Is the Dreamcast SCART cable compatible with HDTVs?

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Is the Dreamcast SCART cable compatible with HDTVs?

Post by MethodGit » Sat Feb 06, 2010 7:26 am

I ask because I'm not sure whether I have a case of "my HDTV(s) is/are shite", or "I bought what I thought was an official SCART cable but which is actually a dodgy knock-off".

Case in point - I recently purchased an official SCART cable off this guy on eBay:

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll? ... K:MEWNX:IT

This is what the cable itself generally looks like.

ImageImageImageImage

Now I'm not sure if it's meant to have more prongs than that, hopefully somebody can confirm.


Now the problem is this - with this cable, the DC will not display properly on either my small HDTV or my folks' big HDTV (both flatscreen) - you can just about make out the outlines of the graphics but it's still generally dark and unuseable for proper gameplaying. With our old, small chunky SDTV on the other hand, it works beautifully.

I'm not sure what to think. It's a totally different issue in regards to Saturn SCART output - the SCART cable which came with my modded Jap Saturn works great on both HDTVs - with one issue being that 50Hz output will display in monochrome - while on the SDTV the screen jumps all over the shop and the graphics barely distinguishable. Is this an issue with Japanese consoles by any chance?


Anyway, hope to hear your suggestions. :)
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Re: Is the Dreamcast SCART cable compatible with HDTVs?

Post by Christuserloeser » Sat Feb 06, 2010 9:04 am

That cable looks like a regular Dreamcast RGB-SCART cable.

Anyway, I am not going to speculate for the reasons as to why it won't work properly, as even if it would the result would be far from perfect.

What you need to hook up a Dreamcast to an HDTV is a Dreamcast VGA adapter which will enable Dreamcast's 480p mode and which is fully HDTV compatible and will give you a crystal clear, pixel perfect image.

RGB-SCART is limited to 480i and pretty much obsolete by now as modern HDTVs aren't compatible to 480i.


Have a look at ebay, there should be plenty of adapters available:
http://shop.ebay.com/dreamcast+vga
http://shop.ebay.co.uk/dreamcast+vga
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Re: Is the Dreamcast SCART cable compatible with HDTVs?

Post by Quzar » Sat Feb 06, 2010 10:43 am

MethodGit wrote:you can just about make out the outlines of the graphics but it's still generally dark and unuseable for proper gameplaying.
To me that sounds like only one color pin (of th r g b) is making contact.
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Re: Is the Dreamcast SCART cable compatible with HDTVs?

Post by DCDayDreamer » Sat Feb 06, 2010 2:08 pm

MethodGit wrote:you can just about make out the outlines of the graphics but it's still generally dark and unuseable for proper gameplaying.
Similar thing happened to me when I moved things from room to room (decorating), I reached round the back of the TV to put the SCART plug in but put it into the wrong socket, I didn't know it at the time but with my TV one socket is SCART AV, the other is SCART RGB. Check your TV manual, it should give you the specs for each of your connectors, you'll need RGB for your Dreamcast SCART cable.
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Re: Is the Dreamcast SCART cable compatible with HDTVs?

Post by MethodGit » Sat Feb 06, 2010 4:28 pm

Christuserloeser wrote:That cable looks like a regular Dreamcast RGB-SCART cable.

Anyway, I am not going to speculate for the reasons as to why it won't work properly, as even if it would the result would be far from perfect.

What you need to hook up a Dreamcast to an HDTV is a Dreamcast VGA adapter which will enable Dreamcast's 480p mode and which is fully HDTV compatible and will give you a crystal clear, pixel perfect image.

RGB-SCART is limited to 480i and pretty much obsolete by now as modern HDTVs aren't compatible to 480i.


Have a look at ebay, there should be plenty of adapters available:
http://shop.ebay.com/dreamcast+vga
http://shop.ebay.co.uk/dreamcast+vga
Yeah, I am aware of VGA boxes already - I even have an old Blaze box I've used on the DC for many years now. :) One issue I have with it though, is that it takes at least four or five seconds for it to bring up the picture after I switch the console on, which can be a tad irritating at times. And of course - from what I can gather - not all games include VGA support. Does each VGA box/brand perform differently to one another?

I assumed SCART would be dead easy to get working on my DC since the RF adapter that originally came with the unit is virtually unworkable now - not that it's bust, but rather I haven't a friggin' clue how to get a display out of it on my HDTV, or seek the correct channel.

DCDayDreamer: good point about the AV and RGB stuff. Not sure if I still have the manuals but I'll go check them out anyways. Though the claim of modern HDTVs not including 480i support does worry me somewhat. I think our TVs are at least a couple of years old, so hopefully that doesn't make them too 'modern'?
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Re: Is the Dreamcast SCART cable compatible with HDTVs?

Post by Christuserloeser » Sat Feb 06, 2010 7:44 pm

HDTVs do display 480i, they just are technically incapable of reproducing the interlacing and thus have to convert the picture internally, which causes several issues (deinterlacing artifacts, lag, etc.)

Feeding your TV a progressive scan signal via VGA is the much better solution.

Oh, and the problem of some games not supporting VGA is usually just an issue of a missing flag not set in the games' boot sector. Most of these games can be tricked into working with the VGA mode by manually switching to TV mode before powering on your Dreamcast and switching back to VGA once the game booted, or by simply unplugging the adapter before powering on and plugging it back in once the game booted.

I don't think the VGA adapter by Blaze is any different than other VGA adapters, as it's the Dreamcast that does the dirty work, not the adapter (which is essentially nothing but a cable).
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Re: Is the Dreamcast SCART cable compatible with HDTVs?

Post by Quzar » Sat Feb 06, 2010 7:51 pm

Christuserloeser wrote:Oh, and the problem of some games not supporting VGA is usually just an issue of a missing flag not set in the games' boot sector and most of these games can be tricked into working with the VGA mode by manually switching to VGA once the game booted.
That's simply not true. Many games (especially PAL ones) have severe glitches or other video issues (especially with in game videos) if forced into vga mode. afaik there are also a few that check after the bios does and refuse to play.

Most glitches derive from the differences in NTSC/VGA/PAL timings. Textures will end up refreshing at incorrect rates, things will change mid-scanline, all sorts of nastiness. Not to mention music will likely drift out of sync.
Last edited by Quzar on Sat Feb 06, 2010 10:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Is the Dreamcast SCART cable compatible with HDTVs?

Post by Christuserloeser » Sat Feb 06, 2010 7:52 pm

That might be the case, but I am not sure which games that would be. Do you remember any specific titles ?

(from what I remember we already discussed this a few month ago and the list of games that couldn't be tricked into VGA was something like half a dozen games in total. I think it's exactly these games that the VGA mode lockout was meant for, while for the others it made no sense whatsoever to omit this flag - there even were games where the original Japanese version had VGA enabled, while the US or EU release didn't... *cough* Acclaim *cough*)
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Re: Is the Dreamcast SCART cable compatible with HDTVs?

Post by Quzar » Sat Feb 06, 2010 10:00 pm

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Re: Is the Dreamcast SCART cable compatible with HDTVs?

Post by Christuserloeser » Sun Feb 07, 2010 10:46 am

Yeah, and here's the entire list of games that can't be tricked into VGA mode: viewtopic.php?p=1003718#p1003718

That's like 19 games ouf of Dreamcast's entire library of games, and those 19 games include variants where there are VGA compatible versions available in other regions.

With that list in mind I said:
"Dude, it's no problem and really worth the 12 bucks."

With that same list in mind you say:
"Not true, because many games have severe glitches or other video issues if forced into vga mode. afaik there are also a few that check after the bios does and refuse to play."

:roll:
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Re: Is the Dreamcast SCART cable compatible with HDTVs?

Post by Quzar » Sun Feb 07, 2010 12:11 pm

Christuserloeser wrote:Yeah, and here's the entire list of games that can't be tricked into VGA mode: viewtopic.php?p=1003718#p1003718

That's like 19 games ouf of Dreamcast's entire library of games, and those 19 games include variants where there are VGA compatible versions available in other regions.

With that list in mind I said:
"Dude, it's no problem and really worth the 12 bucks."

With that same list in mind you say:
"Not true, because many games have severe glitches or other video issues if forced into vga mode. afaik there are also a few that check after the bios does and refuse to play."

:roll:
Those 19 are the 'few' in the second sentence, and that list incomplete. There are also 'many games have severe glitches or other video issues if forced into vga mode.', mostly PAL games.

Rereading what you first said though, I jumped the gun a bit as you did qualify what you said. For some reason I had the impression of much more absoluteness on first read. Sorry.
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Re: Is the Dreamcast SCART cable compatible with HDTVs?

Post by Ayla » Sun Feb 07, 2010 12:25 pm

Propeller Heads & Shirley Bassey ? :mrgreen:
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Re: Is the Dreamcast SCART cable compatible with HDTVs?

Post by Quzar » Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:33 pm

Ayla wrote:
Propeller Heads & Shirley Bassey ? :mrgreen:
Oh you are a 'cool newbie'. Exactly.
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Re: Is the Dreamcast SCART cable compatible with HDTVs?

Post by Christuserloeser » Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:46 pm

Quzar wrote:Rereading what you first said though, I jumped the gun a bit as you did qualify what you said. For some reason I had the impression of much more absoluteness on first read. Sorry.
That's okay. - Thanks!

Quzar wrote:There are also 'many games have severe glitches or other video issues if forced into vga mode.', mostly PAL games.
As far as I know, this is limited to FMV cutscenes. Nephil's list does mention three games to which this would apply: Blue Stinger PAL, Grandia 2 PAL, Dino Crisis PAL.

Quzar wrote:that list [is] incomplete
If you could mention some specific examples it would be really helpful.
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Re: Is the Dreamcast SCART cable compatible with HDTVs?

Post by Quzar » Sun Feb 07, 2010 8:14 pm

In each thread we have on the subject it seems at least one person chimes in with one. Seppuko Panda/Grimlock, who owns every DC game(-1), compiled a list because of this incompleteness. I wish I had a copy...

Anyways, just look to the linked thread and you'll see 4 or 5 games mentioned by name from users I'd consider reliable.
Sweater Fish wrote:
kohan69 wrote:Add Last Blade 2 to that list.
Yep, and the NTSC versions of Bangai-O and Jojo's, too, and KoF: Dream Match '99 as someone mentioned above. Also The Ring and Lack of Love. I saw a list on a Japanese site once that mentioned a couple dozen games (mostly Japan exclusive releases), but I don't think I could find it again.


...word is bondage...
Again though, we're simply talking in circles. There are more games than listed in your favorite list that have problems with VGA.
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Re: Is the Dreamcast SCART cable compatible with HDTVs?

Post by Christuserloeser » Mon Feb 08, 2010 5:47 pm

Well, yeah, we are talking in circles: there is a difference between games that don't support VGA because they don't have the flag set (which I think Sweater Fish Deluxe is talking about, at least in regards to the list of games he mentioned) and games that can't be tricked into VGA because if you do you'd end up with garbage on screen (like Last Blade 2 as mentioned by kohan69).

Nephil's list does have the same problems as any other list: There is no set of rules on how to test things, so entries might be based on backups or on reports by people without a DC-X.
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