:
Yes, Timeharvest or its ilk (there are few similar looking/priced ones) would be a gamble so maybe I should stick with JROK. Pricey, but if it's confirmed working and has more support then probably worth it. It'd be a one stop solution for all types of NTS TVs then (there's one with component too)

Anyway, thanks again, I will report back/ask more inane questions when I've made a move eventually.


I finally got around to ordering that Timeharvest kit a few days ago and have a computer setup for groovymame waiting for it. I'm rather optimistic as the board appears to have two sets of input, one for standard RGB with composite sync and then another with individual h-sync and v-sync, likely intended for straight input from VGA. If you're willing to wait, I will certainly let you know my findings.


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 Post subject: Re: Connecting a PC to a CRT TV via composite
PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2019 4:04 am 



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Bratwurst wrote:
dreadnought wrote:
If you're willing to wait, I will certainly let you know my findings.


That would be great, thanks! It is few times cheaper than JROK. I'd have actually bought it already, but was put off by the delivery time (20-40 days) which seems silly given I'm actually so close to them (HK > Taiwan)


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 Post subject: Re: Connecting a PC to a CRT TV via composite
PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2019 10:37 pm 


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The RGB to NTSC/PAL board from TimeHarvest came in yesterday, it took me a bit of trial and error setting up Groovymame for the first time but I am super pleased to report that this thing works! It appears to be old stock from Yaton because it has arcademvs.com silkscreened on the board. I rigged up a VGA connector to interface with the 6-pin harness. Seems like it will happily take anything you push at it, so long as the monitor/tv that you're feeding the composite or s-vid signal to is capable of the frequency and resolution.

I will write more once I fiddle with the emulator settings for horizontal/vertical position and experiment with the color adjustment pots on the board.

Just a word of warning, the video cables that came with it were a little moldy so toss those in the trash and use your own.


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 Post subject: Re: Connecting a PC to a CRT TV via composite
PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2019 3:17 am 


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Confirmed that you can push native resolutions out of a video card with composite or s-video output. I had an old pci ati 7000 with composite output. Got it working in xp 32-bit. Inatalled crt emu driver and ran vmm to update available resolutions. Ran wolfmame 106, and changed per game options for sf2 hyper fighting to native res. Wolfmame 106 gui has pull down menus for selecting the monitor to output to and the resolution, which, once you've installed crt emudriver and run vmm, the native resolutions are available in the gui pull down. It worked fine on Sony trinitron.

Sounds like you already got a good working solution, but thought I'd add the findings for anyone stumbling across this thread and interested in all options. Even pci-e video cards with s-video output can be had very inexpenisvely - $20 or less.

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 Post subject: Re: Connecting a PC to a CRT TV via composite
PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2019 1:57 am 


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NoAffinity wrote:
Confirmed that you can push native resolutions out of a video card with composite or s-video output. Wolfmame 106 gui has pull down menus for selecting the monitor to output to and the resolution


(wolfmame 106 or 206?)

Wouldn't that work the same way whether the TV-out port is delivering the native mode or not? The point of those ports was to be able to scale any selected mode to a 480i output. There is meant to be at least one way to force 240p sometimes, but i would guess that was a special case of 480i. And i've never figure out how to do it because the references i have are to the GM Chile facebook group and i only speak English :)

I haven't played a TV-out port in years, and can't remember how it was targeted. It could be a second or third display, couldn't it, not just a clone? How is what wolfmame is doing different to that? And how are you testing if it's actual 240p/native modes rather than just 480i?

I want you to be right, because that would be awesome. I have an old XP laptop that can run crt_emudriver, and it has both VGA and a TV-out port, so i'll think about what i can do to help test.


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 Post subject: Re: Connecting a PC to a CRT TV via composite
PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2019 2:01 am 


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Buttersoft if you can confirm that on your end, I'm totally buying a card with an s-video port (My 2400 Pro just does VGA, DVI & HDMI) to compare it to this TimeHarvest board. I have noticed that while whites are crisp, anything blue appears just a little hazy, and I've tried adjusting levels with the pots.

For the longest time I'd figured the tv-out port was a no go because it was supposed to be separate circuitry that converted it to 480i.


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 Post subject: Re: Connecting a PC to a CRT TV via composite
PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2019 2:16 am 


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Hold on, Hold on, Hold on... you saying that the rando 2003 laptop with S-video out that I have here can output native res?

There must be some restrictions, right? like, maybe crtemudriver can't run on all machines/OS? or this can't be done on just about any integrated chipset? Really curious about this. If my old laptop can manage to output old arcade games in native res then I'd be stoked as hell


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 Post subject: Re: Connecting a PC to a CRT TV via composite
PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2019 10:32 pm 


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Whoa, slow down everyone!

I'm very doubtful about whether NoAffinity is right about native modes, though i hope he is. And apart from his report i've only heard third-hand that a/any TV-out port can even do 240p. I don't see how Wolfmame could be targeting the TV-out port in a way other applications haven't.

Certainly crt_emudriver only works with ATI/AMD GPUs, and not all of them. Older ATI GPU's will only work with the outdated 1.2 version of the driver, and only on WinXP, which can present all sorts of little niggles to overcome.

I plan to do some testing with a laptop i have because it runs XP and has a X200 ATI GPU (which is not actually on the crt_emudriver support lists, but seems to work anyway). But my next kid is due in a few weeks and i'm busy with some other projects too. To begin with, using a GPU and probably CPU this old means missing out on the benefits of things like Super Resolutions, Frame-Delay, Frame-Slicing and Run-Ahead. But it would mean you could simply use S-Video direct from a PC with native modes rather than forced 480i.

Cheers for letting us know about the timeharvest converter as well, Bratwurst :)


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 Post subject: Re: Connecting a PC to a CRT TV via composite
PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2019 12:57 am 


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What's the best way to convert VGA (say Dreamcast or Laptop) to Component 480i/240p on CRT TV? I found an old Monoprice VGA to Component (YPbPr) Converter but after I got it realized the specs only output component over 480p/720p/1080i which is too high for the CRT.


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