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Ziggy587
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N64 - How do I get better quality on an HDTV?

by Ziggy587 Sun Jul 14, 2019 11:22 am

These posts were originally posted in the Random Gaming Thoughts thread, but I thought they would make for a good stand alone topic.

RCBH928 wrote:Still looking for a reasonably priced tool to make N64 playable on modern HDTVs. I was going to buy a new console called Polymega, it even emulates Sega Saturn! but not the 64...


Ziggy587 wrote:Hyperkin announced an N64 clone...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fWQ6JCNrH4


RCBH928 wrote:It still has the problem of the emulators that might not run games correctly, but for the right price, the HDMI output is worth it.
I am not too big on 1:1 emulation, I do give the blind eye for little difference to benefit from the convenience but if gameplay starts to jitter and moves in slow motion with screen tearing then it kills the joy of the game.

I will buy one I guess.


Ziggy587 wrote:For performance, the best option would be to use a real N64. But to make it look better on an HDTV you will either need a Framemeister or OSSC, or get the UltraHDMI mod installed, either of which would run you a few hundred dollars. There are cheaper options, but these are really the only ones worth considering. And for the Framemeister or OSSC, you would really want the console to be RGB modified.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCorybNncmA


RCBH928 wrote:This is my problem, I don't want to the the price of a PS4 for a device that will make my N64 work on an HDTV. Its just too much. If the Hyperkin emulator is within the $100-150 range I am going with it so long as the emulator is reasonable. Hopefully a list with games that do not work properly is will be released to see if they are on my to play list.


Ziggy587 wrote:So if you pay someone to install an RGB or UltraHDMI mod for you, all of that cost will be JUST for your N64. But if you bought an OSSC or Framemeister, you can use ANY retro console with them. So the cost will be spread out across all of your consoles and not just for one. And while you would really want RGB output for your N64 if you're using an XRGB or OSSC, S-Video is definitely passable.


bmoc wrote:Yeah, a Retrotink and S-video would be a good mid range solution. Again, the Retrotink could be used for multiple consoles like you said.


Ziggy587 wrote:Good point, I was forgetting that one.

https://www.retrorgb.com/retrotink2x.html


Xeogred wrote:There was some new HDMI converter I saw for the N64 recently, but I lost it now... and no it wasn't these ~$20 upscalers. It seemed like a more legit pricey but good option. I just ordered this s-video cable for my CRT for now though. Surprised I didn't have own already, unless I lost one haha. I haven't had the N64 out in like 15 years probably...

On that note I've been thinking about getting an N64 Everdrive. I finally messed with some N64 emulation myself this past week or two and yeah, wasn't very happy with the results at all and after some research, it just sounds like that's how N64 emulation still is thesedays. Not accurate or good enough.

I'm also excited to check out these new Retro-Bit Hori styled controllers. There's original and USB models:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07Q78YN2T/ref=emc_b_5_i


RCBH928 wrote:I have the NTSC 64, so is this my best solution? Shall I buy an S-video or component cable and connect it to this upscaler?
What am I losing for not going the framiester route which costs like 2.5x this device?

Also, is it a smart idea to connect component Wii to this device, or better go directly into the TV? It says it does not accept 480p signal.


ElkinFencer10 wrote:I've got my N64 outputting through S-video, and it looks fine to me. Maybe someday I'll up to an RGB mod and use HD Retrovision YPbPr cables, but S-video works just fine IMO.


bmoc wrote:N64 won't do component so s-video is the best you can do without modding.

The Framemeister is an upscaler which is a bit different than the Retrotink or OSSC which are line multipliers. HDTVs have built in upscalers but they generally suck for upscaling video games especially 240p resolutions. The Framemeister is a great device but adds about 1.5 frames of lag. The Retrotink and OSSC are lag free.

To answer your question about what you would be missing, the short answer is probably not much especially when the input is s-video. I don't think the added cost of a Framemeister would be worth it for an unmodded N64.

I would not connect a Wii to the Retrotink. You could tell the Wii to output 480i which the Retrotink could deinterlace but that will probably look worse than the Wii's native 480p. I'd just plug the Wii straight into the tv.


HDTVs usually handle 480p pretty good anyway, I would just plug the Wii straight into the TV. Be sure to use component cables and enable 480p in the menu.

I once took a bunch of comparison stills of an N64 with S-Video versus RGB (transcoded to component) when letting my HDTV to the scaling. The results were extremely close. I forgot about the Retrotink. I would definitely give that a shot.

One thing I can say though is that scanlines really help the N64 on an HDTV. Early 240p 3D is such a mess, and the N64 is pretty blurry. I've found that adding scanlines really helps to hide the blurryness and jaggies when it's blown up to HD.
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Re: N64 - How do I get better quality on an HDTV?

by alienjesus Sun Jul 14, 2019 3:12 pm

If you want the best quality, then I'd personally recommend the UltraHDMI mod - the 'deblur' option it has really is a game changer in terms of making N64 look better, and it's something that can't be matched by an OSSC or Framemeister. However, if you go with the later options, I agree that fake scanlines might help, if you're into that.
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Re: N64 - How do I get better quality on an HDTV?

by Ziggy587 Sun Jul 14, 2019 3:39 pm

@ RCBH928: Here's some required watching, if you haven't already seen them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpy1M6v2_MI - This is an N64 specific video that goes over various RGB mods, the Framemeister, and the UltraHDMI with comparisons all throughout (including S-Video VS RGB).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDiHgKil8AQ - This video shows how to remove the AA using a GameShark (or Everdrive with GS codes).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdUlcIR1yh4 - This is MLIG's video on the RetroTINK 2X.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHoOKLWIMKU - MLIG's "Framemeister alternatives" video, which include the OSSC among a few others.
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Re: N64 - How do I get better quality on an HDTV?

by RCBH928 Mon Jul 15, 2019 9:30 am

UltraHDMI will cost around $300 which is ridiculous especially when you think if your N64 fails you have to pay another $300 for another mod.

The OSSC option will not accept S-Video but scart, but AFAIK scart is RGB and N64 is not RGB capable.

So I am left with S-Video and retroTInk 2X , but they say that N64 S-Video cables are very rare to get. I heard there were some quality Monster cables but they are long gone. Going S-Video+RetroTink will cost around $120 which is much more reasonable especially that I can use it with other consoles.
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Re: N64 - How do I get better quality on an HDTV?

by bmoc Mon Jul 15, 2019 9:58 am

Early model N64s can be easily RGB modded. Newer model can also be RGB modded but are harder and more expensive to do so. https://www.retrorgb.com/n64.html Then you just need a RGB SCART cable that works on a SNES as it shares the same connector with the N64. I'm using a RGB modded N64 with my OSSC and it works great.

And here is a good s-video cable that RetroRGB recommends: https://www.ebay.com/itm/The-best-S-vid ... SwEppUPd4d
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Re: N64 - How do I get better quality on an HDTV?

by Ziggy587 Mon Jul 15, 2019 12:20 pm

@ RCBH928: Do you have a friend that could help you install a mod? They become a LOT cheaper if you don't have to pay someone to install it for you. The UltraHDMI is still about $150 for the mod kit itself (without installation) but that's about half the price of what you'd pay for an installation.

UltraHDMI mod kit: https://www.game-tech.us/product/ultrahdmi/

Tim Worthington's N64 RGB kit (works on any revision): https://etim.net.au/n64rgb/

DIY version of above: https://github.com/borti4938/n64rgb/tre ... eralRGBmod, https://oshpark.com/shared_projects/zPCxky4e

"Simple" RGB mod (only certain revisions): https://oshpark.com/shared_projects/zdh7KoPH -OR- https://oshpark.com/shared_projects/BTvi9bfX, many more versions exist.

Not sure how much the DIY version would cost, but the RGB kit from Tim's online store is pretty cheap (about $34 USD). The "simple" RGB mods can cost as little as a few dollars. Some of the really simple versions can be made without a PCB or perf board, the shipping would be more expensive than the parts themselves. But even if you get a PCB made like one of the above examples, it should still cost less than $10 in parts. The RetroRGB link that bmoc posted has a lot of info.
Last edited by Ziggy587 on Mon Jul 15, 2019 12:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: N64 - How do I get better quality on an HDTV?

by marurun Mon Jul 15, 2019 12:26 pm

You know, I fail to see how this would be better than an emulator box from Hyperkin at this point. The N64 is a relatively modern console, hardware-wise. It has a unified architecture that's pretty simple and easy to understand (and emulate). Sometimes cheaper is really better, all things evaluated.
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Re: N64 - How do I get better quality on an HDTV?

by RCBH928 Tue Jul 16, 2019 12:07 pm

bmoc wrote:Early model N64s can be easily RGB modded. Newer model can also be RGB modded but are harder and more expensive to do so. https://www.retrorgb.com/n64.html Then you just need a RGB SCART cable that works on a SNES as it shares the same connector with the N64. I'm using a RGB modded N64 with my OSSC and it works great.

And here is a good s-video cable that RetroRGB recommends: https://www.ebay.com/itm/The-best-S-vid ... SwEppUPd4d


I am a little bit confused, if I RGB my 64 , this means it can output in component right? or do I have it wrong?
Plus, is the quality difference that much better than s-video+robotink combination? S-video solution is $120, RGB+OSSC is closer to $250

Ziggy587 wrote:@ RCBH928: Do you have a friend that could help you install a mod? They become a LOT cheaper if you don't have to pay someone to install it for you. The UltraHDMI is still about $150 for the mod kit itself (without installation) but that's about half the price of what you'd pay for an installation.

UltraHDMI mod kit: https://www.game-tech.us/product/ultrahdmi/

Tim Worthington's N64 RGB kit (works on any revision): https://etim.net.au/n64rgb/

DIY version of above: https://github.com/borti4938/n64rgb/tre ... eralRGBmod, https://oshpark.com/shared_projects/zPCxky4e

"Simple" RGB mod (only certain revisions): https://oshpark.com/shared_projects/zdh7KoPH -OR- https://oshpark.com/shared_projects/BTvi9bfX, many more versions exist.

Not sure how much the DIY version would cost, but the RGB kit from Tim's online store is pretty cheap (about $34 USD). The "simple" RGB mods can cost as little as a few dollars. Some of the really simple versions can be made without a PCB or perf board, the shipping would be more expensive than the parts themselves. But even if you get a PCB made like one of the above examples, it should still cost less than $10 in parts. The RetroRGB link that bmoc posted has a lot of info.


Great thanks for the extensive info, for $150 the UltraHDMI is worth it, if I find someone locally who can do it maybe I will.

marurun wrote:You know, I fail to see how this would be better than an emulator box from Hyperkin at this point. The N64 is a relatively modern console, hardware-wise. It has a unified architecture that's pretty simple and easy to understand (and emulate). Sometimes cheaper is really better, all things evaluated.


From what I read and saw is that the 64 emulation is still lacking and has issues, its not as smooth as SNES. If this wasn't the case I would opt for the Hyperkin for sure
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Re: N64 - How do I get better quality on an HDTV?

by bmoc Tue Jul 16, 2019 1:41 pm

RCBH928 wrote:
bmoc wrote:Early model N64s can be easily RGB modded. Newer model can also be RGB modded but are harder and more expensive to do so. https://www.retrorgb.com/n64.html Then you just need a RGB SCART cable that works on a SNES as it shares the same connector with the N64. I'm using a RGB modded N64 with my OSSC and it works great.

And here is a good s-video cable that RetroRGB recommends: https://www.ebay.com/itm/The-best-S-vid ... SwEppUPd4d


I am a little bit confused, if I RGB my 64 , this means it can output in component right? or do I have it wrong?
Plus, is the quality difference that much better than s-video+robotink combination? S-video solution is $120, RGB+OSSC is closer to $250

You could do component with an RGB modded N64 and HD Retrovision component SNES cables. You just want to be sure that your TV will accept 240p signals over component. Some HDTVs won't.

The jump in quality from composite to s-video is in my opinion the most noticable in the analog video signal world. The jump in quality from s-video to RGB is also noticeable, it is just not as noticeable. One thing to consider when deciding between the Retrotink and the OSSC is that the OSSC can add scanlines and the Retrotink cannot. As Ziggy said, earlier scanlines can help hide the imperfections of early 3D games. But if cost is your biggest deciding factor, I think the Retrotink and s-video cables will do a fine job.
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Re: N64 - How do I get better quality on an HDTV?

by Nemoide Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:43 am

I don't think anyone's talked about the upcoming EON Super 64 yet. It's a plug & play HDMI adapter that also scales the image up to 480p. At $150 it's a pretty reasonable solution compared to modding the console, though I suspect that mods would be capable of slightly higher video quality.
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