Louis from ZezRetro and I just followed up on our previous livestream, testing S-Video and Composite from a MiSTer. The stream was long and filled with “roadblocks” as always, but I wanted to sum up the conclusions here. I made the (above) stream unlisted, as what I say below the links here should sum it all up, but feel free to watch if you’re really board 🙂
RetroCastle Case (Saturn MiniDIN): https://www.aliexpress.com/item/3256802518204182.html
MikeS’s Work: https://github.com/MikeS11/MiSTerFPGA_YC_Encoder
HDMI to VGA Adapter: https://amzn.to/3VjsVQa
Saturn S-Video Cable: https://insurrectionindustries.com/product/sega-saturn-s-video-y-c-cable/
More MiSTer Info: https://www.retrorgb.com/mister.html
At the moment, I’d still calling getting composite and S-Video from a MiSTer “complicated”. It’s improved quite a bit since the last livestream, but definitely not something people can understand without some explanation. So, here’s where we’re currently at:
Mike’s CVBS / Y/C cores:
Mike Simone is maintaining a clone of almost every core, that natively supports composite and S-Video. You can access these by enabling them under extra cores in update_all, or manually download them to your MiSTer. Then, you’ll need to build one of Mike’s boards and either connect it to an I/O board, or use Direct Video and the HDMI to VGA adapter linked above.
While this sounds complicated, it’s actually all very easy. The only reason this isn’t “the way”, is simply because it’s not yet – and may never be part of the main MiSTer build.
If the MiSTer team feels this is a good addition, this will be the final and best solution. Until then, it’s still awesome, but something you’ll have to maintain yourself…and hope Mike has time to keep up with the cores.
Retro Castle’s I/O Board Kit
Ivory from the Retro Castle store has an IO board kit with a Sega Saturn DIN. This kit converts the RGB output to composite and S-Video, with mixed results.
If you get a quality, shielded S-Video cable, all original cores will look good. It’s not as good as Mike’s method, but if the goal is to connect to a consumer CRT with an S-Video input, this is a perfectly fine solution that you’ll never have to worry about.
Composite video also works, but it will never look perfect when converted from RGB. That said, Ivory added a variable capacitor that you can use to tweak the signal. I found the output to be sharper than a stock Genesis, but with a bit more shimmering / noise on the screen. As far as RGB to Composite converters go, this is the best I’ve ever tested…but once again, that conversion will never be as good as composite generated in the core like Mike’s method.
So overall, if you want an S-Video solution right now, get the Retro Castle case. It’s not quite as good as Mike’s, but it’ll work with almost every core and they’re readily available.
If you want composite, that’s up to you. Maybe skim the livestream, check out what I did and see which choice is right for you? Hopefully the core MiSTer team will integrate everything someday…
…and here’s the first livestream. It’s outdated, but I wanted to put it here for reference: