Pixel FX have just opened orders on their new internal HDMI mod board called the Retro G.E.M. This one HDMI board will work with multiple consoles, similar to Fixel’s HDMI board announced last year. The cost for the hardware starts at $120 for the base kit, however you’ll need to spend a total of about $190 to include the software upgrade they’re calling the “shiny edition”. The standard edition can output from 240p to 720p with bob deinterlacing for 480i content. All other features – including 1080p and motion adaptive deinterlacing – will require the upgrade. The Retro Gem is compatible with many PlayStation 2 revisions at launch, however considering that console’s library is 99% 480i, you’ll really want to buy the full version for that one. Pre-order here with shipping expected by September:
POST UPDATED 07/22: This post was fully re-written after the boards went live, to clarify pricing and features. All info above is correct, but let’s go over pricing…
First, while the base board is listed at $99, in order to actually install it, you’ll need to purchase a kit. These are $25 for the PS1 and $20 for all other consoles, making the base board price actually $120 or $125.
Next, it appears that if you buy the “shiny” upgrade now, it’s a $70 upgrade charge, not $80. Maybe you get the software upgrade for $70 if you buy it with the board, but $80 later? Maybe this is a launch day promotion? There are no details as to why the upgrade is cheaper than advertised, but I’ll update the post again if there’s more info.
The software update is tied to the hardware and a permanent upgrade. Also, like all of their previous HDMI-based products, you can update via wifi. That means no creating website logins, there’s nothing tied to a person, no restrictions on selling – Everything is done on the board itself. This makes everything pretty seamless and guarantees that Retro GEM boards that have been upgraded will always stay upgraded.
Right now, at launch, the Retro GEM is compatible with the PS1, PS2, N64 and Dreamcast, with Wii and Xbox support coming. Unfortunately, no more info was given in the announcement: No Morph info, no word on if previous products will continue to be sold and get support and also no mention of the ‘infinity switch’.
If you’d like to check out the launch video for yourself, be warned: There’s more info in this post than in the video and while there’s gameplay footage, there’s no comparisons. You should really just skip this one…