For whatever reason when I was playing Panzer Dragoon Saga I just wondered if the Sega Saturn could produce anything crisper than S-Video. Little did I know I was opening up a can of worms I would not soon be closing. Upon researching I discovered that there was an output called RGB. It was never really brought to the states beyond old computers. The concept is that the Red, Green, and Blue. By separating all the different color channels the resultant picture is much crisper and vibrant. Well not only could I achieve this on the Sega Saturn, but many, many consoles before it. Almost all of them.
The first step was locating the necessary equipment to be able to display this on a US monitor or TV. Like I said, for whatever reason the US didn’t really get this technology. After about a week of straight research trying to find a cheap and relatively easy way to go about doing this I landed on an up-scan converter called the XRGB. It was a Japanese product which allowed RGB input and outputted to VGA. PERFECT. The problem was they were not exactly easy to come by because they were quite the niche product. The only one I could find was the third iteration of the product called the XRGB-3. Being newer and beefier it was somewhere in the vicinity of $400!! Luckily I did locate on eBay for a significantly reduced price. Thank goodness!
The next step was to buy all the RGB cables to go along with the systems. I am in that process currently and it is proving again to be a difficult one. Most cables you can buy today are RGB SCART. SCART is a European standard which differs from the Japanese 21-pin RGB. Physically they are identical, but the pin configurations are different. If you accidentally confuse them you might be in for a pretty big surprise as you will probably break your adapter or monitor. So I needed to locate an SCART to JPN 21-pin then the SCART RGB cables. Such a chore!
The really cool project in all this I am working on is the RGB NES. The NES cannot output RGB by default. There is two ways to get an RGB NES. One is to buy an NES Titler which was made by Sharp in 1989. They run quite high as they are pretty rare. The next is to acquire the PPU (Picture Processing Unit, kind of like an ancient graphics card) from the Playchoice-10. The Playchoice-10 was the NES Arcade unit. If you swap the Playchoice-10 PPU with the NES one and do a little solder and wiring magic you can get RGB out of the NES. Currently, I am in possession of the PPU and am planning out how I want to get the video out and everything. I am really close and should have it up and running in under a month I hope. On top of the RGB output I also want to do the “stereo” mod on the NES coupled with the extra chip input from Japanese cartridges which I have already done. It will be the ULTIMATE NES! I am excited. This whole RGB project is turning out to be a lot of fun. Stay tuned for more updates!