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N64 Ultra HDMI Adapter: Released!!; N64 Console with HDMI Output
Topic Started: May 7 2015, 08:06 PM (4,228 Views)
Rocky
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"Designed by the team behind the 64drive flash cartridge, RetroActive first revealed this upcoming HDMI modification back in February 2014. Originally set to provide the console with a DVI-out port, the modification has since come on leaps and bounds with what appears to be a more tidy installation combined with a new Mini-HDMI out slot instead. By connecting directly to the Reality Coprocessor chip on the system's mainboard, the Ultra HDMI directly captures video output as digital RGB to provide up to 1080p HDMI output with audio...." Read the rest here: http://www.retrocollect.com/News/retroactives-ultra-hdmi-nintendo-64-adapter-coming-soon.html

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dlq1AaxngEU
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Purtle
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I already have CRT because its needed for competitive smash (64 and melee!) so I probably won't be trying to get something like this for quite a while.

I quite like my CRT, and there's always people giving away free ones on craigslist!
Check out My youtube channel

http://www.youtube.com/user/Purtle28PatrickSSB
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kartmaster
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It's a bit apples and oranges to me. The important thing to me is that it makes playing original N64 on modern HD TVs a much more enjoyable experience.

I hope I can always keep a CRT around for my retro consoles, but I understand that for some that's more of a burden than a joy. This is a pretty fantastic alternative for those folks.

In the distant future when functioning CRT sets could become quite rare, this mod may be the only feasible way to enjoy the original hardware. I see some value in that.
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italia64
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I agree Kartmaster.

I'm waiting the day where the CRT quality will be reached and maybe overtaked in new TVs.
It will be a great day for me :-P
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Cabanon
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I'll have to ditch my n64 and show you close pictures of mk64 on my modern HDTV setup. it's quite remarkable and I don't see the point of going downstairs to play it on a tiny stupid CRT.

I have to take it out anyway to get back my Frappe Snowland SC
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italia64
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Yes I don't say the on HDTV N64 sucks even with HDMI output.
It's surely a good compromise, especially if someone don't want a 100lbs Trinitron in the living room.

So yes, everyone can skip my advice.

But I'm a N64 gamer and lover, so not only I love to play N64 games and knowing their development story, etc. But I love to examine the graphics too.

This is almost impossible to do it properly with HDTV. For example, compare Resident Evil 2 on N64 and PS1 on CRT.
N64 version is easily recognizable as the superior one, even a kid can see it (in fact I was a kid when I compared them for the first time hehe).
But on HDTV them look the same game (aside the FMVs which are considerably better on the PS1 version even on HDTV).

Or try World Driver Championship, Perfect Dark and Turok 2 with HDMI output. Yes impressive games, maybe a bit of wow factor too, but nothing transcendental.
Well, try them on a 29" Trinitron with RGB and you won't believe to your eyes.

There is an Italian group where we share our opinions about graphics set-ups, etc.
Everyone who tried tue combo N64+RGB+Trinitron is absolutely persuaded about the unmatchable result, impossible to compare (so far, but in future things fortunately will change) with the best HDMI set-ups.

Please try All Star Baseball 2000 on CRT and after try it on HDTV. It's another game, believe me.

By the way, the difference changes game by game. 2D graphics and blurry graphics games are good on HDMI.

But please, check the difference of stuff like JFG, Perfect Dark, World Driver Championship, Turok 2, Conker, Tooie, etc.
These games on CRT look better than a lot of Dreamcast games, I'm not exaggerating.
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Cabanon
Elite
maybe, I don't have half these games so cant really tell. im not using upscaler anyway, I simply plug the Video jack in my tv and the audio jacks in my amplifier. this way I get full surround sound and video without any kind of lag or very very little. it's a very fantastic combo and I'd be eager to test the hdmi just to see if it's worth it and what amount of lag is it gonna add.

however, im not gonna get one anytime soon, so i'll probably never see the differences.
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andyk2003
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Hi everyone - I've just spent some time with the mod & just had to quickly chime in :)


It's surprising good actually - I didn't expect it to be as good as it is. The choice of modes is excellent and really varied. On the one end of the spectrum, you have the de-blur option - the image is line doubled and rendered in super sharp pixels. Some people seem to like this, but it's definitely not for me. The image is very pixellated - graphics in the distance degenerate into indecipherable clumps of pixels. In fact I avoid all the sharp pixel and direct modes as I've always disliked line doubling with the N64. It's all a matter of personal taste of course, but to me this isn't how Nintendo intended their games to be experienced. I think they wanted their hardware anti-aliasing to counter heavy pixellation and when it wasn't overdone and used well it could look amazing on the right display.


At the other end, you have the retro mode, with dynamic scan lines, bloom etc. This is better, but a touch soft to my liking - I adjust from the individual settings instead (no overscan, HV bloom etc). I keep Hybrid scanlines though - in brighter areas, the scanlines bloom and blend like a real CRT although the effect is a little overdone, as if the CRT had the contrast set too high. It'd be nice to have a setting to reduce the effect a little - but the overall effect is nonetheless really nice as long as I'm sitting far enough from the TV (about 10-12 feet from a 46" screen). Any closer and the flaws in the image start becoming more apparent.


Similar to the Framemeister scanlines, there's the option of 'simple scanlines' with varying intensity settings (but no blooming) - but I preferred hybrid. The hybrid mode combined with gamma boost gives a very CRT-like image. For me, It's not quite as nice as a good CRT with RGB though - but close - much closer than I thought it would be. To me, the CRT + RGB connection just handles the image a touch better . A little more forgiving, smoother, less pixellated, but still very clean and without any lost detail - combined with that lovely, unique punchy glow of real CRT phosphors. I think the effect is a slightly more pleasing and cohesive image, although I expect the difference won't be much (or any) of an issue to a lot of people. This will be improved upon in the future when we finally get true hardware dynamic phosphor emulation in 4K OLED. It's also worth mentioning that I'm using a plasma which tends to be a little more forgiving than LCD for SD material. I don't think it would be a factor but I don't have an LCD to test it on.


All in all, the mod definitely looks quite a lot better on my HDTV than a direct RGB connection. The cost is high but I think it's really worth it for dedicated N64 players who don't want a CRT. The 16ms lag didn't bother me, but then again, my TV has low lag. Hope this is useful!
My CRT thread:
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Cabanon
Elite
thanks for the lag time. 16ms seems small or high depending who you are, but for MK64 this will be very hard to be competitive with that when you're playing by hundreds of seconds or less.

thanks for the review !
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kartmaster
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Thanks for the feedback! This mod is going on my wishlist.
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andyk2003
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No worries :)

I forgot to mention that there is one mode that has virtually no lag whatsoever - direct mode. It's just a simple line doubler and doesn't do any extra image processing - but still looks very good (much better than an RGB connection on my plasma). The lag is extremely low - less than 100 nanoseconds, close to a CRT. This mode outputs in 480p/576p.

The upshot is that even on a fast HDTV, in this mode the mod should be quite a bit faster (relatively) than just using a standard AV connection as the TV now has one less job to do - the process of linedoubling a 240p image to 480p before it gets upscaled. The mod does this practically instantly, something most HDTVs can't do.
Edited by andyk2003, Dec 22 2015, 04:05 PM.
My CRT thread:
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gamerjerome
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Good review Andy. I'll be running it on my Samsung LED TV. Badassconsoles got my console on the 18th. Not sure when I'll get it back. He has quite a few to do. Looking forward to direct mode for smash. Here's an interview with Marshall https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KDM3TzMG_s He talked a little bit about the direct mode and you can even see the differance as he has two TV's hooked up.
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Controllers - Boxed US (8/8) - Blister (7/7)
Games - Sealed - (9) - Boxed (79) - Lose (77)
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andyk2003
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As a final thought, I have to say that after a few days I'm increasingly preferring my CRTs more. While I still think this mod is awesome, the vibrant, natural colours, deep blacks and just the way the graphics are represented on the CRT just floor me every time...

I'm really glad I have the mod for a potential future backup situation though - but it's CRTs all the way for me personally I think....

I have to permanently leave the forum now so thanks for having me and so long guys :)
My CRT thread:
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Rocky
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andyk2003
Dec 23 2015, 06:48 PM
As a final thought, I have to say that after a few days I'm increasingly preferring my CRTs more. While I still think this mod is awesome, the vibrant, natural colours, deep blacks and just the way the graphics are represented on the CRT just floor me every time...

I'm really glad I have the mod for a potential future backup situation though - but it's CRTs all the way for me personally I think....

I have to permanently leave the forum now so thanks for having me and so long guys :)
Why are you going mate? :(
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andyk2003
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My wife & I are giving up forums, Facebook etc to try & grab back some of our lives from the net. I feel a bit sad (I love this forum!) but I spend so much time on forums I miss out on other stuff.. Cheers guys :)
My CRT thread:
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gamerjerome
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Well, a Japanese Pikachu Nintendo 64 complete in box with Ultra HDMI just sold for $610. eBay

Not sure if someone really wanted it because it's sold out across installers or they didn't know any better. It remains to be seen if they actually paid that price for it. The Last Ultra HDMI N64 sold for $320 as I mentioned earlier in the topic. I looked at that one again and noticed it wasn't installed right in the case. Poor buyer who finally realizes it.

Still waiting on mine :coffee:

Update: Got it about week ago. Finally got around to photographing it.

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Installed by Badass Consoles. Looks completely stock and clean. You can still have RGB mod installed alongside it if you wish. Analog out still works at the same time. The HDMI actually has less lag than the Analog. Graphics wise, going emulator on your hd TV would be better but this is still great. I can actually read text on Mario Party on my 60". Firmware can also be upgraded in rom form from a flash cart if you have one. Badass put the latest version on mine before it went out.

All in all worth it. Installs seem very limited. They have serials which is nice. Also dated for the manufacture year. Very well done.
I have been keeping track of the sold ones on ebay just for reference of the value as a collector item.

Black Console - Sold Dec 11th $320 - Serial: R1AJ030084 - Board: 2015
Pikachu Japanese Console - Complete in Box - Sold Jan 3rd $610 - Serial: Unknown - Board: 2015
Black Console + RGB - Sold Feb 11 - $399.99 - Serial: Unknown - Board: 2015
Edited by gamerjerome, Feb 13 2016, 01:41 PM.
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Controllers - Boxed US (8/8) - Blister (7/7)
Games - Sealed - (9) - Boxed (79) - Lose (77)
Grey Variants - (9/14)
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Turok81
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I'm still on the fence about getting one. I've spent way too much analyzing videos on YT, and I'm honestly not that impressed by the look of de-blur and the extra sharpening, which seems to be the main selling point. It's a matter of personal taste but the heavy pixelation is just detrimental to the look of the games, in my opinion. I don't really like the look of the artificial scanlines either. What I'm wondering is if it's still worth getting even if I don't use any of the filters.
Edited by Turok81, Feb 25 2016, 11:02 PM.
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gamerjerome
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Turok81
Feb 25 2016, 10:58 PM
I'm still on the fence about getting one. I've spent way too much analyzing videos on YT, and I'm honestly not that impressed by the look of de-blur and the extra sharpening, which seems to be the main selling point. It's a matter of personal taste but the heavy pixelation is just detrimental to the look of the games, in my opinion. I don't really like the look of the artificial scanlines either. What I'm wondering is if it's still worth getting even if I don't use any of the filters.
It really comes down if you want to play N64 on your HDTV and not have an extra CRT. I'm not a fan of the scanlines either but that's because they are not subtle enough. There's still going to be updates to the software so I hope Marshall adds some more transparency to the scanlines. I don't play any games with de-blur on either. Then again I'm also sitting only 7 feet away from a 60". People complain that the N64 graphics were muddy but then once removed it's too pixelated. It just doesn't have high enough resolution textures and that doesn't translate well. I tried out Rogue Squadron which runs at a full 480p and it looks great on an HDTV. It's too bad that most of the other games don't. I also played Mario Party with some friends the other day and it's much easier to read the text in the game. The normal A/V out works at the same time so was switching back and forth. My friends preferred HDMI.

As a collector though, the $164 I spent at badassconsoles was worth it. So far the average price on ebay for these is $406 not included the $610 Japanese Pikachu edition that sold. I think with future updates it won't be such a novelty and it will be more useful. I just like the fact that is was possible in the first place. It's not going to be a replacement to a good CRT setup but it's certainly more convenient.
Edited by gamerjerome, Feb 27 2016, 02:03 AM.
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Controllers - Boxed US (8/8) - Blister (7/7)
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cell
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@gamerjerome, those are great photos right there :yeah: Nice looking console. Congrats on the Ultra HDMI mod.
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Turok81
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I'll probably get the mod. It will be very expensive with the shipping back and forth between countries and stealthy custom charges on top of that, but I really want a viable option for playing my games on a flat screen. However, I am a little reluctant to send off one of my own consoles which are in pristine condition. So I'll probably buy a used one in good condition and send it off to an installer. Would be nice to get one of those funtastic ones for the mod, they look very nice and seem very popular choices for the UltraHDMI. Some really nice pictures you posted, gamerjerome. By the way, I read a comment somewhere from a person claiming that the console runs a bit hotter after the mod was installed. Very curious if there's any truth to this.
Edited by Turok81, Mar 1 2016, 01:18 AM.
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Mantis128
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While I'm in the CRT camp I'm definitely getting a spare N64 for this. Perfect or not, HD N64 is a huge selling point. Also if you wanted to bring a 64 to a friend or family members house this would be the better option since everyone and their nan uses a HD TV.

I'm looking forward to the day I can try this mod on a huge 60-100 inch TV.

EDIT This has got me excited for a GameCube mod (DolphinHDMI?) since the GC runs at 480 which scales better than 240P. Until Nintendo does actual remasters like Rare did for the XBO, the GC port of Majora's Mask running in HD would be the highest we could get that game outside of emulation.
Edited by Mantis128, Mar 3 2016, 06:38 PM.
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gamerjerome
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@Cell Thanks! Photography is my side hobby.

@Turok81 Also thanks. And to answer your question about it running hotter. I did notice the area around the Ultra HDMI was hotter, it wasn't as hot as the power supply though. Last time I played was for about an hour. I didn't have my controller extension in so my N64 was off my entertainment center and on the carpet. I don't see it being a problem but only time will tell. There is also a vent directly to the right of the Ultra HDMI adapter.

I'm also looking forward to a gamecube version. Actually any Retro HDMI version. I may pull the trigger on the Hi-Def NES once all the bugs are fixed.
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Controllers - Boxed US (8/8) - Blister (7/7)
Games - Sealed - (9) - Boxed (79) - Lose (77)
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Mantis128
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After viewing some footage of the De-blur mode I have to say I think it makes the games look worse. The blur gives the games a smudged look but it molds the models into something more rounded and organic. The de-blur just makes them look like NES sprites.
Edited by Mantis128, May 10 2016, 01:41 AM.
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Karsty5
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The GCN guy
Yeah, I am excited for this mod because I have an HDTV in a good location and a CRT in a bad location...


EDIT: I also want a GameCube version, my computer isn't beefy enough to handle Dolphin at a great framerate.
Edited by Karsty5, May 10 2016, 11:06 AM.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCd7OLL-vIfr4bMQhasZ6a1A - My YouTube Channel
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Turok81
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Ringworm128
May 10 2016, 01:37 AM
After viewing some footage of the De-blur mode I have to say I think it makes the games look worse. The blur gives the games a smudged look but it molds the models into something more rounded and organic. The de-blur just makes them look like NES sprites.
I feel the same way. Most games look to pixellated with it. It might look ok with some games, but I feel there is a good reason the blur filter was enabled in the first place. Still very nice to have options though. I'm still planning to get one, or at least I was. Looks like it's gone off the market now. Been sold out for months and the supplier has gone quiet.
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Grizzmeister
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Turok81
May 12 2016, 02:32 PM
I'm still planning to get one, or at least I was. Looks like it's gone off the market now. Been sold out for months and the supplier has gone quiet.
That's a shame because I'm sure at a substantially lower price there's probably a sizable market for the product.
"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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andyk2003
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It's still available. The original 'official' modder ground to a halt and has long wait times - but now there are decent modders offering it with a slight wait - a month or so. Here's one.

Edited by andyk2003, Aug 6 2017, 01:48 PM.
My CRT thread:
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Grizzmeister
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If an N64 Mini does eventually get released, it'll be interesting to see how it compares to an original N64 that has the Ultra HDMI mod. Considering that the Mini will probably be substantially less expensive it'll have the clear advantage but availability is also a concern when you're dealing with Nintendo and their Classics lineup.

Nonetheless, I suspect many people are starting to realize that HDMI output on legacy consoles isn't the panacea they thought it'd be. It's nice if the price is right but at a certain point either a CRT or emulation make more sense.
"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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