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Displaying C64c on a VGA monitor

Posted: Sun Jun 14, 2020 12:14 pm
by ivesy
I thought this would be fairly straightforward but its confusing me so I'm hoping someone out there can help.

I bought a C64C last week and want to have the AV output on my PC's monitor. I thought I could buy some sort of magic box that the s-video would plug into from the 64 and a cable from the box to the VGA input on the monitor.

There does seem to be options - I saw a box -
Fosmon VGA to RCA Adapter on Amazon and asked if this would do but I'm getting mixed responses as to whether it would or would see to my needs.

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated :D

Re: Displaying C64c on a VGA monitor

Posted: Sun Jun 14, 2020 7:33 pm
by Matt_B
You're right that it's not straightforward. I finally picked up my first C64 a couple of years back and went through much the same process.

First up, the converter you're looking at seems to be one that takes a VGA input and outputs S-Video. You want one that goes the other way around.

Secondly, don't expect a great picture from doing things this way. Turning S-Video into VGA is an inherently lossy process and cheap converters make it even more so. The C64 also pre-dates the S-Video standard so it's levels are a bit off, giving even worse results than a lot of other devices when converted.

Thirdly, bear in mind that the C64 outputs a 288p (PAL) or 240p (NTSC) signal that's not supported by a lot of modern monitors, particularly in the former case. Unless you're reasonably sure that the monitor you've got supports it, you might not get a picture at all without adding a scan doubler into the mix.

As such, if you're going to get a converter, I'd recommend getting something like this one that digitizes and upscales. It's HDMI output and it's not cheap, but It'll work and you will get a far better picture than anything that converts directly to VGA:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B086GGD2LD

Re: Displaying C64c on a VGA monitor

Posted: Mon Jun 15, 2020 2:57 am
by ivesy
Thanks Matt. Luckily I have an old sony 14' CRT TV i the loft so might go total old school and use that! The computer is due today so hope all is well. This was a sort of impulse buy but really looking forward to seeing it in action . I'll probably buy a new PSU for it after reading about problems with the original.

Re: Displaying C64c on a VGA monitor

Posted: Mon Jun 15, 2020 4:07 am
by Matt_B
That's one way round the problem.

It's still worth using the S-Video output from the C64 if you can though, because it's so much cleaner than the composite one.

Re: Displaying C64c on a VGA monitor

Posted: Mon Jun 15, 2020 11:02 am
by ivesy
Got the 64 today apart from the colouring being a bit off it's in very good condition. Looks dusty inside so I'll dismantle ar some stage and clean it. I hooked it up to the CRT portable and....its not a great picture and theres an annoying audible noise like interference as well . That maybe the TV. My 10 year old was distinctly unimpressed and I feel a little underwhelmed but the joystick and some games are on their way so we'll see how i get on then. I've decided i definitely want to connect to a monitor somehow and the product Matt has suggested looks ideal if a little pricey. Are there any other alternatives?

Re: Displaying C64c on a VGA monitor

Posted: Tue Jun 16, 2020 3:11 am
by Matt_B
As well as the RF output and the S-Video through the monitor port, there's a third option that's to use the composite output that's also on the monitor port. The picture isn't as good as the S-Video one, but it's considerably better than the RF and most modern TVs still have at least one input for it, so you would be able to plug it straight in if you got the right cable.

Failing that, you might be able to pick up an old TV or monitor with S-Video on the cheap. They're pretty much in give away territory these days so you might find someone prepared to let you take one off their hands.

Re: Displaying C64c on a VGA monitor

Posted: Thu Jun 18, 2020 4:10 am
by nicw
Matt_B wrote:
Sun Jun 14, 2020 7:33 pm
[...]
As such, if you're going to get a converter, I'd recommend getting something like this one that digitizes and upscales. It's HDMI output and it's not cheap, but It'll work and you will get a far better picture than anything that converts directly to VGA:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B086GGD2LD
That product seems like a high quality one, but I'd still try to get one of these, which are much cheaper: https://www.amazon.com/Laptop-Composite ... B075N462CL. Similar ones can be found on Aliexpress, at even lower prices.

C64's output quality wasn't that good either...

Cheers!

Re: Displaying C64c on a VGA monitor

Posted: Thu Jun 18, 2020 5:25 am
by Matt_B
Have you actually tried one of those on a C64? Some of the reviews don't sound very positive:

"Cheap chinese crap. Yes it converts to vga, but there is no color. I thought my c64 was bad until I read the reviews"

"I bought this because of the claims that it would allow the user to connect older composite devices (Commodore, Atari and other game consoles) to modern LCD screens. I get a picture finally, but it is in a very grainy monochrome. I finally found that a Viewsonic N4 , though still not ideal, at least gives me color. The N4 is no longer made but there are other devices out there that should work for others needs."

That's usually how it seems to go with these cheap converters. You might win the lottery and get a good one, but so many of them just give really bad results.

Re: Displaying C64c on a VGA monitor

Posted: Thu Jun 18, 2020 6:45 am
by Antiriad2097
I had a thing like that years ago in the Win98 days. It sat inline on the VGA cable so I could switch between PC or external video. It worked, and let me input composite/s-video for display on my monitor, but the picture quality was worse than an old CRT TV. Much worse, even on a decent multisynch CRT monitor. I just used it to save space, but tbh the RF output of the systems on a TV would have been as good.