From Emulation General Wiki
Revision as of 18:11, 27 November 2014 by DoubleNigger (talk | contribs) (Making some of this its own article, on various display options.)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

There are several displays you can use for emulation. Some are better than others at displaying older standard definition games.

This FAQ is very work in progress. Please expand upon it.


Main article: CRT TVs
Shadow (slot) mask vs aperture grille

They come in several forms:

  1. Shadow Mask
  2. Aperture grille
  3. HD CRTs


  • Can display a wide range of resolutions up to 480i on SDTVs and 1080i on HDTVs
    • May actually force and scale to a resolution non-native to the input. HDTVs that scale EVERYTHING to 1080i aren't rare. That defeats the purpose of avoiding scaling, but you still get the other benefits.
  • True black levels
  • Wide viewing angles
  • 4:3 Aspect ratio (with a few exceptions)

How to connect to a CRT TV:

  • Wii would be the easiest method. Can output to 240p.
  • VGA to Composite/S-Video converter box. These are cheap but only output 480i and may introduce latency, and may have poor picture quality compared to the actual console's Composite/S-Video output.
  • Driver modifications like Soft15khz and CRT_Emudriver can allow your video card to output real 15kHz RGB through the VGA/DVI port. May need to buy or create your own specialized cables depending on the CRT you use. For CRT's that don't have RGB inputs, you can use a VGA/RGB to YPbPr transcoder (such as the Crescendo TC1500) to change the signal type to YPbPr component video without any scaling or latency.
  • Most CRT HDTVs have either DVI or HDMI ports which can accept as low as 30kHz (480p at 60Hz) from a PC. They do not support 120Hz to force 240p resolutions while doing this.

CRT monitors

Main article: CRT monitors
21" Slot mask CRT TV vs 17" Dot mask CRT monitor
Comparison of resolutions on a common CRT monitor. From left to right: 240p - 480p - 960p
  • All the benefits of a CRT TV besides native inputs for actual hardware
  • Generally 30kHz (480p at 60Hz) horizontal frequency at minimum, unless the monitor is tri-sync (15kHz, 25kHz, 31kHz).
    • You can force 240p resolutions with 120Hz refresh rates. You can then use black frame insertion to get the effective refresh rate back down to 60hz.
    • There are also hacks, both software and hardware, to allow 15kHz output. But the monitor must also support it, and most of them aren't written for modern OSs. Careful there.
  • Larger resolutions available, often massive
    • Horizontal resolution is only limited by video bandwidth, so you can set it really high and scale output to fit, and the CRT will display it 4:3. This is useful for 240p modes where you can avoid having to have different custom resolutions for each game and not have any visible scaling issues due to individual horizontal pixels being smaller than your monitor's dot pitch.
  • Large range of vertical refresh rates supported, often 50Hz to 160Hz. It's possible to display arcade games like R-Type and others with unusual refresh rates almost exactly the same as the real cabinet did, with perfect smooth scrolling. V-sync is still needed due to dot clock granularity and the fact the emulator frames needs to be synchronized to the CRT's vertical retrace, otherwise you will get some minor static tearing.
    • Keep in mind your vertical refresh rate and vertical resolution must stay within your monitor's horizontal frequency limits, e.g. if your monitor's limits are 30kHz to 70kHz and you are trying to set a display mode for PAL games, you will find that 480p at 50Hz is not possible as that is 25kHz, you will need to increase the vertical resolution to around 576p to make it 30kHz.
  • Easy to connect to a computer
  • Rarely larger than 19" or 21"
  • 4:3 Aspect ratio (with a few exceptions, notably the FW900)


(TN) displays

  • Native resolution which all output must scale to

IPS displays

  • Native resolution which all output must scale to
  • Vivid colors and contrast
  • Good viewing angles
  • Massive resolutions available.
  • Korean monitors such as Qnix QX2710 can run at 120Hz



External Links

  • RetroRGB - Provides lots of info on displays
  • 240p test suite - Test suite for properly configuring 240p. Designed mostly for CRTs, but will work with any monitor that supports 240p. Available as a homebrew program for several consoles.