[UPDATE: The people at HD Retrovision informed me that their cables are similar in output to RGB SCART but have the added bonus of compensating for the colour difference between console revisions. Also, these are intendee mainly for the US market where most TV’s lack SCART inputs.]
Lately, a new company by the name of HD Retrovision has announced a series of cables which will let you hook up your retro consoles to your HDTV by means of Component input. The first batch coming out will be leads for the Super Nintendo and Sega MegaDrive/Genesis.
Myself, I am quite content with regular old SCART for hooking up my retro consoles to my HD TV but out of curiosity I decided to check up on the company that produces these cables and see what exactly they’re promising us. Well, first of all and probably most importantly is that these cables will not display your games in HD as that’s, quite frankly, impossible! Which makes sense as a mere AV lead can’t just magically upscale the image coming from the console. It can only serve the purpose of bringing the image that the console puts out onto your screen and translate it as accurately and undiluted as possible. So resolution-wise nothing changes which for me just seems to defeat the purpose of a HD branded cable anyway. If your TV tends to blow up the image coming from a retro console to an unsightly pixelfest then it will more than likely continue to do so even with these cables. They are however supposed to result in an accurate output of the console’s signal which means a crisper and more detailed image with colours that pop off the screen.
The images and videos on their site clearly illustrate said difference. Buuuuuut, what they seem to do with the image comparisons is that they start from Composite input which looks pretty terrible on any kind of TV. So what I’m asking myself is, will the picture that their Component-cables put out be much different from from what a RGB-SCART connection puts out? Because a SCART cable will basically do the same thing which their Component cables promise to do. From what I can tell from the videos and pictures on their site is that the results seem pretty comparable if not exactly the same to those of a RGB-SCART output.
So for me it looks like I will be hanging on to my trusted SCART cables. I just see no reason to upgrade to theirs as I’m already benefitting from a clearer image and an accurate depiction of the colours. It would be nice if they could output in HD but that’s just not possible without an expensive upscaler-unit. So I’m thinking that these cables don’t seem to hold much value for the average retro gamer as most of them will have their consoles already hooked up to the SCART or S-Video inputs of their TV. If you don’t then these may be interesting for you even if they seem a bit pricey at 35$.
Regardless I am looking forward to what people will have to say about the finished product and maybe they will prove my reservations wrong. The reservations that I have are after all based on pure speculation. You just can’t judge a product on promo material alone so I’ll hold off on any final judgement and wait till I hear what the early adopters have to say about this product. And we’ll see, maybe they turn out to be pretty special after all.
If you happen to be interested in the HD Retrovision Component cables here’s their website.