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are all AV mods like this?!?!


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I recently got my Intellivision mod back from a fellow atariage forum member and I'm shocked! It's picture perfect compared to the coaxial. Are all AV mods for old systems like this? Why don't more people mod their systems? I love the audio and picture quality.

Edited by segasaturn
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Why don't more people mod their systems?

 

There are lots of reasons I can think of...

 

1) Some people are purists and like their retro equipment

to be in stock/original condition. Some never remove

things from their original packaging!

 

2) Some people collect multiple platforms and simply could

not afford to update multiple machines.

 

3) Some people may not be into the hobby as deep or

spend as much time on an old system, so it simply might

not be worth it to them

 

4) They could be poor.

 

5) They like crappy video?

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^ This ^

 

Plus some machines are more or less hard to mod, either dur to a lack of room inside the shell, due to a shitty output design.

 

Also modding require either some electronics skill or shipping your machine to someone; it's costly (for someone that never soldered as well as paying for someone to do it) and there is a non neglectible risk of losing the machine.

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I think that it's because it doesn't always work out. My 7800 composite mod comes right to mind. The mod was easy to install, with a fairly professional looking board, but the results (while better than coax) were not what I wanted. Muddy, dark and bleedy (standard composite issues) but with huge pokey volume problems.

 

I also had a neo geo "professionally" av modded that came back with an awfully noisy picture. Piece of junk pretty much just sits on my shelf under a saturn now. That was a $250 mistake that ended with me spending another $500+ for an Omega.

 

Really outside of those two, my only other av-modding was a nomad screen replacement. While not at all perfect (it's a composite signal), that *REALLY* delivered the quality increase I was looking for. The 1/3 success rate is keeping me from trying again on my A8. I may risk it on TG-16, since that's more of a non-destructive plug-in "mod."

 

So no, not all AV mods are very good. It's all about who the mod comes from, what their quality standards are, and how much time was spent testing it on all versions of the system. Here's a link to the n-g.com messy modwork thread. Warning, the absolute crap work people have paid good money for is the stuff of nightmares.

Edited by Reaperman
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Having owned an AV modded NES-101 and an AV modded 4 switch woodgrain Atari 2600, both of which were modded by some of the most reputable modders around for their respective systems, I can tell you that without question I will never own an AV modded system again. In both cases the mods made most games look absolutely fantastic and much better than they would have through a coaxial connection. The colors were brighter and more vivid, the pixels were perfectly defined and didn't show any blurriness around the edges, and most games were a joy to behold on them.

 

The keyword here is "most". For every 10 or so games that looked phenomenal on the AV modded consoles there were 1 or 2 that just looked flat out terrible. Dark and muddy colors, massive ghosting around the edges of objects, and the games just generally looked unplayably awful. There didn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to which games looked good and which games didn't on the NES, but the most frequently affected games on the Atari 2600 seemed to be ones produced by Coleco and a good number from Activision as well. Also worth noting is that the music in a number of Activision games on the modded 2600 sounded unpleasantly high pitched and off key with the AV mod.

 

Based on my experiences with an AV modded NES-101 and Atari 2600 (both of which were returned for a refund within two days of receiving them, once I saw how badly they displayed a certain percentage of games) I'd never own another AV modded system again. The mods for both were performed by the best of the best when it comes to this sort of business, and using the best hardware around for the job; and if they couldn't provide consistent visual quality then I don't have much hope for other AV mod systems out there. I'd much rather have a picture quality that looks consistently "good" across all my games than a picture quality that either looks "awesome" or "terrible", with no in-between.

 

Those were my experiences. Your results may vary.

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You forgot 6: people who don't know electronics enough to make their own AV mod and doesn't want to ship.

 

Intellivision is one of the few systems that often don't look much better modded because of crappy internal design. Hacking off RF modulator and fixing the power passthrough to keep the video circuit working would help improve the image quality.

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Personally, I loathe RF output, and change it to composite or better whenever the option is available. Sometimes it's not that difficult (I understand that there are pins right on the back of the Turbografx-16 that can be connected to an RGB source. Handy!) and sometimes it's a nightmare (the Intellivision A/V mod just looks DAUNTING), but it's usually worth it. I've done A/V mods myself with varying degrees of success, sometimes from scratch and sometimes with the assistance of a kit. I can't say I was happy with the way some of them turned out, but hey, it's something to do.

 

If I can't mod a game system for better A/V output, I choose to emulate it instead. Game systems look so much better in emulation than they do on a standard television set. I'm frankly amazed at how stubbornly resistant some people are to emulation, because of the vast gap in visual quality.

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The mixed results are a good reason NOT to mod. Also, RF really isn't THAT much worse than composite IMO. If I really want to sharpen the picture, I just emulate.

 

The best reason to do a mod for me is to learn about the system and figure out how to make it work myself. I usually have more fun doing the mod than playing the console when it is done.

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I like a better picture, but generally have just as much actual, measurable, and subjectively quantifiable fun no matter the type of connection, as long as it performs as well as it ever did. RF is usually fine for the older games, and I think, even preferable for some, especially with a CRT.

 

I do have a modded Colecovision, but I was very conservative about making sure I wasn't risking my ability to play games if it didn't work out, if it stops working, or if some game doesn't work right.

 

I don't really want to spend much time futzing around with my set up, and mods (and emulation as well) often leads to so much unwelcome trudging through the muck; I just want to play when I want to play.

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I also had a neo geo "professionally" av modded that came back with an awfully noisy picture.

 

:?

The Neo Geo have A/V and RGB out right from the console, why would you A/V mod it?

 

 

The mixed results are a good reason NOT to mod. Also, RF really isn't THAT much worse than composite IMO. If I really want to sharpen the picture, I just emulate.

Some console have shitty RF; also in Europe, last gen CRT TV can't get any console signal correctly. I don't even mention LCD TV that will provide you just a garbled shit or even a pure blue screen.

Also, convenience of plugging is to be seen, too, when you have multiple systems : there isn't too much RF selectors, but there are plenty of good composite selectors.

 

And when S-Video or better, RGB is available, it really sharpens the picture without needing emulation.

It can be needed too if you're an avid collector : as I mentionned, in Europe lately most TV do'nt get a console signal correctly... Well good luck finding a TV that will be able to decode NTSC signals through RF :mad: I have only one (a Panasonic Quintrix 100htz, 90cm no less) on the 6 TVs I own, and I get either sound and no pic, or a garbled mess and no sound. Yessshhh.

 

For A/V mod, maybe some people should take a look of what had been made.

 

I have an Atari 2600 with original, legit, Atari-factory made, composite output. I never got any issue whatsoever with any game.

Some of the French Intellivision have RGB out (tho European Intellivision have a RGB able video chip, the US ones doesn't) all of the Colecovision have RGB out. The French Atari 7800 have RGB as well (tho as it flash up black and white, it's likely a composite-to-RGB converter chip, but of excellent quality).

Even older consoles like the Grunding Super Play 4000 (Grunding version of the Interton VC 4000) have RGB out.

The Bally Astrocade was planned to have a RGB board too.

 

Most A/V mods on the net are easy to do, simple mods that just tape out the audio and video signals before the RF box. Unfortunately, most of those signals being made for RF, they are either too weak, too strong, or simply poorly filtered as they know that the RF signal will even the picture and hide most of the details.

Proper A/V "mods" take account of those details and clean out the signals before outputting them.

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I'm a purist and prefer all my systems original. I actually get a good reception on my tv from consoles with RF. The only pre crash system I have that is modded is my Colecovision from Yurkie. My 2600's, 5200, 7800, Intellivision come in great. I like original and playing a system authenticly the way it was made to be played.

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Sometimes the improvement would be so negligible that it's not worth the effort. For instance, the Magnavox Odyssey 2 has a real simple AV composite modification that any Noob could do, but once I hooked it up, I was happy with the picture, so I left the parts I purchased for the mod in the parts bin and called it a day.

 

gallery_35324_1027_59369.jpg

 

This thing is only gets played for maybe 10 minutes every couple of months, so I figured why bother. My other system gets DAILY use and the difference in THAT mod boggling as it was composite to VGA, where the one above was only RF to composite.

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I understand the argument of "authentic" and I keep "easy to come" systems untouched (I keep a NES with his lockout chip working for simple example) however, the "how it was meant to be played" is a moot point.

 

The thing is that back before the 90's, most of the TVs would be black and white (from what I recall reading, color TV SALES superseded black and wite TV sales in the mid 80's in the USA and Western Europe; which mean that at the time there was more black and white TV than color TV, as people started to keep them TV as a secondary one). And, even most color TV wouldn't have any sort of video input. I can't even tell when the first TV was ever sold with video input, excluding monitors.

 

Tho, consoles makers were LIMITED to RF connexion. But I mentionned many examples of consoles that in the US were RF only that were provided a better video connection when going on the French/Euro market; because the SCART was created and made available on some TV in 1977, and became compulsory on every French color TV in 1981.

 

The earlier example is the Grundig Superplay Computer 4000; it's a merely rebadged Interton VC 4000; which was advertized to be compatible with Grundig's high end teleivsion line. That included a RGB connection, that was provided with the unit (in a proprietary format, but that is electrically compatible with SCART)

 

This line started in 1977, and the Superplay was released (according to some sources) in 1978.

 

So is the Grunding "less authentic" that the Interton VC 4000?

 

gallery_35492_963_1282199.jpg

 

Same goes for the Atari 2600. Am I experimenting a lesser or false game play when I use my Atari 2600?

 

atari2600jr.JPG

 

And I can keep putting examples with the Intellivision and Colecovision, and Atari 7800.

 

gallery_35492_963_1069519.jpg

Is that Colecovision less authentic because CBS took on themselves, back in 1982, to build a new video board able to output RGB rather than SECAM RF?

 

What about consoles with multiple output?

Which one is the "most authentic" when there is RF, A/V and RGB on it?

 

Why is the NES top loader in RF only? For better authenticity? Heck no, for cutting costs!

 

If the CRT versus LCD is an acceptable argument, as CRT have a grid effect that LCD lack, the debate on the video output is, IMO, a false point.

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I have done several AV mods on 2600, 5200 and 7800. I generally like the modded output better than RF. That doesn't mean that you can't get a decent picture from RF in many cases.

 

It seems to me that RF output quality varies from unit to unit. One thing that helps is to clean the jack and use good quality cable. If you solder, also reflow the solder where the RF unit connects to the main board and make sure the RF shield ground is well soldered.

 

I actually came across a 7800 the other day that had no RF video out. I cleaned the channel select switch and the RF jack, reflowed the contacts and now the RF signal is so good I can't justify modding it.

 

Oh, I also use the F plug (I guess that is what they are called) rather than the RF switchbox to connect to the TV.

Edited by SIO2
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The thing is that back before the 90's, most of the TVs would be black and white

 

 

Really? If your area was that behind the times, I'm surprised you had video games at all.

 

By the mid 70s, b/w TVs were cheap secondary sets for the kids' bedroom. By 1980, I don't remember anyone even owning a b/w TV unless it was one of the portables that used a dozen D cell batteries (good for camping). In 1988 (my senior year in high school) I bought my 19" Zenith STEREO color TV with COMPOSITE input and audio inputs/outputs. I actually still own it and use it with my 130XE.

 

I have to ask...in the late 70s did you ever gather with a bunch of friends at your house or one of theirs to play Atari or Intellivision on the family room TV?

In the 80s, did you ride your bike or skateboard to the local arcade, pizza place or bowling alley to meet with a bunch of friends and pump quarters into REAL ARCADE GAMES? Do you remember unwrapping 2600 ET on Christmas morning 1982? How about the disappointment of the first time you plugged PacMan into your woodgrain 2600?

Did you use your Atari or C64 and a 300 baud modem to call local BBSs...or maybe even run your own BBS in the mid to late 80s? How many cool 8 bit games did you copy and trade with friends on 5¼" disks?

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Really? If your area was that behind the times, I'm surprised you had video games at all.

 

By the mid 70s, b/w TVs were cheap secondary sets for the kids' bedroom. By 1980, I don't remember anyone even owning a b/w TV unless it was one of the portables that used a dozen D cell batteries (good for camping).

Really, my finger slipped, I meant before the 80's, not 90's.

 

I don't see what the rest of this babbler have to do with me or the thread.

(Tho if you are really so pleased to know, most answers are no. The atari 2600 was a toy by 1984, the closest arcade was 50 km, closest bowling was 25km, I had no friends interested in gaming, had no idea of Internet stuff before around 97, my parent didn't ever owned a Minitel. And I was getting Amstrad CPC tapes from my brother's friends. Happy now?)

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I don't have the kind of perfect reception with rf where I live. It sucks. That's why it was such a dramatic difference for me. I was just surprised the difference it made! I understand how people may not want to spend the money or keep it original. But my results Spoke for themselves at least for me. I didn't know if other peoples results where similar. At least around where I live, I'm glad I got the mod.

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Yeah, that explains it all.

 

I know people who have recreated 1950s malt shops with original restaurant equipment, pinball machines and jukeboxes from that era. I don't tell them that a modern piece of shit mixer, made to look retro, sold at Target it just as good or better than their originals. I also don't tell them that a new replica Crosley jukebox that plays CDs and docks a damn ipod is better than their original juke that plays 45s.

Furthermore, I don't go into an audiophile group and tell them to hack up and modify a 1960s tube amp they paid $15,000 for, or tell them they can hear the same music even better on a modern 7.1 receiver. Also don't tell them to include a subwoofer to their setup which includes 50 year old drivers they paid thousands of dollars for.

 

The atari 2600 was a toy by 1984

 

 

And yet another brilliant statement by someone who was dropping turds in a diaper when then SNES was released.

 

Stop looking down your nose at people when they mention how something was "meant to played"...especially when the person you're replying to actually lived and experienced that era.

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I AV modded my 7800 and Colecovision because the RF was terrible. However, I left my Intellivision alone because the RF is really nice other than some color bleed. I think it just depends.

 

I bought an AV modded Vader and I thought the video was too dark and not better than RF. I picked up an old VCR at a thrift store, ran the AV through that and now it looks really good (better than RF and no longer too dark).

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And yet another brilliant statement by someone who was dropping turds in a diaper when then SNES was released.

 

Stop looking down your nose at people when they mention how something was "meant to played"...especially when the person you're replying to actually lived and experienced that era.

 

I think geography has more to do with Catpix's experience than age. By the sounds of his responses, he's interested in modding because of the variation of video standards in Europe that make it even harder to get old equipment to work with newer TVs. His lack of exposure to the 2600 before 1984 (or ever) is not uncommon for someone in France, and the simple fact that he may have come from a family that didn't value technology could explain why he had a slow start in gaming.

 

Also, I know some of his opinions and background because he has much more than 60 posts to his name. Stick around for awhile and you might encounter a whole new type of malt shop fanaticism that you've never heard of before. How's your collection of Amstrad CPC tapes coming along anyway?

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Also, I know some of his opinions and background because he has much more than 60 posts to his name. Stick around for awhile and you might encounter a whole new type of malt shop fanaticism that you've never heard of before

 

 

What name were you going by 20 years ago on alt.atari and RGVC?

 

Region aside, he comes off as highly arrogant for telling people they're babbling on or their point is moot when they don't agree his ideas of emulation or mutilation of a console.

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