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Thread: Composite vs. RGB vs. S-Video vs. Component vs. HDMI vs. RF vs. VGA

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    Default Composite vs. RGB vs. S-Video vs. Component vs. HDMI vs. RF vs. VGA

    OK, now I know that on the more modern consoles S-Video and RGB looks MUCH better. But am I not the only one that agrees that, on some games, Composite actually looks better? Like the graphics blend in together a bit better and so forth? Or am I just crazy? It seems that with such massive detail, it also makes things look more pixelated as well, especially on an HD tv.

    Am I nuts? I just see these screen shot comparisons (like the Sonic title screen a few days ago and the RGB contra screenshots today), and both times I thought that the Composite looked better. Maybe it's because I am so up close to the screen or something. Maybe sitting 6 feet away on a couch will change that, not sure.

    I know that on a newer console that actually has great resolution this is not the case.
    Last edited by Oldskool; 07-01-2010 at 06:39 PM.

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    Yeah, I also think composite looks better than an RGB monitor in some cases.

    Also, I can't wait for the day that there's HDMI mods using add-on boards. "Hey, look at my HDMI modded NES! It outputs at 1080i, making a 1-UP 'shroom look like my eyeball!"

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    If the game was designed to take advantage of composite or RF 'blurriness' then they tend to look worse in S-Video or Component. Many game designers counted on colors bleeding together and jagged pixels blurring together to make the graphics look better. When you take this away and get the literal graphic without any graphical fudging it tends to look bad. This is why I think the SNES looks better in composite even though it supports S-Video.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tempest View Post
    If the game was designed to take advantage of composite or RF 'blurriness' then they tend to look worse in S-Video or Component. Many game designers counted on colors bleeding together and jagged pixels blurring together to make the graphics look better. When you take this away and get the literal graphic without any graphical fudging it tends to look bad. This is why I think the SNES looks better in composite even though it supports S-Video.

    Tempest
    Yeah I dunno. I ended up getting a S-Video cable for my SNES and I think it looks much better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tempest View Post
    If the game was designed to take advantage of composite or RF 'blurriness' then they tend to look worse in S-Video or Component. Many game designers counted on colors bleeding together and jagged pixels blurring together to make the graphics look better. When you take this away and get the literal graphic without any graphical fudging it tends to look bad. This is why I think the SNES looks better in composite even though it supports S-Video.

    Tempest
    I'd say that was more the case with the Genesis. Several games seemed to rely on color banding and other composite twitchs.





    As OP said, I also notice that some games look better with composite rather than with S-Video. SFA2 for the SNES looks better in composite in my opinion (specially Dan's face) but I still like the S-Video picture better. For the N64 I'd say that it's like 50/50, bright games (Super Mario 64 and the like) seem to fare better with S-Video. Of course, this is a matter of preference.

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    That's why I'm reluctant to move from a SD CRT, I have almost nothing to gain since I watch little TV and my newest system is a Wii (480i/p), and everything to lose. I do however, use s-video as much as possible, though 32X composite does look better for some Genny games. Straight Genny composite is ass, though.

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    I have a stockpile of brand new 19" crt tvs mothballed for the day people start crying for the beautiful glow of electrons lighting up phosphor.

    I am collecting some of the best hdtv crts for classic gaming.. It will be a cold day in hell that I play a classic console on a lcd or plasma.
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    I think the variations in preferences here are most likely due to different TV's for each individual. Some handle different inputs better than others; screen size can affect pixelization; how close you sit.

    I like the HD CRT route myself for theolder consoles. I have a good one, but they are not created equal, results vary. Mine upscales most incoming signals and does a great job with older consoles. Others have had different luck.

    Find yourself a good CRT if you still can. Spares may not be a bad idea.

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    Most people have the sharpness setting on their TV set too high. The ideal setting is usually the minimum.

    I have my PlayStation connected via composite on my 32" Wega CRT. I haven't tried it with S-Video in a while. I'll give it another try today and see what I think.

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    I think that's very true about the sharpness settings. On a newer console you want it to look very sharp. But I noticed on the older consoles somewhere near 60-70 percent is best.

    On an LCD I noticed that with composite, if you actually drop the sharpness down to 0 it greatly improves the picture.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tempest View Post
    If the game was designed to take advantage of composite or RF 'blurriness' then they tend to look worse in S-Video or Component. Many game designers counted on colors bleeding together and jagged pixels blurring together to make the graphics look better. When you take this away and get the literal graphic without any graphical fudging it tends to look bad. This is why I think the SNES looks better in composite even though it supports S-Video.

    Tempest
    Some games were designed to blur the colors/pixels together and will look better when allowed to do so. For RF though, you also have audio on the same signal as video which adds extra noise causing un-needed fuzzyness. This wasn't done to blur the colors together. This was done because most people's TV sets only had an antenna input at the time. At the very least, getting the audio and video on seperate signals will get you what the game was "originally designed for". Or what other people said. Get the best signal you can and adjust it on the TV end.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zing View Post
    Most people have the sharpness setting on their TV set too high. The ideal setting is usually the minimum.
    Yes. I have a couple of calibration DVD's for my home theater, and they all recommend turning the sharpness all the way down to the minimum, or one above the minimum if the lowest setting introduces excessive blurriness (this is rare from what I gather). The sharpness setting is a holdover from very old tv sets, and in most cases anything above the minimum actually ADDS noise around edges on the picture to "enhance" them. Any TV made within the last 15-20 years or so has a sharp enough picture that these enhancements aren't necessary and are actually detrimental to the picture.

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    I don't see any great difference between Composite and S-Video on an HDTV. Even the RF comes in clear, the only downside I've seen is that the colors are not as vibrant, but that's a result of crappy RF. I personally wouldn't bother with Component for anything below the "6th" generation and even then the main ones are PS2 and XBOX.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oldskool View Post
    OK, now I know that on the more modern consoles S-Video and RGB looks MUCH better. But am I not the only one that agrees that, on some games, Composite actually looks better? Like the graphics blend in together a bit better and so forth? Or am I just crazy? It seems that with such massive detail, it also makes things look more pixelated as well, especially on an HD tv.
    With consoles like the SMS, Genesis and TG-16/Duo, the imperfect composite signals do more than blend things with blurring. the colors are washed out and drabber than they really are before being outputted and there are other problems with the Sega output quality.

    If you really like the look of composite video for classic consoles like these, you should get an s-video mod or XMD-3 and then use an s-video-to-composite adapter (cheap and tiny) to play them in composite with full picture quality. You'll get the best of both.

    Here are some pics that show the difference-

    http://www.superpcenginegrafx.net/video666.html

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    I use RF where possible. I love RF on the Sega Genesis.

    My breakdown of some consoles and their hookups:

    Atari 2600: One of those doodads to make it hook up to RF the sane way
    Master System: RF
    NES: RF, unless I happen to be going composite into a 1084 monitor. Both look the same honestly
    SNES: RF with the audio going to a stereo
    PCE: Composite
    MSX: RGB. Anything else is terrorism.

    hell, I used RF on playstation saturn and dreamcast for like 2 years. Everyone makes fun of RF. I think it's pretty damned fine lol.

    I don't bother modifying my systems for SVIDEO and crap. Too much work for something mundane. I'm not going to remember the 5% increase in video quality after I stop playing and go do something else.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg2600 View Post
    I don't see any great difference between Composite and S-Video on an HDTV. Even the RF comes in clear, the only downside I've seen is that the colors are not as vibrant, but that's a result of crappy RF. I personally wouldn't bother with Component for anything below the "6th" generation and even then the main ones are PS2 and XBOX.
    You're wackado! Oh wait, never mind. I read 'component' as 'composite' in your post.

    To the original poster: ignorance is bliss, right? I admit, I have nostalgic yearn for composite video, from BITD too. I absolutely love the NES on composite out on an old SDTV. TG and SNES too. Except for Genesis. The composite is too crappy. I have to admit though, SNES looks beautiful in s-video on my SD set. I assume my TG/PCE will too once I get that setup. But the Genesis is in the worst need of it, by far. It's composite output makes the image look worse than NES (aesthetics). RF is ok on a few systems. But I wouldn't use it unless I had no other option (or if the SD set was pretty small. Then it wouldn't matter).
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomaitheous View Post
    You're wackado! Oh wait, never mind. I read 'component' as 'composite' in your post.

    To the original poster: ignorance is bliss, right? I admit, I have nostalgic yearn for composite video, from BITD too. I absolutely love the NES on composite out on an old SDTV. TG and SNES too. Except for Genesis. The composite is too crappy. I have to admit though, SNES looks beautiful in s-video on my SD set. I assume my TG/PCE will too once I get that setup. But the Genesis is in the worst need of it, by far. It's composite output makes the image look worse than NES (aesthetics). RF is ok on a few systems. But I wouldn't use it unless I had no other option (or if the SD set was pretty small. Then it wouldn't matter).
    Yeah I hear ya on the Genesis. MY GOD the Composite outputs BLOWS. On the SNES I am running S-video and it looks great. I have my classic consoles hooked up to a NON HD TV though, so that helps a bit I think. On my NES I am actually pretty happy with the composite A/V output (I use a splitter for the audio).

    On my Genesis I just got in the mail yesterday an RGB/SCART to Component converter/scaler - and I should be getting the Genesis RGB/SCART cable here any day now. I will be hooking this up to my 50" SDTV. It should look NICE from what I hear. It's awesome that the Genesis naturally outputs RGB though the A/V jack - no modding necessary!

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    I hooked up the PSone via s-video and tested it out. I know it is technically superior, but I seem to remember testing this last year and deciding that I preferred the look of composite.

    I ran through a level of Crash Bandicoot, and while the s-video really brought out the sharpness of the geometry and lack of mip-mapping, the increased detail is worth it.

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    A chime in regarding RF:

    RF looks *great* on older systems (Colecovision, Intv, Atari) when run on an SDTV and used through an amplified video selector. I am really surprised more people do not use one of those....I've been using it for years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zing View Post
    Most people have the sharpness setting on their TV set too high. The ideal setting is usually the minimum.

    I have my PlayStation connected via composite on my 32" Wega CRT. I haven't tried it with S-Video in a while. I'll give it another try today and see what I think.

    I ran my PS1 in component awhile back on a SD tv...Everything was much clearer as expected, but it really brought out the uglyness of many of its 3d games. Better to keep a PS 1hooked up via composite...Even S-video reveals its ugly texturing imo.

    DC/PS2 and above on the other hand look great in component, but thats what the devs had in mind when they made thier games for those systems.

    2D games though, look awesome in Component on SD, on any system. Genny takes a slight hit on the games where they used dithering such as Phantasy star, but even then it still looks ok.

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