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N64 on TV & HDTV; Cables, display ratios, you name it...
Topic Started: Feb 26 2009, 07:18 AM (24,271 Views)
Kerr Avon
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Senior Member
Every so often, someone posts on the 'net about how their new LCD/HD/whatever television
looks terrible when displaying an N64 picture. So I was wondering if someone here with
experience (I've only used my N64 on a CRT TV, and none of my mates still have N64s,
the poor losers!) could write a guide/FAQ about using the N64 with different types of TVs,
which cables and connections to use, and so on?

I think it would be invaluable in the near future to those of us who stay loyal to our 64-bit
friend.
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Kerr Avon
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No one? Surely someone has some suggestions or URLs to post?

And why is it that when I look at a large screen LCD TV I see an inferior picture to
a CRT TV, yet everyone else says that CRTs look inferior?
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alxbly
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Ancient
Depends on the TV, the signal, resolution, etc, etc. N64's were designed for the TV's of 1996 with standard definition. Here a few general principles:

Use composite instead of RF.

Use S-video if you have an NTSC N64. Most PAL N64's aren't s-video compatible but it might be worth a try.

An RGB mod makes the picture look better but it's not easy.

N64's generally look better on CRT's than on HDTVs.

If you're using an HDTV make sure it's one with a good quality upscaler (cheaper TV's don't have good quality upscalers).

Use the original ratio (i.e. 4:3 instead of 16:9... although if your TV can display 14:9 that can look pretty good and minimizes borders).

Don't use RF with a HDTV, it looks really, really bad.
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Bill
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Newbie
alxbly
Feb 28 2009, 09:23 AM
Use S-video if you have an NTSC N64. Most PAL N64's aren't s-video compatible but it might be worth a try.
I don't get this, on my TV (which is HD and that's probably the problem) an AV cord looks much better than S-Video. The only noticeable difference is this grid thing that shows up.
Proof:

Mario S-Video: http://i708.photobucket.com/albums/ww90/MyNameIsGrey/IMG_0895.jpg
Mario AV Cord: http://i708.photobucket.com/albums/ww90/MyNameIsGrey/IMG_0896.jpg

SF64 HS in S-Video: http://i708.photobucket.com/albums/ww90/MyNameIsGrey/IMG_0893.jpg
SF64 HS with AV Cord: http://i708.photobucket.com/albums/ww90/MyNameIsGrey/IMG_0894.jpg

even when i bring the size down to 1/4 it still does this.

EDIT: is the S-video cable broken?
Edited by Bill, Feb 28 2009, 10:05 PM.
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Robond
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Bill
Feb 28 2009, 04:55 PM
alxbly
Feb 28 2009, 09:23 AM
Use S-video if you have an NTSC N64. Most PAL N64's aren't s-video compatible but it might be worth a try.
I don't get this, on my TV (which is HD and that's probably the problem) an AV cord looks much better than S-Video. The only noticeable difference is this grid thing that shows up.
Proof:

Mario S-Video: http://i708.photobucket.com/albums/ww90/MyNameIsGrey/IMG_0895.jpg
Mario AV Cord: http://i708.photobucket.com/albums/ww90/MyNameIsGrey/IMG_0896.jpg

SF64 HS in S-Video: http://i708.photobucket.com/albums/ww90/MyNameIsGrey/IMG_0893.jpg
SF64 HS with AV Cord: http://i708.photobucket.com/albums/ww90/MyNameIsGrey/IMG_0894.jpg

even when i bring the size down to 1/4 it still does this.

EDIT: is the S-video cable broken?
Very strange, im my TV N64 games looks better with a S-video cable.
Wii + 59 games + 7 Wii Ware + 28 VC! GC + 85 games! N64 + 38 games! DS + 32 games + 9 GBA games!
PS3 Slim + 16 games! PS2 Slim + 35 games! PS1 + 15 games!
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Shiren Wonders
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Bill,

Ideally/theoretically, s-video should always give a better picture than composite.
I believe you have a poor quality (e.g. poor shielding) s-video cable.
I had the exact problem 6 mo.'s ago or so. I replaced a broken Gamecube Monster s-video cable with a cheap s-video. When I replaced the crappy cable with a new Monster, the dots in the picture went away, and it was clearly sharper than composite video.
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Bill
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Newbie
Thanks. that would explain it. i do have a pretty crappy cable for it. You guys think a Pelican Cable would be a reliable quality?
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Mop it up
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Forum Urban Legend
Why not just spring for a Nintendo-branded one?
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Bill
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Mop_it_up
Apr 11 2009, 05:46 PM
Why not just spring for a Nintendo-branded one?
ah, the Mop_it_up mentality, if Nintendo makes it, buy it. :P
Actually for some reason the thought that Nintendo made an S-Video cable never crossed my mind. but it's too late now, I've already purchased a Monster Cable.
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Bayman2004
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Does an n64 look OK on a LCD HDTV , as I dont have a CRT TV anymore :n64:
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Matt
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Kick, Punch, It's all in the mind
Bayman2004
Feb 27 2011, 03:51 PM
Does an n64 look OK on a LCD HDTV , as I dont have a CRT TV anymore :n64:
Its very playable

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That was took about 3 years ago so excuse camera quality
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Bayman2004
Newbie
thanks for the quick reply and for the pics , I was worried it wouldnt work very well ,do you use an A/V Cable ?
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Matt
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Kick, Punch, It's all in the mind
Bayman2004
Feb 27 2011, 04:07 PM
thanks for the quick reply and for the pics , I was worried it wouldnt work very well ,do you use an A/V Cable ?
I just used a RF connector inthose, I thinknit would look better with AV though
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Mk II
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Elite
well, in my not so humble opinion N64 are very playable and enjoyable on a full HD LCD screen.
to be honest NES and SNES games usually look a bit better because they dont use low-res texturing like a lot of N64 titles. Simple graphics tend to scale up much better.
On the other hand: it doesnt really matter... if the game is any good, you wont notice.

here's my 55" screen. looking pretty good, i'd say!
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Coorsy101
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IMO, yes its playable, but its way better on a standard TV (obviously).

Im sure thats a common problem these days where people are buying all the systems they use to play as a kid, but they are up to date with new HDTV's.

So my reccomendation is, if you have the space, go out and buy a cheap used TV.. heck people are pretty much giving them away these days. Its worth it, especially if you own more than 1 retro system. I went thru the trouble of putting a second TV in my room for that exact reason :D

-Corey
American

Controllers: 12/19 (9/15 Boxed/Sealed)
Systems: 1/9 (1/9 Boxed)

Japanese

Controllers: 7/18 (6/18 Boxed)
Systems: 1/10 (1/10 Boxed)
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Mk II
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Elite
agreed. i do keep an older CRT TV in my game room, if only to play Duck Hunt! Zapper games don't work on a LCD screen.
But a NES game like Gradius looks really great on the 55" LCD; both in 4:3 and 16:9 mode
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clarky_n64
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Modding Monster
I used to play the n64 on my LCD but then picked up an old Sony CRT from work for my games room.

The colours are so much better and dont look so washed out.
Clarky & Smithy Creations YouTube Channel
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Grizzmeister
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Latter-day Nostradamus
The N64 looks pretty bad on my 40 inch Sharp Aquos LCD so I keep it connected to a 20 inch Toshiba flat-screen CRT. I've got my N64 connected to it with S-Video which looks pretty good.

Hey, don't people in the UK have the ability to connect the N64 to HDTVs with some sort of higher end cable? SCART or some such cable that we don't have in the US. :huh:
"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." - Arthur Schopenhauer

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Matt
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Kick, Punch, It's all in the mind
When I connected mine I used a rf cable, Worked fine for me
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danny_galaga
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Matt
Feb 27 2011, 03:57 PM
Bayman2004
Feb 27 2011, 03:51 PM
Does an n64 look OK on a LCD HDTV , as I dont have a CRT TV anymore :n64:
Its very playable

That was took about 3 years ago so excuse camera quality


For RF that looks pretty good!

I'll echo what most have said in that the N64 looks fine on an LCD (LED in my case, but it's still LCD so relevant). I found the N64 and Atari Jaguar look great with AV, but my Sega Master System and Mega Drive not so great. I also finally found the button that changes it to 4:3 ratio, so the games would look spot on if I connected them up again. But I have a games room now, with a 68 cm telly I got for free from my neighbour, and a 51 cm Trinitron that I picked up for free from freecycle (",)
Edited by danny_galaga, Mar 10 2011, 11:09 PM.
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Matt
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Kick, Punch, It's all in the mind
danny_galaga
Mar 10 2011, 11:04 PM
Matt
Feb 27 2011, 03:57 PM

Quoting limited to 2 levels deep


For RF that looks pretty good!

I'll echo what most have said in that the N64 looks fine on an LCD (LED in my case, but it's still LCD so relevant). I found the N64 and Atari Jaguar look great with AV, but my Sega Master System and Mega Drive not so great. I also finally found the button that changes it to 4:3 ratio, so the games would look spot on if I connected them up again. But I have a games room now, with a 68 cm telly I got for free from my neighbour, and a 51 cm Trinitron that I picked up for free from freecycle (",)
I really should go back and retake them, That was taken with a 3MP camera :P
Edited by Matt, Mar 12 2011, 07:56 AM.
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FoxC
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I compared how my 24" LCD looks against my 20" CRT tonight as I have plans to take the CRT to be recycled. I wanted to see the difference it makes before I got rid of it (If I do). I don't use it and don't have a good place for it.

Perfect Dark had the biggest difference. Text was clear with the CRT and jagged with the LCD. Along with other games I tested (Zelda MM, Banjo K) the colors were more vibrant on the CRT. Also, light effects are better on the CRT. For instance the light from the sun in MM when I looked in the telescope faded across the screen. On the LCD I only noticed a difference of light effects from one side to the other because I saw how it should look with the CRT.

I have my LCD's brightness and Contrast low so the colors didn't look washed out, but were dull compared with the CRT. I was amazed at the difference of colors seen with the telescope room's floor in MM.
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swaaye
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Honestly I use an emulator so I can crank the resolution of old console games. They look nasty on HDTVs because of the deinterlacing and possibly framerate conversion as well, and that is compounded by RF and composite not even outputting that great of a signal. SVID might be slightly better but still you have the other conversions taking place. And TVs vary in how well they do this and even the best still make it ugly.

Occasionally I get out the hardware but it really is rare these days.

Too bad it doesn't have that Dreamcast VGA output!
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regnad
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Button Masher
swaaye
Apr 2 2011, 02:32 PM
Honestly I use an emulator so I can crank the resolution of old console games. They look nasty on HDTVs because of the deinterlacing and possibly framerate conversion as well, and that is compounded by RF and composite not even outputting that great of a signal. SVID might be slightly better but still you have the other conversions taking place. And TVs vary in how well they do this and even the best still make it ugly.

Plus with the new PJ64 1.7 you can do real, actual widescreen -- as in actually see more on the left and right side than you would with the console game -- with a bunch of games including both Zeldas, Mario 64, and DK64.

That's worth the price of admission right there. Knocked my socks off the first time I saw it.
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Mk II
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Elite
Quote:
 
Occasionally I get out the hardware but it really is rare these days.

Heresy!

emulation just isnt the same (Virtual Console included) and there's something special about still using that old technology.
Super Mario Bros. is best played on a NES with an original controller just like GoldenEye was designed for the N64 controller.
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swaaye
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I hear ya. :D I do yearn for that authenticity at times and get ye olde N64 from the closet. I recently picked up a DC and 3DO for more authentic retro.

But man are Goldeneye and Perfect Dark awesome at a vastly higher rez, buttery framerate and with a mouse/KB config. ;)
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regnad
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Button Masher
Perfect Dark also has a widescreen setting.

These games offer a widescreen mode: http://www.mobygames.com/attribute/sheet/attributeId,278/p,9/

I totally understand where you guys are coming from with authenticity. I certainly own an SNES, N64, and GCN, and when I was living in the US they were all always proudly plugged in with a video switch box. Since moving to Japan, I had to make very hard decisions about what I could bring with me, and the consoles went in storage.

I've gone to great lengths to find a USB converter that would work with a Hori Mini Pad with a Rumble Pak -- no easy task. I feel original controllers are essential, and I have original SNES, N64, GCN, and PSX controllers hooked up to my computer. It's an unfortunate compromise because of circumstances.

On the other hand, if you have never played Ocarina or Majora's Mask in true widescreen with PJ64 1.7, well, you really have no idea what you're missing. This is absolutely better than the console, as blasphemous as it may sound.
Edited by regnad, Apr 5 2011, 07:51 PM.
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Grizzmeister
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Latter-day Nostradamus
regnad
Apr 5 2011, 07:39 PM
I totally understand where you guys are coming from with authenticity. I certainly own an SNES, N64, and GCN, and when I was living in the US they were all always proudly plugged in with a video switch box. Since moving to Japan, I had to make very hard decisions about what I could bring with me, and the consoles went in storage.

I've gone to great lengths to find a USB converter that would work with a Hori Mini Pad with a Rumble Pak -- no easy task. I feel original controllers are essential, and I have original SNES, N64, GCN, and PSX controllers hooked up to my computer. It's an unfortunate compromise because of circumstances.

On the other hand, if you have never played Ocarina or Majora's Mask in true widescreen with PJ64 1.7, well, you really have no idea what you're missing. This is absolutely better than the console, as blasphemous as it may sound.
Doesn't sound blasphemous at all. You should enjoy your games any way you want to and as long as you own copies of the original game you're not a pirate. ;)

I own Wave Race 64, Mario Kart 64, F-Zero X and Super Smash Bros. for my Virtual Console and while they all look fantastic in 480p and 16:9 they're still not quite as good as the original N64 iterations. For example, MK64 has an odd speed variance in multiplayer and F-Zero X has some texture tearing on the tracks. Also, none of the games support rumble even when you use a GameCube controller.
"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." - Arthur Schopenhauer

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regnad
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This guy makes USB adapters that work with Hori Mini Pad with rumble (and of course original controllers with rumble as well).

http://spawnlinux.dyndns.org/Bliss-Box/

That's the holy grail as far as I'm concerned -- original controllers are great for collecting, and I have several, but you can't beat a Hori for actual playing. This is the only one I've found that works with the Hori with rumble.

This guy also makes good adapters: http://www.raphnet.net/index_en.php

They work with Hori, and are more attractive than the Blissbox above, but the rumble feature doesn't work.

Both guys know what they're doing and will make custom stuff for you as well.
Looking at the second link I listed, it seems the guy makes Wii/N64 controller adapters that support rumble.

Sounds like exactly what you need, Grizzmeister.
Edited by regnad, Jun 2 2011, 02:41 AM.
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Grizzmeister
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Latter-day Nostradamus
Mk II
Feb 27 2011, 04:27 PM
well, in my not so humble opinion N64 are very playable and enjoyable on a full HD LCD screen.
to be honest NES and SNES games usually look a bit better because they dont use low-res texturing like a lot of N64 titles. Simple graphics tend to scale up much better.
On the other hand: it doesnt really matter... if the game is any good, you wont notice.

here's my 55" screen. looking pretty good, i'd say!
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I'm amazed that King of Pro Baseball looks as good as it does on MK II's huge 55" HDTV! :o Didn't I read him say somewhere else that F-Zero X didn't look too good on it though? :huh:

As I mentioned previously, my N64 looks bad on my 40" Sharp Aquos and this is probably exacerbated by the fact that my TV doesn't have an S-Video input. I've read about mods which allow the N64 to output in component but sadly here in the US we don't have an AV cable solution that allows us to take advantage of that modification. Guess I'm stuck playing my N64 games on my relatively diminutive 20 inch Toshiba CRT. ;_;
"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." - Arthur Schopenhauer

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