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The OSSC Thread

Posted: Tue Apr 04, 2017 3:20 pm
by bmoc
What is the OSSC?
It is line multiplier aimed primarily at improving the image quality of 240p and 480i sources on modern displays. Because it does not have a framebuffer, there is no perceptible lag added to your display.

How many times can it multiply a line?
The OSSC has 2X, 3X, 4X, and 5X modes. With a 240p source, that equates to:
5X=1920x1080, 1600x1200, or 1920x1200. The default is is 1920x1080 which is 1080p. Some if the image is cropped in this mode, but old games typically account for overscan in old consumer CRT TVs which is replicated by this mode.

Supported Resolutions:
240p, 288p, 480i, 576i, 384p, 480p, 576p, 960i, 1080i @ 2X
240p, 288p, 480i, 576i @ 3X
240p, 288p, 480i, 576i @ 4X
240p, 288p @ 5X

That is amazing! Is there a catch?
Yes, 3X and above is not supported by all TVs. TVs often only conform to VESA refresh timing standards. Since the OSSC is only line multiplying, it does not change the refresh rate of the source to match VESA standards. To change the refresh rate, it would require a framebuffer which means lag. 3X and above usually work well with computer monitors which typically handle a wide variety of resolutions and refresh rates. Basically if the OSSC is outputting anything line multiplied higher than 480p, TV support is going to be spotty.

What inputs does it have?
DSUB15 (VGA or 15khz RGB)
Component video
3.5mm audio jack (for use with the component AV input)
3.5mm audio jack (for use with DSUB15 AV input)

What outputs does it have?
3.5mm audio jack (shared with component 3.5mm input jack. Input/Output selectable with mini switch)

Older Hardware Revision Notes
Older versions of the OSSC used DVI output instead of HDMI. Also digital audio out was not a standard feature. Users with the older hardware have to use external speakers or purchase a digital audio upgrade board which has to be soldered into place.

Where can I learn more?

OSSC Purchasing/Preorders
OSSC Support Forum

My Life in Gaming

If you have any specific questions, let me know and I will do my best to answer them.

Re: The OSSC Thread

Posted: Tue Apr 04, 2017 9:48 pm
by bmoc
Some quick initial thoughts. The TV that I have in my retro gaming area is a older 2010ish Toshiba 40". It will only accept line doubling. I suspected that might happen so I am going to try some computer monitors tomorrow.

As luck would have it, my new 55" 4K LG TV that is upstairs in the living room works with every single mode. 3X and 5X look amazing. 4X is stretched to take up almost the entire screen so it looks a little wonky on that TV.

The builtin optional scanlines make the image fairly dark as other reviewers have mentioned. You can adjust the intensity of the scanlines but the more intense you go, the darker the image. I found the sweet spot to be 31% intensity for scanline visibility and brightness.

My N64 has an RGB amp as part of its RGB mod, but it is pretty dark even without scanlines. It looks great on a PVM so I will have to investigate what is going on here. Maybe I can fix it with a different SCART cable?

Re: The OSSC Thread

Posted: Wed Apr 05, 2017 12:59 pm
by Ziggy587
bmoc wrote:My N64 has an RGB amp as part of its RGB mod, but it is pretty dark even without scanlines. It looks great on a PVM so I will have to investigate what is going on here. Maybe I can fix it with a different SCART cable?

Nintendo's SNES SCART cables have components inside them (either resistors or capacitors, depending on the region) so most 3rd party ones do too.

The RGB mod I did to my N64 doesn't require any components in the cable. I got an NTSC SNES RGB SCART cable off eBay and took the caps out of it. Works great.

Re: The OSSC Thread

Posted: Thu Apr 06, 2017 2:45 pm
by bmoc
I'm still fiddling with displays and various settings, but here are my findings thus far.

-240p handling is godlike. Even at 2X, the image looks really really good. SNES and Saturn look especially good. PS1 games with scanlines look very good as well. Genesis, while still looking great, probably looks the worst out of the bunch which is surprising. The Genesis looked fantastic on my PVM.

-480i unfortunately is not that great. I primarily tested with my PS2 and also Chrono Cross on a PS1. The PS2 in 480i looked better via my TV's component inputs rather than with SCART through the OSSC. Chrono Cross, while not unplayable, had a bit of shimmering in the menus.

-With games like Chrono Cross that have 240p gameplay and 480i menus, switching between resolutions is just "ok" on my TV. It handles it quickly enough but there is a brief flash of distorted video before it resyncs properly.

-When I hooked up the OSSC to a computer monitor, the N64 looked a lot better right off the bat. Probably because the monitor is LED backlit and the Toshiba is florescent backlit - the monitor being naturally brighter at default settings. I got the N64 looking a lot better on my Toshiba by adjusting the brightness, backlight, and contrast settings on my TV.

-I could not tell a difference in image quality when connecting a console directly to the SCART input of the OSSC versus going through a Sync Strike and the OSSC's DSUB15 input. The SCART input on the OSSC has some low-pass filters that make it the preferred method of connection.

Current to-do list:
-I need bring my PS3 downstairs and compare it's PS1 upscaling to the OSSC.
-Try Dreamcast and Master System via SCART on the OSSC.
-Investigate companion scaling devices that might improve the 480i output. 480i passthrough is an option so another downstream device could handle the deinterlacing better.
-Try my Wii via the OSSC component inputs.

Re: The OSSC Thread

Posted: Mon Apr 10, 2017 10:02 pm
by bmoc
I ended up going out of town for the weekend so my to-do list suffered. I managed to hook up my Master System after getting a SCART extension and it looks fine as I thought it would.

I did find a readily available scaler to pair with the OSSC which I will be trying out soon. It is the ANI-HPNHN by A-NeuVideo. I never heard of them, but after a little research, I found out that they are owned by the same company as Shinybow. Some of you might know Shinybow for their SCART switches. Anyway, if this scaler does not add much lag, it could be a great option for pairing with the OSSC as it also allows you to inject analog audio into the HDMI output. I'm also hoping that it will accept the OSSC's off-spec 3X+ resolutions. I'll report back once I get my hands on it.

Re: The OSSC Thread

Posted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 2:42 pm
by bmoc
ANI-HPNHN Scaler Review ($169.95 at B&H)

I want to be up front with the fact that I do not have a lot of experience with upscalers/line multipliers. The OSSC is my first foray into the realm of retrogaming on a modern display. Since this particular scaler does not have many reviews, it is my hope that this will help get the word out about this option. Perhaps someone with more experience and better screen capture equipment will do a more thorough review.

I came across the A-NeuVideo’s ANI-HPNHN while browsing scalers on B&H. I was looking at scalers under $300 and this one appeared to be the best fit for the OSSC of the ones carried by B&H. It supports a wide variety of resolutions in both NTSC and PAL so I was hopeful it would be a strong Framemeister alternative when paired with the OSSC.

At first, I was a bit hesitant to try this scaler because I was unfamiliar with the brand. After a bit of research, I discovered that A-NeuVideo is owned by the same company as Shinybow but their products are manufactured in different plants. Upon learning that, my fears were greatly lessened that I was about to purchase a high priced lemon. I have owned a Shinybow SCART switch for a number of years and it has served me well.

Please note that all my tests were done with NTSC consoles.

What OSSC modes are compatible with the ANI-HPNHN?
240p - 2X, 3X, and 4X*.
480i - 2X (bob deinterlacing) and Passthrough.
*SNES, Genesis, and Master System did not work with 4X.

I tested 240p with SNES, N64, PS1, Master System, Genesis, and Saturn. None of them worked with any of the 5X variations. My TV does not natively accept anything beyond 2X mode. Using the ANI-HPNHN, I am now able to display 3X mode while 4X mode works with some consoles.

My TV handles 480i via component very well. I think my PS2 looks just as good if not better using my TV’s component inputs rather than deinterlacing through the OSSC. Unfortunately, my TV will not accept 480i via an HDMI port. This was my main driving factor in searching for an upscaler to use with the OSSC – to enhance what I see as the OSSC’s major weakness: 480i deinterlacing.

My testing was done with Chrono Cross on a PS1 and numerous PS2 games. The ANI-HPNHN does 480i deinterlacing very well if you set the OSSC’s 480i mode to passthrough. It creates a very crisp/clear image that is free of shimmering with the right settings. As expected, scanlines do not work with passthrough mode. Without scanlines, 480i still looks great upscaled to 480p (4:3) or 720p (widescreen). 480i scaled to 1080p is doable but it is stretched out and squashed flat unless you tinker with the ANI-HPNHN’s “Size” output setting. Essentially, if you get 480i passthrough looking good upscaled to 1080p, 240p sources are going to suffer by being the wrong aspect ratio. If you use the passthrough option, stick to 480p or 720p output.

If you set 480i to deinterlace with the OSSC, the ANI-HPNHN upscales that quite nicely all the way up to 1080p. However, there is still a bit of shimmering due to the bob deinterlacing method that the OSSC uses. Scanlines look ok but they do get thinner the higher you upscale. The other advantage in letting the OSSC handle deinterlacing is that it is easier to maintain a consistent aspect ratio between 240p and 480i sources. Overall, I think upscaling OSSC deinterlaced 480i to 1080p is only a marginal improvement at best.

How much display lag does the ANI-HPNHN add?
It does not appear to be much. Using the 240p test suite’s manual lag test, I was getting somewhere in the neighborhood of 2-3 frames of total lag (this includes my TV’s inherent lag). Doing the same test with the OSSC only, I was getting about half a frame less lag on average. Please keep in mind that these numbers are best estimates and are no replacement for doing a side-by-side lag test with a CRT.

Anecdotally, I did have some trouble making some precise jumps in Super Mario World. It turns out that when you have 25ish years of muscle memory playing a game, it is hard to adjust to new timings – go figure. The delay was not noticeable to me in other games that I tried. When I tried Layer Section and X-Men vs Street Fighter, the delay was not enough to throw me off.

Switching between resolutions is handled very well by the ANI-HPNHN. There is very little delay and it eliminates the brief video distortion I was getting when using the OSSC only. Using Chrono Cross as an example, going from 240p gameplay to the 480i menu takes about 4 seconds. Going from menu to gameplay takes about 3 seconds on my display.

Audio integration
If you are not swapping between resolutions often, the audio integration works well. However, during a resolution swap, the audio cuts out and takes slightly more time to resync than the video does. I found this annoying enough to reroute my audio directly to my external speakers again.

In the end, I found my optimal settings to be:
PS1 240p/480i games
-OSSC: 480i passthrough, 240p 4X, Scanlines On
-ANI-HPNHN: Size = Full, Output = 480p
-Notes: Yes that downscales the 960p (240p x 4) image to 480p but it looks significantly better than using 240p 2X or 3X mode.

240p games with little or no 480i
-OSSC: 240p 3X, 480i 2X, Scanlines On
-ANI-HPNHN: Size = Full, Output = 1080p

480i only games
-For consoles that support component, I just plugged the component cables in directly to the TV.
-For the odd 480i game that isn't on PS2, original Xbox, Gamecube, or Wii, I decided to go with the OSSC's bob deinterlacing so that I could use scanlines. (Tested with N64 Rogue Squadron and Sonic 2's two player mode)
-ANI-HPNHN: Size = Full, Output = 1080p

If you do not like tinkering with AV equipment, then an OSSC + ANI-HPNHN is definitely not for you. It takes a while to fine tune them along with your TV to suite your tastes.

OSSC users might want an ANI-HPNHN if you desire any of the following:
-A way to use 3X and 4X mode on an otherwise incompatible display
-Non-cropped 1080p output
-Better 480i handling (effectively limits you to 480p or 720p output with no scanlines)
-HDMI audio integration (if you don’t play many resolution swapping games)
-Converting PAL to NTSC or vice versa (In theory this should work but I could not test it)

I cannot really say if this combo is better or worse than the Framemeister as I have never used one. Given Micomsoft’s current supply issues, I do not see myself getting one anytime soon. However, the cost of an OSSC and an ANI-HPNHN is about the same as buying a Framemeister at retail price. If you already have an OSSC, the ANI-HPNHN has the benefit of being readily available.

ANI-HPNHN User Manual and Specifications (PDF)

EDIT: Made some corrections and additions.

Re: The OSSC Thread

Posted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 2:01 pm
by bmoc
A new OSSC newsletter just went out.

Highlights include:

-A new hardware revision featuring more audio options. Digital audio out will be standard. No more need for adapters or add-on boards.
-Preorders are very likely to happen for the next batch so that they can order more from the manufacturers (larger batches). The waiting list should be a thing of the past soon.

Re: The OSSC Thread

Posted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 1:28 pm
by bmoc
Initial post updated to reflect the latest firmware (0.77) and upcoming hardware revision (1.6)

Sadly, updating the firmware clears out your custom profiles. I only had one profile so it wasn't too hard to recreate. Still...I hope that changes in future firmware revisions.

Re: The OSSC Thread

Posted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 7:46 pm
by Ziggy587
Hey bmoc, I just wanted to let you know that even though I'm not posting in this read I am reading it every time you update it. Thanks for being, and please continue to be Racketboy's source of OSSC news!

Re: The OSSC Thread

Posted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:28 am
by bmoc
Ziggy587 wrote:Hey bmoc, I just wanted to let you know that even though I'm not posting in this read I am reading it every time you update it. Thanks for being, and please continue to be Racketboy's source of OSSC news!

I'm glad you are finding it useful. I was starting to think this thread was becoming my own personal echo chamber. I guess there is not much interest in discussion yet because there are so few units out there. Maybe I will find my niche as the initial reviews become more outdated.