Connecting Seven Retro Game Consoles to a New HDTV - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 12-26-2012, 01:27 PM - Thread Starter
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I don't think I've gotten a new TV since around 2007 or something, so it wasn't until I started shopping for one again recently that I discovered that most of them don't have composite inputs anymore, and usually only have one component/hybrid input. I own a component/hybrid selector that let's me connect four devices in one. The problem is that I don't need to connect four old devices -- I need to connect seven.

More specifically, I'm trying to get to where I can rug up an NES, SNES, Genesis, N64, Dreamcast, PS2, and a Wii. That's all in addition to a standard definition DirecTV receiver an an Xbox 360 (which is fine through HDMI of course). After all this you'd probably ask why I don't just hunt down an old CRT. Frankly, I don't have room for them anymore. I basically need one TV that can accommodate both my modern and old consoles.

I've heard of external processors like the XRGB, but those are so expensive I won't be able to afford one for a long time.
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post #2 of 10 Old 12-31-2012, 05:39 AM
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I think your most cost-effective solution would be to daisy-chain (2) 4-port switchers. I also have an old (Audio Authority) 4-port component switcher that automatically detects signal and switches to that input. I also have an old 4-port GameStop branded composite switcher. In my case, I would connect (3) systems to the Audio Authority, with the 4th port being a jumper to the 4-port composite switcher, connecting the remaining 4 systems to that. Not the most elegant, but it should work. You should be able to find an inexpensive 4-port composite switcher. Hope this helps.

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post #3 of 10 Old 12-31-2012, 12:14 PM
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I agree as well, and you can get the switches very cheaply on Amazon. One recommendation I would make is to split up the consoles to two different switches, one that supports composite and the other that supports component (PS2, Dreamcast, etc). The reason is that they can look quite bad on an HDTV without the component. Also check into known issues with at least the NES and some HDTVs.

Long term, I would look into investing in an AVR that you could feed your switches into and then let it upconvert to 1080P. It won't make them new but it will simplify the entire setup to two inputs on the AVR for switches and then a single HDMI to the TV. Good luck in maintaining the old school consoles.
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post #4 of 10 Old 02-06-2013, 08:13 AM - Thread Starter
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New problem: This TV won't allow me to connect composite and component simultaneously. Just one or the other. As it stands now, I have to go behind it and switch them out if I want to switch from something component to something composite. Now I just have the PS2 and Wii hooked up through component while the NES is hooked up through RF.

So, right now I'm trying to see if there is some kind of way to connect composite cables into a switcher that goes through HDMI or something. Long-term I'll probably invest in an XBR. They're supposed to more properly upscale, making the composite consoles look more natural and taking care of input lag.
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post #5 of 10 Old 02-06-2013, 10:13 PM
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A hybrid composite/component connection? By that I'm assuming that your new tv shares the RCA stereo audio inputs with both the component and composite connections? That's still easily gotten around by daisy chaining a cheap unpowered 4 port composite/S-Video/component switchboxe like you can buy at a wide variety of places to your first box.

Or by combining composite and component, is one of the Red/Green/Blue inputs also serving as composite in on your tv? If so you can still get around this with switchboxes if you want without having to change cables and without adding a 3rd switchbox.
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post #6 of 10 Old 02-08-2013, 01:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Leo_Ames View Post

A hybrid composite/component connection? By that I'm assuming that your new tv shares the RCA stereo audio inputs with both the component and composite connections? That's still easily gotten around by daisy chaining a cheap unpowered 4 port composite/S-Video/component switchboxe like you can buy at a wide variety of places to your first box.

Or by combining composite and component, is one of the Red/Green/Blue inputs also serving as composite in on your tv? If so you can still get around this with switchboxes if you want without having to change cables and without adding a 3rd switchbox.

Yeah it's set up as a hybrid on the back. I tried using one switchbox but whenever I switched over to a composite device I'd have to actually go behind the TV and switch out the component video cables. I'm not sure how to get around this. I already own two switchboxes though, one composite and one component.
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post #7 of 10 Old 02-08-2013, 02:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Okay, I think I can get around this if I can find a composite to component converter? Any good suggestions?
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post #8 of 10 Old 02-08-2013, 08:42 PM
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To get around this without a converter, simply don't plug the yellow composite video cable from your console into the yellow composite video jack on your switchboxes. Instead, plug it into the red, green, or blue component input of the switchbox that is being used for the composite input on your tv. Daisy chain switchboxes as necessary to get enough inputs. They don't care about what color the jack on the back is. Another option is to dedicate a second switchbox to composite console's and route the yellow composite output from it to the corresponding component connection on your first switchbox.

For another example of a way to be clever to get more out of a switchbox, I have a four port switchbox with four S-Video connected consoles plugged in with the appropriate outputs connected to the corresponding connections on the rear of my Trinitron. And then with the three rear inputs on the rear that also include component connections, I have three composite connected console's plugged in using the red/green/blue inputs with the outputs routed to a composite connection on the rear of the tv. Works just fine and you just have to remember which color corresponds to correct color as you're plugging everything in. So instead of four console's on this four way switchbox, I instead have 7 and eliminated having to connect another switchbox.

Even my VHS/DVD recorder that supports composite, S-Video, and component (But strangely, just coaxial out and no coaxial in) isn't able to take a source from composite or S-Video and output it via component. Has to be entering as component or has to be a DVD being played back. So a route like that isn't a option to easily convert different sources to component sadly.

That was my first thought for you until I went and gave it a try just now. I used to do something similar 15 years ago with a VHS player when I didn't have a tv with a composite input to get around having to buy RF switches for console's like the Nintendo 64 that came with composite cables out of the box. But no go here so I doubt you could achieve this with something you possibly already even own.

And I suspect you won't get terribly pleasing results with a cheap device designed to convert a composite signal to component, but I don't know for sure. I'm not even sure I've ever seen such a device although I'm sure they exist. Maybe one of the tech gurus here like Darklordjames can't chime in with some information about such things.

Of course a quality external scaler would do it for you. But besides the expense, they come with their own fair share of issues. Not something that I think is quite there yet for the classic gamer in terms having a good balance of quality, flexibility, and affordability. They're still very much niche devices and can do an excellent job at times in some circumstances but fail miserably with a different console.
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post #9 of 10 Old 02-16-2013, 05:32 AM
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This has since came up at another forum I visit and the user reported that if three cable's are plugged into the hybrid composite/component inputs, even if just a composite signal is being sent through the one used for composite, the HDTV still think's it's supposed to be recieving component video until the two unused connections are disconnected.

So if that's the case here, my advice is 100% useless and my apologies for wasting your time with that long reply. Hopefully your set detects what's actually being sent to it to determine if it's composite or component instead of going by the presence of how many cable's are plugged in. If it does it that way then hopefully there's something up there that can be of use to you.
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post #10 of 10 Old 03-23-2013, 08:55 PM
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I'm in no way associated with this product, but there's a clone system on its way this year that could be a partial solution for playing classic games from several popular consoles/handhelds on the marketplace on a HDTV with decent quality. Because of this thread and another recent one, I thought I'd update both with this information.

It's the Retron5 from Hyperkin (Was called the Retron4 at first). It's an emulated based platform with HDMI output, support for the Genesis/NES/SNES/GB/GBC/GBA (And possibly Sega Master System and SG1000 support if the Z80 sound chip of the Genesis is emulated correctly). It will include a rechargable BlueTooth controller, controller ports for the Genesis/NES/SNES for original controllers, button remapping and the ability to use any controller for any system, and several other interesting features.

No mention of the ability to play rom images like some clones have had such as several AtGames Genesis clones, but it does have a USB slot. So hopefully it supports playing roms off a thumb drive (Which before anyone screams piracy, be aware that there is a homebrew scene with plenty of legitimate projects that could be taken advantage of with this feature) although it's possibly only there to recharge the wireless controller and to facilitate firmware updates that they've said they will have.

Here are threads at two classic gaming forums I visit where discussion on this product is underway with more information, thoughts, and where you can find updates in the upcoming months as discussion continues leading up to the release and afterwards.

http://www.digitpress.com/forum/showthread.php?166619-RetroN-4-is-officially-a-thing-apparently

http://www.atariage.com/forums/topic/209669-retron-4-console-for-snesnesgenny-etc/
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