New CRT TV - need help with the setup for RetroArch


For CRT Switch Res I have been using a 31Khz PC monitor. This was connected to my PC through an HDMI to VGA adapter. It works beautifully at 1920x240p, native scanlines and all. However it’s only 15" and only VGA so I’ve been looking to upgrade.

Today, I finally did that. I got a 30+" (haven’t measured) Sony Trinitron. This thing has Component, S-Video, Composite, and RF for inputs. So I’m going to have to buy another adapter regardless of how this goes… but I’m trying to learn the best way to get this setup for CRT Switch Res.

HDMI to Component? HDMI to VGA to Component? HDMI to Composite? Or should I be using DisplayPort instead? DVI-Analogue is not an option on my PC. The chain must start with either HDMI or DP.

I do have an HDMI to RF adapter for sweet Channel 3 support… but the adapter forces the resolution to 640x480i, so it won’t work with CRT Switch Res.

I know this is talked about around the forums, but using the search I couldn’t find a good “Ok, that’s how I need to set this up” solution.


I believe HDMI-to-VGA and then VGA-to-component or VGA-to-SCART and then SCART-to-Component (but that’s getting pretty chain-y).


Oooph that is a PRICEY adapter. Would that be doing something that an adapter like this one wouldn’t?


Dunno. The important word to look for is “transcoder” rather than “adapter”, as that means that it’s not taking the signal in, processing it and then spitting out a new signal, which typically introduces artifacting and latency. Transcoding, OTOH, implies that the signal is never impeded, it’s just transformed in-line.

However, that’s not to say that a cheap box that calls itself an “adapter” isn’t doing what you/we want, as well. Retrogaming is a niche market, so a lot of device-makers don’t know the lingo.


Ah good to know. I’ll stay away from things like RadioShack HDMI-to-Component for sure then haha. Thanks for your help man, always appreciated.


Ok, so… I think I messed up and this might be more complicated than previously thought… Turns out I bought an “HD” CRT, which is upscaling all 240p content to 480p and de-interlacing… So I’m basically back to square one I’d be in with my HDTV… it just happens to be CRT tech…

I was previously under the impression I basically had to have either VGA, Component, or better in order to do native resolution switching with RetroArch… but it sounds like this stuff is only on HD sets?

This is the 2nd Trinitron I’ve hauled in here and the last one I got rid of 'cause all it had was Composite and S-Video…

I just don’t know what to do at this point… I feel so defeated.


hey, good opportunity there, actually. Those HD sets are still very awesome, they’re just not great for 240p. HOWEVER, you should be able to do the 480p+interlacing shader setup on it and make it look very nice. I would suggest trying that before considering whether to keep it or not.

I believe the only “dealbreaker” issue would be if it’s one of the 100 Hz models that monkeys with the refresh rate on stuff. That would be pretty shitty, I think.


Yes that’s one thing you need to look at closely when getting into the realm of 30 inch+ CRT’s. Immediately research the model.

Ensure they are 480i, not HD. I would instantly click on a huge CRT ad on FB marketplace thinking jackpot but once I researched the model 1080i. No good.

That TV is great for Original Xbox, Wii I would think.

Oh, and there IS a solution to having s-video ports since those are more common than component. The Raspberry pi running Lakka with the retrotink hat gives you great looking 240 content even through s-video. I have one and it’s great.


What hunterk said.

The interlacing shader with 480p is basically identical to to 240p, and is a lot easier to set up, too. As long as you can get the TV to display 480p, you’re good to go, and it has the added benefit of being able to hook up modern consoles (assuming it has an HDMI port).

Don’t give up!


My head is just so spun around from everything the last 2 days of looking at my entire build and my options. I’m just gonna try to hit each issue one at a time here.

480p + Interlacing - I thought about it, and I remember talking to you about this kind of setup a while back, hunterk. In fact this is why I started looking for a component input in the first place. However, this was all before Alphanu reached down from the heavens and gave us the gift of CRT Switch Res. I’ll have to see if I can find an adapter, I know RadioShack sells a cheap one for like 30$ that only does 480p/720p/1080p. Interlacing should look good, but I’m gonna be after those native scanlines as the end goal. Particularly since I want to have my real hardware hooked up as well. Plus there’s the integer scaling vs. full-screen part of it.

Connection Options - I’ve been able to get away with HDMI > VGA for my CRT PC Monitor as it let me do 1920x240 @120hz (31Khz) not perfect (120hz, and small size of 15") but do-able. Now, let’s assume I get a TV that let’s me do 240p/480i properly. My computer has the following inputs. Display Port, HDMI, DVI-D (on the GPU) and also, I just checked and I have a DVI-i “Dual Link” port (w/e that is) on the motherboard itself… so just onboard graphics. i7-4790K 4.0Ghz, for reference.

Which leaves the questions:

  • Does HDMI and/or Display Port and/or DVI-D have the ability to output 15Khz at all?
  • Is Component even necessary for CRT Switch Res?
  • Does the DVI-I port output the analog signal I need?
  • Would converting DVI-I to VGA work for this?
  • Can I even emulate off the onboard graphics at a sufficient level? (CRTEmuDriver, not withstanding)
  • Why is time?
  • Who is God?

I’m gonna take a nap…


That display isn’t going to be good for switchres, which is all about native 240p, which isn’t supported by those HD CRTs.

Yes, HDMI and DVI-D can output 15 khz signals with the right modelines. I do it via the HDMI port on my RPis all the time.

No, component isn’t necessary. However, getting the signal into your TV is necessary, and that’s very difficult to do in NTSC-U region, since we don’t have any RGB inputs (everything is YIQ and strictly 480i until you get to the HDTV era, which has RGB as a valid option in HDMI, as well as DVI and/or VGA inputs on some TVs, but those TVs–like your current one–are 31 khz displays and process the signal just like any other modern HDTV).

Converting DVI-I to VGA works, but again, how are you going to get VGA into a TV?

Yes, emulating via onboard graphics is fine. The only shaders you will need to mess with are very lightweight, and you won’t need anything but software rendering at native res.

It’s turtles all the way down.


I honestly can’t tell the difference between interlacing+480p and “true” 240p on a 31kHz monitor, and I’m pretty much as obsessive as they come.

I actually thought about picking up an HD CRT just to have one CRT that I can hook modern consoles up to AND run Retroarch. I think that could be a pretty sweet setup.


Totally… there are no answers, just questions leading to more questions, ad infinitum.


Your best bet is probably looking for a 15 Khz monitor with RGB input, like a BVM/PVM, or maybe an Amiga monitor. I suppose that’s what most people in NTSC-Land use, in PAL (Euro at least) regions it’s trivial because of the availbility of Scart RGB on standard TVs.


I figured I could use that transcoder you suggested near the top there. Would that not work with that setup?Again, this is all assuming I switch to a 15Khz display.

I found someone in my area offering to hook me up with a JVC-D series SD CRT that he would mod in an RGB connector for. That seems like it could work, right?


The JVC w/ RGB mod sounds like a good option. The transcoder should work, too.


So I just tried the DVI-I onboard graphics port with a VGA adapter on it, hooked it up to the CRT PC Monitor… can’t even get any custom resolutions to work with Custom Resolution Utility. :frowning:

Seems like my only solution is what I had always feared… Gonna have to build a 2nd, emulation dedicated machine. That way I can build in the analogue support, CRTEmuDriver, and not have to worry about how it affects my main gaming rig… At least for an option that allows me to use the same screen my real consoles get hooked up to…

I know it doesn’t seem like a big deal… but that’s like a nail in the coffin of 7 years of work for me… The amount of defeat I feel in resigning to compromise on either the resolution or splitting my build is just… palpable.

I really appreciate all the info guys. I need a drink.


Outputting 15 khz signals via Windows is an extremely specialized activity, especially if you’re trying to pipe it into a NTSC television. It’s simply not realistic to expect it to happen with whatever hardware you happened to already have. Is that something you expected to be able to do 7 yrs ago or did you move your own goalposts?

The modeline stuff is easier with Linux but it’s still tough to get it onto an NTSC display.


The whole project has evolved immensely since it’s inception. RetroArch wasn’t even part of the original design, for example lol. CRT stuff wasn’t initial either.

The original goals were 3 points:

  • One console-style PC that plays everything from PONG to modern games.
  • All accessible with 1 controller, no compromises.
  • Make it seem indistinguishable from real consoles (within reason of course - lag, for example) Which is where CRT’s eventually came in.

I always knew the hurdles would be deep, but I’ve gotten around soooooooooo so so so so soooo many things that I was told couldn’t be done. With how well this worked on my 31Khz monitor I never expected it to be such an insurmountable obstacle to get 15Khz out of the same ports.

I know it’s not the end of the world or anything… but the reality of the situation is for sure hitting me real hard.


I definitely know that feel.

15kHz is very tricky stuff. I gave up trying to do this through Windows a while back, tried a variety of methods including CRU and soft15kHz. A much better solution if you want Retroarch on a 15kHz TV is to use a Wii. That only works for 8-bit and 16-bit stuff, though, so it doesn’t meet your goal of having everything in one machine.

Or… just use the interlacing shader and 480p. Is there some specific reason why this won’t work, or is it just the principle of the thing? I mean, I can relate- I spent a lot of time trying to do the very thing you’re trying to do.


I have a couple reservations about it. The big one is that I only want 1 big CRT in my living room. On it I want all my original consoles hooked up to it running true 240p.

Other things are small, like the concession of integer scaling dropping the screen size a bit for example.