MiST VGA Compatibility

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Re: MiST VGA Compatibility

Postby DrOG » Mon Jun 05, 2017 6:33 am

@Higgy:
Briefly: I experienced the same. But here are the details...

Yesterday I finished my sync stripper, and experimendet a bit.
I modified a standard SCART cable, so built this circuit small enough to fit into a SCART plug's housing, as it's recommended to put it as close as possible to the video signal's source.
This is a more or less universal solution, I can plug the other end into the above mentioned SCART->VGA adaptor if I want to connect it to the BenQ, and leave it out to use it with sandard SCART input devices.

I tested it with my 13-years-old Yamada DVX-6700 as signal source. It was one of the first DivX-compatible standalone DVD-players. Actually this is my only device at home which outputs RGB + composite video instead of pure csync.
I used basically the standard schematics, with minor modifications (picture attached to this post).

1. The power supply:
On some forums they recommend to feed the LM1881 IC directly from SCART pin 8, which should have work theoretically, as the standard voltages of this pin are 5-8V at 16:9, and 9.5-12V at 4:3 aspect ratio, and the IC needs 5-12V. I tried it, but didn't work: On my main TV, a Samsung LE40B650 the picture was too bright, distorted and unstable. The BenQ's screen remained black. Instead of the former mentioned manner giving 5V to the IC using a standard USB phone charger solved the problem.

2. The 75 Ohm resistor between the composite video input and ground:
Some sources recommend it: "It should include a 75 ohm (or thereabouts, the value isn't critical) resistor between the input and ground, before the coupling capacitor. This sets the optimum video level and combined with the lower line impedance and reduced noise, give the LM1881 a much better chance of seperating the sync from a video signal which is changing from bright to dark rapidly." I tested it mostly with static images, but it's absance or presence didn't do any visible difference in regard of picture quality. I left it there because I was too lazy to remove it, and I think it won't harm anybody ;-)) .

3. The value of the resistor on composite sync output (R1):
Different authors - different recommendations again. Some say it's not necessary at all, some to use a 330-470/270-510 Ohm impedance in case of SCART, and 680-820 Ohm in case of VESA monitors. I tried the circuit first without this resistor, and the picure of BenQ had a strong greenish tint. Next I tried a 750 Ohm impedance, the result was better, but still green shaded. After it used 1K value, again strong green tincture. The best result was with using 470 Ohm, that effected quite good white balance, but the red is still a bit weak (I would call it strong orange).

I tried the DVD-player with PAL settings, and had to choose the RGB colour format manually, as the monitor identified it as YPbPr.
On the Samsung TV there wasn't visible difference in aspect of picture quality using different values of R1 resistor.
After it worked acceptable with BenQ (a bit blurry picture, but it's not surprising, the source is an 576i signal), I tested the separator on the TV, and the only visible effect was that the picture got darker if using it, otherwise the image looked the same. Don't know if on older CRT's would be any major improvement or not, didn't try it so far.

@Higgy again:
"I get vertical banding, just like with my real AMIGA..."
Did you try to set the pixel clock manually? On other forums members recommend values near 90, i.e. 94, as they say this will completly eliminate vertical banding. The exact value may vary using different Amiga models, i.e. on the Amiga 500 they had to adjust the pixel clock to exactly 88 and Phase to 30 and got a crystal clear image with no vertical lines. On A1200 on the other hand they ended at pixel clock 92 and Phase around 30. this will vary a bit from model to model also: Some had to put their pixel clock to 88 and Phase clock to 30 + to get a perfect picture, even though 90 was the recommended pixel clock for Amiga use. Also seen others needed other values like 92. I think it worths to try different values.
I dont' have an Amiga (yet), so cannot test it by myself.
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Re: MiST VGA Compatibility

Postby Orion_ » Mon Jun 12, 2017 1:20 pm

I just got an ST mini (mist clone) and I'm a bit disappointed by the video output too ..
I was hoping to get a pixel perfect output but I get scaling which is ugly.
I tried the latest firmware and latest ST core on 4 different VGA monitor, on my Sony TV it says that the video signal is wrong, and on my 3 others VGA monitor I get ugly scaling, 2 are 16:9 (Viewsonic 2231wa, Viewsonic 2014w) and the last one is 5:4 (Acer V176L bm)
PAL 56 or 50 mode won't change anything to the scaling ugliness.

Would I need something like a Multisync capable lcd monitor to get accurate "pixel perfect" output ?
do you recommand any specific model ?

Or is preferable to get an RGB scart cable to get accurate video on a real TV ?
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Re: MiST VGA Compatibility

Postby Orion_ » Mon Jun 12, 2017 3:14 pm

I don't quite understand, I see that, most of cores says "PAL mode is 720x576p @50hz"
that is 5:4 resolution, then why I have bad scaling on my 5:4 monitor ?
does the Atari ST video core use this video mode too ?

the other core such as the C64 and PlusToo are working great without much scaling issue.
I guess the Amiga one also works (didn't tried to much that one)

Here is a closeup photo of each video mode I tried, this is the best result I can get, even when tweaking the monitor horizontal position/clock/focus
PAL 50hz
Image

PAL 56hz
Image

mono
Image

I got the 1280x1024 highrez mode working but only with manual monitor horizontal tweaking, which I must do each time, this is annoying
any good VGA monitor that someone can recommand for the mist that can get the MiST resolution pixel perfect ?
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Re: MiST VGA Compatibility

Postby eeun » Mon Jun 12, 2017 4:37 pm

If you really want 'pixel perfect' get a CRT VGA monitor. Bulky old energy hogs, I know, but the picture they produce with MiST is better than anything I've seen on various LCDs, and much closer to what you'd see on the original systems.

But if you prefer the LCD route, I've had very good results with Samsung monitors. 920N & 715V models both handle the 50/56/60 modes well. Still not perfect, but better than the crappy 17" Dells that make up a chunk of my collection. There;s a thread somewhere here noting various other models that are MiST-friendly.

I find 25% scanlines on the supporting cores helps compensate for LCD scaling.

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Re: MiST VGA Compatibility

Postby Orion_ » Mon Jun 12, 2017 5:17 pm

I think I need to find a good VGA monitor with "no scale" option, meaning if the resolution is smaller than the native one, it will display black bars around the image and make it pixel perfect.
if anyone now an LCD monitor who can do this, please tell me :)

it seems to be the "aspect" option "1:1" but this option is rare to be found, only on pro monitor at >= 300€ :/
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Re: MiST VGA Compatibility

Postby DrOG » Tue Jun 13, 2017 4:15 am

My results with the BenQ BL219 (used only the 'auto' option, didn't set the geometry of picture manually):

50Hz VGA:
Image
Ugly scaling, but no borders.

56Hz VGA:
Image
Ugly scaling with a narrow black stripe at the top & bottom of the screen.

Mono VGA:
Image
Ugly, but perhaps somewhat better scaling, black borders around the picture.

50Hz SCART
Image
A bit blurry image (interlaced signal!) with black borders around it.

I agree with eeun, the best solution is a CRT monitor! You can try older CRT TVs with minimig-to-scart cable also, perhaps this would be the most authentic way...

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Re: MiST VGA Compatibility

Postby Orion_ » Tue Jun 13, 2017 7:38 am

in your screen menu, try to change the "display mode" to "Aspect", see if it gets any better ?
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Re: MiST VGA Compatibility

Postby DrOG » Wed Jun 14, 2017 3:59 am

Hi All!

Yesterday I tested the NES core on my monitor for three reasons:

1. It's known to be problematic: has a badly (very left) centered image on most screens.
2. It's an NTSC core - tested only PAL sources so far.
3. It supports YPbPr/YUV output over VGA connector, thanks to Sorgelig!

It supports interlaced mode (scandoubler_disable=1) as well.
During my tests I used a standard VGA cable to connect the MIST to my BenQ BL912.
I used only 'auto' option, and didn't modify the picture's geometry manually.
I had to switch the colour format from RGB to YUV myself, because the monitor didn't identify it automatically.

Here are my results:

NES_VGA_progressive
Image

NES_VGA_interlaced
Image

NES_YUV_progressive
Image

NES_YUV_interlaced
Image

And the conclusions in some words:

1. There are black stripes on the left and right sides of the picture. These are wider in case of interlaced signal source.
2. The picture is well-centered.
3. The image is a bit blurry if scandoubler is disabled (we already knew that).
4. The white balance is not exactly the same: the picture is a bit reddish using YPbPr compared to RGB.

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Re: MiST VGA Compatibility

Postby eeun » Fri Jun 16, 2017 6:55 pm

Interesting comparing the various outputs. Thanks for sharing that!

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Re: MiST VGA Compatibility

Postby DrOG » Sat Jun 17, 2017 3:13 am

You're welcome!

I compared earlier the different output modes using my Samsung LE40B650 in another topic as well:

viewtopic.php?f=101&t=31006&start=25

As Sorgelig wrote, every display is different in aspect of signal handling, and a given device may also produce diverse results depending on the used input.

I'm planning to build a new sync stripper, which generates separated horizontal and vertical syncs instead of composite. As I couldn't obtain the necessary EL1883 or EL4583 IC, I will build one with the well-known and popular LM1881N, combined with another IC containing logical gates, which will create the missing H-sync from the C-sync and V-sync signals. I ordered it's components, but didn't arrive so far.

See schematic below.
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Re: MiST VGA Compatibility

Postby DrChaos » Wed Jun 21, 2017 6:59 am

I still hope that some of the Core Developer will enable a switch to use clean sync in the 15Khz Core, but I guess the number of people using Multisync VGA is rather small. Unfortunately due to my lack of programming skills I am unable to contribute on that side...

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Re: MiST VGA Compatibility

Postby DrOG » Wed Jun 28, 2017 1:39 pm

I tried the schematic 2 post above, but it didn't work...

Being a second LM1881N on hand, built another sync stripper with minor modifications:

1. This time I used a SCART male connector (it contains the circuit itself) and a standard VGA cable, cutting off one of it's plug.
2. Composite sync out goes to VGA pin 13 (horizontal sync), without resistor.
3. Vertical sync straight to VGA pin 14.
4. GND to VGA pins 5 & 10.
5. Used a (third) 0,1uF decoupling capacitor between GND and +5V.

I think it's even more universal, but still not 100% compatible solution for connecting composite video sync out RGB devices to VGA input displays.

More info here: http://www.epanorama.net/faq/vga2rgb/vgamonitor.html

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Re: MiST VGA Compatibility

Postby DrOG » Mon Jul 03, 2017 5:04 am

Hi All!

I tested consequently all the cores avaiable on the MIST with my BenQ BL912, and made some conclusions:

1. This display is (almost) omnivorous: the only core which exceeded it's abilities was the ZX01. Black screen in scandoubler enabled and disabled mode as well. My old Belinea CRT has glitches also when using this core, both in PAL and NTSC modes, on both sides near the top of the picture:

Image

Image

2. It tolerates low refresh rates well: although it's specification writes "Vertical input frequency: 55-76 Hz", works with much lower frequencies also:

-2 cores have 56Hz refresh rates: Atari ST in PAL 56 mode, and Videoton TVC VGA version, both works flawless (as far as I know this is the lowermost limit of standard VGA vertical frequencies, but i.e. my Samsung LE40B650 doesn't support it):

Image

Image

-Every PAL core has 50Hz output frequency (except Elektronika BK-0011M, which is only 49Hz - my LG L1734S refuses it, 'out of range'). The BenQ hasn't such problem.

Image

-I found one very non-standard core, Gehstock's 'pacman(RGB Output Test#2).rbf', which uses 720x288@43Hz, and it's still fine for the monitor:

Image

3. Sometimes it identifies incorrectly the colour format in 15KHz mode: only 2 cores are affected so far (SMS and MSX), and using my sync stripper with a composite out RGB device, there's the same issue. It's an annoying but manageable problem, since there's an option in the monitor's menu to change the color format manually from YUV to RGB.

4. Sometimes NTSC output is 640x500 instead of 640x480: the C64, PC Engine and Colecovision cores show this phenomenon:

Image

Image

Image

5. It has not problem with unusual resolutions, manages well these absolutely non-standard values:

In case of Acorn Archimedes, during boot the messy red screen is 720x288@75Hz:

Image

Desktop is usual 640x480@60Hz, but starting games it switches to 720x400@70Hz:

Image

And in '64Hz Mono' mone (pressung key 2 on numpad during boot) it's 1600x900@65Hz:

Image

The Amstrad has an extraordinary 73Hz refresh rate at 800x600 resolution (72 or 75 Hz would be standard):

Image

Some arcade cores are affected also: Donkey Kong, 640x500@62Hz (it has several graphic glitches also):

Image

And finally some nice interlaced 'solutions' (in these cases there might be a sync issue, as the cores below are not compatible with standard minimig-VGA-to-scart cable, and their resolution is 720x2??@??Hz. I think these are not real interlaced, but instead progressive signals with the half of the height?):

TRS-80(L2)-720x288@60Hz:

Image

FPGAPCE-720x240@59Hz (It's an interesting case, as it has an original and a modded version, the latter is more compatible, but still not 100% perfect, and has issues with several screens):

Image

And see the earlier mentioned Gehstock's 'pacman(RGB Output Test#2).rbf' also.

In normal case the monitor would indicate only the number of lines, the 'i' as interlaced and finally the refresh rate, i.e. 480i60/576i@50, see the Atari ST PAL mode for reference:

Image

That's all so far.

I hope my experiences will help to developers correcting bugs and purchasers who are looking for a compatible monitor (you can pick up the non-standard cores to an SD-card and go for shopping equipped with the MIST, testing the display before buying it).

Regards: Gábor

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Re: MiST VGA Compatibility

Postby ericgus » Mon Jul 03, 2017 6:13 am

Iv also had really good success with the Samsung Syncmaster 715v .. I don't think I have tried a core on it that didn't work .. even the hard to display PlusTOO core worked fine..

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Re: MiST VGA Compatibility

Postby DrOG » Mon Jul 03, 2017 6:58 am

PlusTOO is 1024x768@60Hz, nothing special. Even my LE40B650 accepts it. Could you test the less common ones please?

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Re: MiST VGA Compatibility

Postby DrOG » Mon Jul 03, 2017 7:49 pm

I made some further investigations, and my daughter's LG DM2352 identifies the TRS-80's scandoubler disabled singal via SCART as 576i50Hz instead of 720x288@60Hz. Strange...
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Re: MiST VGA Compatibility

Postby AdvancedFollower » Sat Nov 18, 2017 1:03 pm

I just got the Mist and I've been testing it with my GW2750HM monitor.
According to the specs it has Horizontal Refresh Rate 30 - 83 kHz, Vertical Refresh Rate 50 - 76 Hz.

So far, most cores have worked just fine and provide a crisp image. I've tried Amiga (NTSC and PAL at everything from 320x200 to 1280x512 interlaced), C64, Spectrum, ZX81, NES and SMS. The monitor has an option for aspect-correct (with black borders) or stretched.

The only 2 cores that haven't worked are the Amstrad and the Atari. Immediately upon loading them, I just get the "Out of Sync" message on the screen. I tried several different images of TOS (UK, USA, Sweden..) but the result is always the same.

I'm guessing the only way to get those working is with some additional hardware? Or are there any software tweaks I could try?

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Re: MiST VGA Compatibility

Postby DrOG » Sat Nov 18, 2017 1:37 pm

AdvancedFollower wrote:I just got the Mist and I've been testing it with my GW2750HM monitor....
The only 2 cores that haven't worked are the Amstrad and the Atari. Immediately upon loading them, I just get the "Out of Sync" message on the screen. I tried several different images of TOS (UK, USA, Sweden..) but the result is always the same.
...

Hi!

Does your monitor support interlaced (scandoubler disabled) mode and composite sync over VGA pin 13?

I see the specs are from 30kHz to 83kHz, but I think it worths to try: after selecting the problematic core, try to push the MiST's middle button for a longer period (2 secs).

The new Amstrad core has an option to switch between 800x600@73Hz and 720x576@50Hz, but first you need to access the menu to modify this. It needs some additional files as well to work properly:
https://github.com/mist-devel/mist-bina ... strad/ROMs

I suppose You mean the Atari ST core. We have an Atari 2600 and an Atari 800 XL/5200 core also.
The ST core has 6 different video modes:
PAL interlaced, PAL 50Hz VGA, PAL 56Hz VGA, NTSC interlaced, NTSC VGA and B&W. You can modify the video standard with the TOS file you use: i.e. UK version results PAL, the US NTSC modes to be available. Between PAL modes (50/56Hz) and B/W you need to use the menu, which is difficult if you have no video...

Atari 2600 has no compatibility issues, Atari XL / 5200 needs some additional ROM files and special folder structure on SD card:
https://github.com/mist-devel/mist-bina ... readme.txt

Regards: Gábor

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Re: MiST VGA Compatibility

Postby AdvancedFollower » Sun Nov 19, 2017 12:33 am

Yes, I meant the Atari ST core. Haven't tried the 2600/800/5200 yet.
Setting scandoubler_disable=1 causes out of range error with the Amiga and other cores which worked before, so my monitor definitely needs 30 KHz. With the Amiga core running, my monitor identifies the resolution as 720x576 @ 50 Hz btw.

Pressing and holding the middle button did nothing with the Atari ST core. With the Amiga core it causes "Out of range", pressing and holding again restores the image.

You're right, accessing the menu is difficult when there's no image :? Maybe if I knew exactly which keys to press (F12 - Down - Down - Enter etc.) I could try something else.

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Re: MiST VGA Compatibility

Postby DrOG » Sun Nov 19, 2017 5:13 am

It seems that you are stuck in B&W mode, sometimes it happens...
The problem is with mono mode the refresh rate, it's 71Hz, which is uncommon, and some monitors don't handle it.

The easiest solution is to find a monitor that supports this video mode.

But I'll try to help you in 'blind navigation":

First set "scandoubler_disable=1" back to 0 in mist.ini.

Power on your MiST, and boot/Run the Atari ST core.
Wait 5 secs to start memory test.
Press [Enter] to abort memory test.
Wait 5 secs to boot the core to desktop.
Press [F12].
Press 'Down Arrow' key 4 times.
Press [Enter].
Press [Enter] again -> this option (Screen: Color/B&W) switches PAL/NTSC compatible and monochrome output. This resets the core as well, so you will have to wait to boot it again, but this will be visible on your monitor (I hope).

Regards: Gábor

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Re: MiST VGA Compatibility

Postby AdvancedFollower » Sun Nov 19, 2017 11:37 pm

Just tried your instructions and it actually worked https://imgur.com/a/f5GJw :D Thanks a lot for the help.
So it seems the high resolution b&w mode doesn't work with my monitor, but ST Medium and Low color modes seem to work just fine, which should be enough for most games and demos.

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Re: MiST VGA Compatibility

Postby DrOG » Mon Nov 20, 2017 4:42 am

You're Welcome!

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Re: MiST VGA Compatibility

Postby seastalker » Mon Feb 19, 2018 8:08 pm

Hey guys, I may repeat this info in a couple of related threads, but I've come up with a potential solution. I'm at least 90% there. It involved the purchase of a few products:

Amazon links:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MZ ... UTF8&psc=1

and

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01E5 ... UTF8&psc=1

Connect the latter to the MIST and the former to your monitor: Disclaimer- I am still testing! So far S-video only. This works well on a Sony Triniton huge CRT tv, as well as on my Dell flat panel monitor with an S-video input. Apple II core with Oregon Trail look glorious as does the snowy default "choose your core" core. Amiga looks great too.

Minor glitches do seem to come up with resolution changes. Monitors with adapters plugged in without an input give color bars until you fire up the video source like the MIST. SOMETIMES the colorbars show up temporarily as you wait for a core to load, or if say the Amiga AGA core boots and then you load a game.

I also tested this on a Commodore 1084s monitor... the core select screen looks great but the Apple II mentioned test zoomed in and the monitor had a hard time adjusting. I believe this is a resolution issue so I will experiment with toggling 1 and 0 in each core's .ini file. I must give the Commodore CRT credit- modern tvs just go to black screens when they can't accept an input. The 1084s at least goes "I'll do my best." :)

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Re: MiST VGA Compatibility

Postby DrOG » Tue Feb 20, 2018 6:26 am

Apple ][ core's resolution and refresh rate is standard (640x480@60Hz), but emits positive sync signals instead of the standard negative.

Having two boxes between signal source and display may cause an intolerable lag during games, please test it as well!

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Re: MiST VGA Compatibility

Postby seastalker » Sun Feb 10, 2019 5:08 pm

DRog, better late than never! A year later and remembered this post. Let me first update with new links to the same products:

1080p HDMI to Composite / AV S-Video Converter RCA CVBS/L/R Video Converter Adapter PAL / NTSC CVBS / S-Video Switch High-definition multimedia interface 1080P for PS3/DVD/Camara:

https://amzn.to/2BxHys9

and:

VGA w/Audio to HDMI Video Scaler Converter Box with Power Adapter VGA to HDMI Adapter:
https://amzn.to/2WMnA5U

So my chain is Mist VGA Out (and audio) to HD Video Converter input, then HDMI out to HDMI in on the HDMI converter, out via stereo RCA and S-Video out to yet another point in the chain: a 4 port VIDEO switcher in, then out to the S-video on the tv.

**LAG comparison of the above daisy chain vs. Mist VGA output to a Nokia Desktop PC CRT monitor.

I am shocked to say that an A-B comparison in many cores showed virtually NO difference in lag. I did not do a fancy frame test, but my eyes and hands felt zero difference and I do notice lag in emulation. Even a REAL Turbografx-16 daisy chained through a VCR to the same tv provides more noticeable lag than the above comparison. I love the Nokia monitor as my primary, but the bigger screen of the tv I will now do more often.

I thought these test results may excite others to try a VERY reasonable solution to hook your Mist up to a CRT tv.


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