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Comment Re:it can't be for distributing copyrighted materi (Score 1) 150

If you've been living under one of these large heavy boxes for the past 5 years you might find yourself out of a roof due to someone snatching it up - retro gaming is big right now. Don't be surprised if you see people happily lined up to take them heavy old clunkers off your hands (or your nearby curb).

Comment Re:I don't (Score 1) 507

I don't know what a PC monitor would do with a VGA input signal with a horizontal frequency as slow as 15.6 kHz

With CRT VGA monitors, unless they belong to the very rare 'old multisync' breed you either get an 'OUT OF RANGE' message or a distorted raster complete with horrid screeching noises emanating from the clearly very unhappy horizontal deflection circuits, it might even result in damage to the display. It's an electrical limitation of the deflection circuitry.
With LCD monitors, one of the following happens:

  • The monitor displays the picture perfectly and might even identify the resolution/scan rate correctly on the OSD, which is all kinds of awesome.
  • The picture is displayed but with gross H/V size/positioning errors which might or might not be able to be corrected through the OSD controls. Could still be usable if picture quality is not a top priority.
  • The picture appears heavily distorted (repeated, parts missing or graphically glitched) usually with the OSD complaining about it on top.
  • No picture, OSD shows 'OUT OF RANGE' message. Sorry, better luck next time.

Many LCD monitors and TVs from many brands can take a VGA style 15kHz signal but since it's not advertised anywhere finding it out is a matter of trial and error. If you search for something like 15kHz compatible LCD monitors you'll find tons of user-created lists of working displays scattered among forum threads and wikis from the retro home computer and console communities (the people most interested in such a thing). If you wanted one you could scour these lists so you know what to buy, or you could arm yourself with a portable 15kHz VGA source and test every LCD in sight - you'll hit the jackpot sooner than later.

Getting smooth, tear-free 50/70 Hz scrolling from LCDs is IMO a much more difficult quest.

Comment Re:Always-on-top "Test mode" warning (Score 1) 268

For years I had the Test Mode message plastered on my desktop because I used a webcam without Windows 7 drivers so I had to manually modify the Vista driver to get it to work - never really bothered me to be honest. It was on the bottom right corner, in small white text, barely visible over a typical desktop wallpaper. I can totally live with that.

Comment Chroma Subsampling (Score 1) 286

There's a difference between LCD TVs and LCD monitors: chroma subsampling. If your LCD TV doesn't support 4:4:4 chroma subsampling using it as a PC monitor will yield mediocre results - text and other fine details won't look right even if you're using the panel's native resolution and disabling any "image enhancement" options the TV scaler may provide. This is why a 1080p LCD TV might look like absolute garbage next to a similar 1080p PC monitor when displaying computer graphics even though they take the same input signals, have the same resolution and probably the same type of LCD panel.

Comment Re:Nigeria has had TV since the 1970s (Score 1) 93

Old NTSC TVs can be modified to display PAL signals by tweaking the vertical scan rate, the RF/IF stages and by adding a PAL color decoder board in the right place. Sometimes the external board isn't needed at all, the set's own chassis has the spots to add the missing PAL decoder components, this is especially true of cheap Asian made TVs intended for worldwide export. Countries like Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay had a lot of experience in modifying US NTSC-M or Brazilian PAL-M imported TV sets into their unique PAL-N standard, as in every TV repairman worth his/her salt could perform such a modification. Russia was in a similar situation during the early 90s, old Soviet-era TV sets were SECAM only, and since Russia didn't have an official video game market consoles entering the country were PAL. A decoder board could be installed by your local TV tech if you wanted to play video games in color on your old TV.

Newer CRT TVs with full microprocessor control (two or one-chip designs) are either NTSC/PAL compatible from the get-go or just need a slight software change to get them to display PAL signals. Again, this is especially true of cheap, mass produced designs intended to cover most of the world's TV standards with few to no alterations. Line voltage is also a non-issue nowadays, most switching power supplies are able to take any voltage between 90 and 260V AC, just replace the plug on the end to fit your outlets.

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