WiiU and retro-gaming (help!) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 07-10-2014, 09:44 PM - Thread Starter
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WiiU and retro-gaming (help!)

Hello, everyone! Recently, I became serious about retro-gaming and obtaining the best possible visual output from my classic consoles. I bought a HD CRT television, a Sony Trinitron KD-34XBR970, in the hope that it would be a great retro-gaming display. Unfortunately, I bought it before I learned that HD CRTs have similar issues as HD LCDs in the scaling of the 240p signal of consoles like the NES. A HD CRT has less issues in this respect than a HD LCD, of course, but issues still. I am looking into external scalers and other devices such as the SLG3000 that add scanlines.

I have made other mistakes, which brings me to the topic of this thread.

Before I became serious about retro-gaming, I spent hundreds of dollars on the Wii VC and then transferred that content to the Wii U. Wii, from what I am told, outputted 240p when it ran games from the Virtual Console, but the Wii U does not. The lowest it can output is 480i. I am not sure what the implications of this are, if any, but I am wondering if any retro-gamers here can give me some advice on a setup that will make the best out of my situation.

In short, how can I make the best out of the Wii VC games on my Wii U? What setup will allow me to play these games as if I was playing on them on their console of origin with RGB output to a good CRT television? What advice do you have for me?

Last edited by Windfish; 07-10-2014 at 09:56 PM. Reason: typing errors
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post #2 of 15 Old 07-11-2014, 07:20 AM
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I wouldn't bother with scalars and whatnot. If you really want an authentic experience, then nothing beats the original hardware on a TV that those consoles were meant to be played on. Thus, I'd buy an SD CRT for the old consoles and have the Wii U hooked up to a modern LCD. As to the Wii U VC, even if you could get the visuals to your liking, you're still not going to be using the original controllers, which is a bigger issue for me.

Right now, I only have room for an LCD in my gaming room so I usually stick to the VC for my retro gaming fix although my LCD can handle the old consoles as well as I can expect any LCD to (my newer LCDs don't). However, if I had more room, I'd have 2 setups next to each other. An SD CRT with all my old consoles hooked up to it and an HD LCD for my modern consoles. For old games, I'd of course prefer the original hardware but there's no way I'm going to spend $100+ on an Earthbound cartridge, for example. For those situations, I'd just live with the Virtual Console.
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post #3 of 15 Old 07-11-2014, 08:34 AM
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You wanna buy a XRGB Framemiester - it's got tons of inputs, does an amazing job of adding scanlines and scales the input near-perfectly. It'll cost you a pretty penny, but just sell the stuff that didn't work on Craigslist and fund a Framemeister


a lengthy review:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqW03NvDXmY#t=1064

(head to about 33 minutes to see the Wii and a quick view of MK Wii)


Most cheap scalers (see: Wii2HDMI) won't reproduce what a good CRT will do, but at the same time CRT's also have a limited 2-3 inputs, take up tons of room, and IIRC, have some serious overscan issues with the Wii U.
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post #4 of 15 Old 07-11-2014, 12:10 PM
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Definitely go with the XRGB Mini, paired with a RGB or a component feed whenever possible, if you want an external scaler. NES RGB mods are getting pretty good these days and many classic consoles can natively output it without modification.

It's only ever so slightly beat in a few small areas like not being able to handle VGA from the Dreamcast which its predecessor supported and is generally considered the best general purpose upscaler for classic gaming today (And if you own a laserdisc collection, it comes in handy there as well among other uses).

As for your NES downloads, the Wii U can still output them at 240p via Wii mode (I can't attest what happens if you've upgraded them to a full Wii U version). Simply revert your Wii U to 480i and just like with the actual Wii when set to 480i, they will now output at their original 240p instead of upscaled 480p (Or 480p upscaled again to your selected HD resolution in the case of the Wii U running in HD).

Another option, this time for your original cartridges on a HDTV, is the Retron 5. It has had some quality concerns and some growing pains, but they've quickly been addressing issues. And if you eventually acquire a XRGB Mini to use the original hardware with your HDTV with a nice picture, it still has usefulness like its multi region capability, save states, etc.

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post #5 of 15 Old 07-11-2014, 02:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you for the responses. I will be carefully considering your advice tonight!

foobarbazqux (re: #2),

I am in agreement with you. Playing the games as they were intended is the ideal, but I do not want the hundreds of dollars I spent on Wii Virtual Console games to be a total loss. I must make the best of it.

voodoozen (re: #3),

The XRGB Framemiester looks fantastic. I will research it more, thanks!

Leo_Ames (re: #4),

I was not aware that the Wii U, even in Wii mode, could ouput 240p. The console's lowest resolution setting is 480p. Are you sure that the Wii U can do that? It does seem tedious to have to switch the resolution settings every time I want to play a Virtual Cosole game in Wii mode, but I may have to tolerate it.

Anyway, I will report back to this thread with any news!

Best,
Windfish
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post #6 of 15 Old 07-11-2014, 03:05 PM
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If you're going by the lowest resolution setting, the lowest the Wii U can go is 480i which is also the same with the Wii itself. But when you've set it to 480i, most of the Virtual Console emulators on the Wii output at their original resolution such as the NES with its 240p output. The Wii U's Wii mode mimics this behavior (I can't swear if the Wii U's own VC does similarly however since I haven't looked).

But if you're playing on a HDTV, I don't understand why you wouldn't want the emulator to upscale and output it at 480p (Which happens when your Wii is set to 480p) with that then upscaled by the Wii U to your selected HD resolution (Or upscaled directly to your HD resolution if it's a full Wii U Virtual Console download rather than a Wii mode Virtual Console download).

Your Wii U will most assuredly do a better job of scaling the original 240p output of the NES to HD than your HDTV's scaling chip would. So unless you're hooking your Wii U up to a nice standard definition CRT with component inputs, it seems of limited usefulness that you can get 240p out of it.

And if you did do that, be aware that pretty much everything will be letterboxed 16:9 for the Wii U itself on your 4:3 tv. Nothing I've tried outside of backwards compatibility mode when I've had mine hooked up to my Trinitron has offered full screen 4:3 support. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if even Wii U Virtual Console downloads for the NES and SuperNes were letterboxed (And thus pillarboxed as well to maintain their aspect ratio) on a 4:3 tv since the Wii U doesn't seem to be able to send out a non 16:9 picture outside of Wii mode.

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post #7 of 15 Old 07-11-2014, 03:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Windfish View Post
I am in agreement with you. Playing the games as they were intended is the ideal, but I do not want the hundreds of dollars I spent on Wii Virtual Console games to be a total loss. I must make the best of it.
I hear what you're saying but how much are you willing to spend on some device so you can play those VC games to your liking (keeping in mind that you still won't be using the original controllers)? Given that amount, I'm curious as to how many of those VC games you could instead re-buy in their original, cartridge form. Sure, some cartridges go for way too much money, and aren't worth it, but lots are relatively cheap on ebay. An SD CRT should be really cheap on craig's list. You can also make some money selling that CRT you have now...
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post #8 of 15 Old 07-11-2014, 03:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Leo_Ames (re: #6),

I am wrong, and you are right. Other sites report that the Wii U can output 480i. However, I have been experimenting for over half-an-hour to set the resolution to 480i and have had no luck. No matter which cable I use or menu I select, I cannot seem to adjust the resolution.

You are also right that it makes little sense to downscale the resolution only to upscale it later with an external device. It is clear I need to research this more. There is so much talk about 240p being the standard that I got caught up in thinking that my Wii Virtual Console games should output in 240p.

So it seems all I need to really do is somehow add scanlines. Is that correct?

Best,
Windfish

Last edited by Windfish; 07-11-2014 at 04:19 PM. Reason: typing errors
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post #9 of 15 Old 07-11-2014, 05:15 PM
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All you have to do is go into the Wii U's settings and select 480i. I've most definitely done this when connecting it to a standard definition Sony Trinitron.

I'm not hooked up via HDMI (Rather, I'm using component cables to connect to my HDTV), but using HDMI is the only thing I can think of for why you're not being provided the option of selecting 480i. But since you said you've tried other cables as well, that can't be it.

I think you must not be looking at the right spot if you're not being provided with the option of 480i. Wii U supports 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, and 1080p and is the only current gen console that still has SD support.

Check your manual for instructions and make sure you have your gamepad out as well since you might need that screen to do it rather than just your tv.

Last edited by Leo_Ames; 07-11-2014 at 05:40 PM.
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post #10 of 15 Old 07-11-2014, 10:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Leo_Ames (re: #9 ),



There is a separate setting for the kind of output the Wii U will produce: HDMI or non-HDMI. This setting was set to HDMI on my console, explaining why I had such a difficult time finding the option for 480i! I do not know how I missed this.

In any case, I made the change, but it did not yield a 240p video signal from any of my Wii VC games on Wii U. I will continue to look into this.

Anyway, Leo, I thought more about what you said, about how it does not make sense to downscale a signal only to upscale it later. Many retro-gamers prefer to use the Virtual Console's 240p-feature over the 480i upscaling, but why?

Best,
Windfish
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post #11 of 15 Old 07-12-2014, 02:46 AM
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What makes you say that it's not 240p? That the Wii Virtual Console will output NES games at their original 240p when the Wii is set to 480i is well documented as is that Wii mode on the Wii U acts just like the Wii does. So it should be running in 240p and mine was doing just that under these circumstances just a few firmware updates ago.

If it's your tv telling you that, does it ever identify a signal from a classic console that's classed as standard definition as anything but 480i? Everything sub 480i might just be recognized as standard definition by your tv and labeled as 480i by default rather than providing more specific detail for resolutions that officially were never supported and just worked due to the flexibility of 65 year old CRT technology.

As for downscaling, be aware that none of this involves downscaling. We're either talking about the console itself doing the upscaling of the game's native 240p output or the HDTV handling the upscaling, nothing is being downgraded. The most that may be happening beyond straight upscaling is interlacing being applied, although my Wii U sure didn't behave like yours did a few firmware updates ago where as it sounds like you're saying that your Wii U is upscaling the 240p signal of NES downloads to 480p and then is applying interlacing when running with the system set to 480i.

As for why gamer's appreciated the 240p output of the Wii with some emulators like the NES Virtual Console program, that's only when playing it on a standard definition CRT and doesn't apply when playing on a HDTV. That's because 240p converted for 480i introduces graphical problems like shimmering since it just isn't adaptable very well to 480i, a problem many noticed on the PS2 in particular with classic compilations like Sonic Mega Collection Plus (Where as GCN counterparts often supported 240p like the Wii and Xbox versions usually had a 480p mode or even HD in the case of one collection).

That disadvantage doesn't apply on a HDTV where you want to set your Wii to 480p (Or your Wii U to whatever your HD resolution is which upscales Wii mode's 480p output to match). 240p is adaptable nicely to 480p and doing so won't harm the quality of the graphics.

Last edited by Leo_Ames; 07-12-2014 at 03:03 AM.
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post #12 of 15 Old 07-12-2014, 03:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Leo_Ames (re: #11 ),

You can switch between display modes in the original Wii VC by setting the resolution of the console to 480i and entering either of these two button codes in the Operations Manual of a compatible VC game:

1) A + 1 + Z for 240p
2) A + 2 + Z for 480i

A sound will chime if the switch was successful. This sound never chimes in Wii U's Wii Mode. From what I can tell, Wii Mode will always output at whatever resolution and aspect ratio you've selected from the Wii U system menu. I've tested on HDMI (720p, 480p) and composite (480i). Neither of the above button codes seem to have any effect. This is confirmed by the experience of others as well.

Now, as your latter comments, notice: the NeoGAF poster ran 240p Wii VC games via component to the FrameMeister to a HDTV, not a SD CRT. I am wondering why he and others prefer to do this when, presumably, the Virtual Console upscales the Wii VC just as good or better than an external device. I will continue to look into this.

Best,
Windfish
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post #13 of 15 Old 07-12-2014, 03:13 PM
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Are you playing on a North American Wii U? It's odd since I've never heard anything about button codes since buying a Wii in 2007 yet my Trinitron showed the resolution as 240p when playing things like NES downloads.

Why would my Wii default to that when set to 480i if it's not the standard setting? And my Wii U did similarly a firmware update or two ago when I checked after doing a system transfer when I was taking it for a spin briefly on my CRT before moving it back to my HDTV.

And the only reason I can think of for why that NeoGAF poster is doing that is input lag. 240p goes nicely into 480p, but perhaps his thinking is that he'd rather have it be upscaled directly into HD rather than have the Wii emulator upscale it to 480p which then has to be upscaled again by the XRGB to the selected HD resolution.

Either way will yield a good picture, but I suspect there would be a small improvement in input lag with just one level of upscaling instead of two (A very small improvement since I believe 240p goes evenly into 480p and shouldn't be detrimental), which can be important for some games like Punchout that don't take much to throw your timing off.

Last edited by Leo_Ames; 07-12-2014 at 03:21 PM.
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post #14 of 15 Old 07-12-2014, 06:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Leo_Ames (re: #13 ),

Yes, I am using a North American Wii U. This is an overview of 240p support on Wii and WiiU (not supported), and this is an explanation on how to enable 240p on Wii VC. I would take a closer look at your setup and see what is really going on - I have no clue.

Best,
Windfish
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post #15 of 15 Old 07-12-2014, 09:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Incidentally, I just noticed that the picture is zoomed-in slightly while playing Wii games on Wii U. Objects that are clearly visible on a LCD display are now off the edge of the screen on my HD CRT. I may make a new thread about this - any help?

EDIT: I think what I am experiencing is overscan. Hmm.
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