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 Post subject: Looking for advice on a monitor for use with RetroTink
PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2020 2:34 pm 



Joined: 21 Aug 2016
Posts: 629
I've been doing a lot of research into monitors but am having a lot of trouble finding something that fits my needs. I'm starting to think that there aren't many monitors made these days that limit themselves to what I want, what with all the high resolution and high refresh rate stuff kids want these days... With that in mind, it could be that I won't find anything new that fits my needs, but I don't know where to begin when looking at used stuff, so that's why I'm here. Anyway, hoping someone can suggest me a monitor to use with the RetroTink 2X SCART. Some information on what I already have, have looked into, and what I'm looking for:

-I realize most folks on this forum are more into the OSSC and will tell me that it's a better fit for my needs. I used to own one and I don't necessarily disagree, but ultimately I sold it because it was just way more upscaler than I needed and I found it to be more hassle than it was worth (yes, even in the generic 4:3 mode). The RetroTink is very barebones and I like that about it. However, when the OSSC Pro comes out, I might upgrade to that if it fixes some of my gripes (which I think it does). For that reason, I'd like to limit this to discussion around the RetroTink and not about how I should just get an OSSC.

-One of the reasons I sold the OSSC is because I wanted to go back to using a CRT. There are many nice things about using a CRT, but the geometry and convergence issues just continue to annoy me every time I turn it on. This is even with a nice Trinitron. I've done my best to fix it up, but I guess I messed up one of the corners and now the thought of opening it back up to move that convergence strip is just so annoying to me. I also have a 20" PVM which is generally in great shape, but it's a little smaller than I'd like and the idea of maintenance is still just offputting for me. So, despite all the positives of using a CRT, I'm trying to see if I can find a monitor of similar size to the 27" Trinitron.

-I don't need the most razor-sharp pixels (or I would have stuck with the OSSC), but I'd still like good scaling over bad, obviously. Given than 1080p is pretty much the lowest resolution that I will even be able to find, the monitor will need to scale the picture at least a bit. Would 1440p be a better choice since it's an integer scale for 480p? Or will it not make much (visible) difference given the nature of the RetroTink's 480p output?

-I'd like a fast pixel response time and low input lag, but I also don't want to sacrifice color quality too much. So I guess I'm looking at an IPS or a VA panel. Would be wonderful if they made OLED monitors, but that doesn't seem to be a thing at this time.

-In terms of size, I think a 30-32" screen would give me something similar (in terms of the actual 4:3 space used) to the 27" CRT I'm currently using.

-3.5" audio output would be nice to have since I don't really want to use the monitor's built-in speakers.

-Finally, if there are monitors that handle resolution switches quicker than others, that's appealing to me. I understand that it will never be instantaneous, but I also understand that some displays handle it better than others, so that's a factor I'm considering. I know the OSSC Pro is meant to address this when it comes out and that's one of the reasons I might pick one up (the other being the improved deinterlacing), but that's a discussion for another day.

Any advice you can provide is greatly appreciated. Truthfully, I'd love it if this all existed in a 27", 4:3, 480p monitor, but somehow I don't think that's a thing, so I'm trying to work within the realm of possibility here.


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 Post subject: Re: Looking for advice on a monitor for use with RetroTink
PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2020 4:06 pm 



Joined: 19 Mar 2017
Posts: 323
Unfortunately there are no currently available 1440p monitors that support intger scaling so 480p to 1440p is going to be done using a bilinear filter.

If I were you I’d seek out either a 480p 32-37inch plasma or a 26-32 inch 1360x768 LCD.


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 Post subject: Re: Looking for advice on a monitor for use with RetroTink
PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2020 4:33 pm 


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Joined: 06 Mar 2006
Posts: 12350
Location: Germany
Quote:
26-32 inch 1360x768 LCD.

if the OP's intention is to use scanlines with the Retrotink, then it's better to go for 1080p panel. Those WXGA ones usually had a really hard time upscaling scanlined 480p images.

I don't really see any real questions here. Pick up any 32" monitor you can find. If you like choose actively between IPS (faster pixel response, but worse blacks) and VA. You can't do much wrong.

If you want to minimize the 4:3 to 16:9 fill rate, you can try to pick up a used 30" LCD instead. These had a 16:10 ratio instead, so your bars on the sides will be smaller. But then again, you're losing a bit of size and it's probably still more expensive than a new 16:9 one, since those 2560x1600 beasts were expensive in the first place.


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 Post subject: Re: Looking for advice on a monitor for use with RetroTink
PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2020 5:10 pm 



Joined: 21 Aug 2016
Posts: 629
I suppose I should clarify that the desire for 4:3 was for space reasons, not because of the black bars. It's kind of a superficial thing, but the TV stand I'm using has a lamp on either side of the TV and I'd like to be able to keep them there as the room is both my retro gaming room and a guest room for when people need to stay over. But as long as the monitor is less than 36" wide, that shouldn't be a problem. Black bars don't really bother me, though.

I'm not planning on using scanlines, I've never really liked the effect. But it sounds like it won't make much difference between 1080p and 1440p regardless, so I might as well stick with 1080p if I can find it? I'll keep looking, then. Seems like there aren't many companies making 1080p panels anymore, at least not "gaming" ones, but I suppose non-gaming ones could still have fast pixel response times.


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 Post subject: Re: Looking for advice on a monitor for use with RetroTink
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2020 12:20 am 



Joined: 21 Aug 2016
Posts: 629
Now that I've got the thing and had a chance to experiment, another thing I'm looking for is a monitor that handles the 4:3 properly. I plugged it in to my ViewSonic monitor on my PC and I noticed that it doesn't really have options for resizing 480p signals. They don't fill the screen, but they are still noticably too stretched. This got me to thinking about going for a 32" TV instead, but from what I can tell from some brief research, these are almost universally terrible because the manufacturers don't put any effort into making them good. The scaling on my monitor is also not great, though some of that could just be the fact that it's stretched. I don't expect it to be razor sharp like with the OSSC, but a little sharper would be nice. I'll be viewing it from 5-7 feet away, so it doesn't have to be perfect or anything.


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 Post subject: Re: Looking for advice on a monitor for use with RetroTink
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:36 am 



Joined: 19 Mar 2017
Posts: 323
Start buying and selling second hand TVs from different generations until you find one that has the feature set you want. If I was just beginning this process I’d start by working my way up from 32 inch 480p plasma TV.


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 Post subject: Re: Looking for advice on a monitor for use with RetroTink
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2020 4:48 am 


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Joined: 31 Mar 2019
Posts: 80
You could take a chance on a 32 inch TCL. I've had a great retro gaming experience on my larger model TCLs (Both 4k). It accepts most resolutions I've thrown at them and haven't been fussy about aspect ratios (I had a VIZIO that rudely locked them, saying it has selected the best one, while stretching 4:3 content to 16:9. The 32 inch model TCL is 720p, though. On the pluss side, it's not as far to upscale 480p, which may reduce the softness (Even though it's not an integer). I've heard people have had good results on 720p TVs, especially plasma. Not to mention it's the native resolution for most PS3/360 games, if that matters to you, or your guests. It is a $169 roku TV, which are nice for guest rooms. Input lag is less than a frame, so pretty great for a TV.


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 Post subject: Re: Looking for advice on a monitor for use with RetroTink
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:08 am 



Joined: 21 Aug 2016
Posts: 629
strayan wrote:
Start buying and selling second hand TVs from different generations until you find one that has the feature set you want. If I was just beginning this process I’d start by working my way up from 32 inch 480p plasma TV.


My concern with a plasma TV is that, being older, it will have more than a frame of input lag, it might not even support 60 Hz, and that it wouldn't have HDMI, kinda defeating the purpose of using the RetroTink in the first place. That plus burn in.

RIP-Felix wrote:
You could take a chance on a 32 inch TCL. I've had a great retro gaming experience on my larger model TCLs (Both 4k). It accepts most resolutions I've thrown at them and haven't been fussy about aspect ratios (I had a VIZIO that rudely locked them, saying it has selected the best one, while stretching 4:3 content to 16:9. The 32 inch model TCL is 720p, though. On the pluss side, it's not as far to upscale 480p, which may reduce the softness (Even though it's not an integer). I've heard people have had good results on 720p TVs, especially plasma. Not to mention it's the native resolution for most PS3/360 games, if that matters to you, or your guests. It is a $169 roku TV, which are nice for guest rooms. Input lag is less than a frame, so pretty great for a TV.


I used to have a 55" TCL. They don't have the best pixel response times and it had some pretty bad dirty screen effect, but it would make a decent general purpose TV for a guest room and the low lag is nice. Plus they are cheap. I'll have to look a little more at them.

With some looking on eBay, I came across this guy: https://www.acer.com/ac/en/US/content/m ... .JE1AA.A06. It fits my size needs, seems to have under a frame of input lag and decent response times. I don't know if it has a 3.5mm audio out, but anyone have any thoughts on it?


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 Post subject: Re: Looking for advice on a monitor for use with RetroTink
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:38 pm 



Joined: 19 Mar 2017
Posts: 323
thebigcheese wrote:
My concern with a plasma TV is that, being older, it will have more than a frame of input lag, it might not even support 60 Hz, and that it wouldn't have HDMI, kinda defeating the purpose of using the RetroTink in the first place. That plus burn in.


N64 on a 2004 480p plasma with half a frame of lag. 40000hrs plus use, no burn in. HDMI to vga adapter: https://imgur.com/a/GKaqeqA

Look good to you?


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 Post subject: Re: Looking for advice on a monitor for use with RetroTink
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 1:51 am 



Joined: 21 Aug 2016
Posts: 629
Huh, didn't know plasmas performed that well. The trick will be finding one... What model is yours?


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 Post subject: Re: Looking for advice on a monitor for use with RetroTink
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 2:12 am 



Joined: 19 Mar 2017
Posts: 323
https://www.hitachi.com.au/documents/pr ... manual.pdf

It’s 42 inch but you can get 37 and 32 inch plasmas too. Almost all of them have a VGA, DVI or HDMI input.

I really want a 32 inch one but I keep missing out when they come up for sale on facebook marketplace and ebay.


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 Post subject: Re: Looking for advice on a monitor for use with RetroTink
PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2020 8:50 pm 



Joined: 21 Aug 2016
Posts: 629
Just following up in case someone comes across this later. I wasn't able to find any plasmas in my area, at least not in a size that would work or with the features I was looking for. Woot has a monitor sale, so I picked up a 32" HP Pavilion Gaming HDR monitor, model 3BZ12AA. It's a 1440p VA monitor. I wasn't able to find any definitive info on things like input lag before buying, so I took a bit of a gamble. Now that I have it, I can confirm that it's right around 2 frames. It great for a monitor, but not bad for a TV. In any case, I find it not to be an issue in actual use. I like to use a couple stages from Mega Man X and Mega Man 2 as my bar because once the lag gets bad, I die frequently on some of those jumps. No issues here. It does a decent job of scaling 480p, though as you might imagine it's not an integer scale and is a little blurry. It has an option to sharpen it, but that adds artifacts that I don't want. Fortunately, the distance I'm sitting from the monitor pretty much hides the blurriness. It'll probably be a pretty nice pairing for the OSSC Pro when that releases, so I'll keep an eye on that, too.


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