It’s 2017, and everyone is excited about 4K Gaming, except a few fellows who enjoy “Retro” Games. People like myself enjoy Games from the NES/SNES Era, when the optimal resolution was 240p.
With today’s standards, we expect modern Hardware (like the Raspberry Pi) to output video via a digital interface (HDMI) in 1080p (FullHD) minimum.
I still have an old CRT (a great Philips 32″ Matchline), which still are the best to play old games on. Now although I connect my raspberry Pi to this TV with it’s Composite Video (and outputs a Video Resolution of NTSC;), the image quality is wishy-washy.
Enter Pi2Scart, a great little add-on from arcadeforge.net, which plugs directly into the GPIO from the Raspberry Pi.
The Pi2Scart is able to output a clean RGB Video Signal (with a clean sync signal) and supports outputting a resolution of 240p, perfect for “Reto-Games”. The Sound is passed through with a small 3.5mm Minijack cable (provided with the Pi2Scart)
All it takes is a little modification of the Raspberry’s config.txt.
mount -o remount,rw /flash
Insert following lines at the end of the file:
hdmi_timings=320 1 16 30 34 240 1 2 3 22 0 0 0 60 0 6400000 1
Make your changes, then ctrl+x to save.
mount -o remount,ro /flash
After rebooting, I had a very clean image, with crisp colors and a much better contrast than with the composite Video.
I already have my usual systems (SNES, Mega Drive etc..) connected through RGB-Scart (see my RGB vs composite comparison) and I can tell the image quality of the Pi2Scart is equivalent of the quality of the original systems. (at least there is absolutely no noticeable difference)
With the Pi2Scart, it’s the first time I enjoy NES Games in RGB Quality, and it makes a huge difference in my opinion.
I’m happy with the Pi2Scart and can only recommend it to everyone who connects a Raspberry PI to a CRT.
Improvement in Picture quality cannot be better described than with some comparison pictures :
Left Picture = Composite, Right Picture = Pi2Scart (RGB) , use the Slider to adjust display.
For a GameBoy Game, the difference is very subtle
Notice the blurred lines around Mario in Super Mario Land 2 on GameBoy?
But as soon as there’s color, the difference is more noticable :
Zelda Oracle of Seasons on GBC
Mega Man 2 on the NES
Gunstar Heroes on Genesis / Mega Drive
Golden Axe Warrior on Sega Master System
With more detailed graphics, the difference becomes more and more visible:
Quackshot on on Genesis / Mega Drive
Super Mario World on SNES
Zelda Link to the Past on SNES
Super Mario Bros. 3 Close-up on Mario
Quackshot Title Screen Close-up