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markboston36

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So i know this is going to have composite and vga inputs the problem is i have nothing that can display either of these formats. would there be the possibility of adding a monitor to this? or maybe someone can post where they have found either a composite or vga tv/monitor. i did a quick search on alibaba and found this: https://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/haina-2020-wholesale-CKD-SKD-opeitonal_62278750236.html?spm=a2700.pc_countrysearch.main07.22.143e5b875J0e8M

The only issue i have is its a bit on the large size. i would like something between 8-12 inches, for those of you who are using retro pc's(general term) what kind of monitor are you using? Keeping with the focus of this project i do not want to get an old tv or monitor from the 80s. I have thought about doing that and i may but not for this project. 

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I went to a thrift store and found a VGA 17" LCD monitor for $10 - you might be able to find 15" monitors the same way or on Craigslist; however, I also bought myself a 10 inch monitor with multiple inputs (including composite and VGA) on AliExpress.

 

Edited by Jeff Pare

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7 hours ago, markboston36 said:

So i know this is going to have composite and vga inputs

Well, obviously you meant not input, but output. And Commander X16 does not have composite output. Only VGA.

 

7 hours ago, Jeff Pare said:

I also bought myself a 10 inch monitor with multiple inputs (including composite and VGA) on AliExpress.

This is a nice little monitor, but it's not that great for a retro expirience like X16, bacuse it's a wide screen monitor, not 4:3. You would have an ugly stretched picture by deafult. But some wide screen monitors have aspect ration function. So if this one has it, you may switch aspect ratio to 4:3, thus monitor will add two black bars on the left and right of the picture, making visible area 4:3 with no picture stretching.

 

Another important point is X16 outputs resolution of 640x480. So if you use LCD monitor with resolution which is not a multiple of these values, you will get a blurry image, because pixels will not match. So it is best to find 640x480 monitor (if such even exists) or 1280x960 (which is also not easy to find). Other approach is to choose very high resolution monitor like 4K or heck 8K - its resolution would not be multiple of 640x480, but it would be so high, that blurry effect would be almost unnoticable.

That is why lots of retro tech users choose to use 4:3 CRT monitors. CRT is analog and does not have fixed pixels on screen, thus does not care much about resolution, so it will display 640x480 nice and crisp. Besides, X16 case is a horizontal desktop type, and can host a CRT monitor on top of it, thus saving valuable space.

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2 hours ago, Cyber said:

And Commander X16 does not have composite output.

According to the FAQ, and the pictures we've seen so far, the VERA will have NTSC Composite and S-Video output.

Another thing to consider: most North American TVs that have component input also support composite video, usually with the Y (luma signal) component jack (usually green instead of yellow like most full-time composite video jacks). So, check your TV again.

Also, there are converters for VGA to HDMI or DisplayPort, but they are usually no cheaper than a thrift store monitor, which almost always have VGA inputs still.

So, you have no shortage of options, especially in the US.

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Unfortunately, the only thing I wish could be revisited is the 640x480 resolution, just because it's proving hard to find new monitors that will natively support that resolution. Folks support 5:4 multiples close to that, and 16:9 multiples close to that, but when it comes to 4:3, the closest you tend to see is 800x600 or 1600x1200. I don't understand why monitors worked out that way, but... well, they did. A pity.

That's hindsight for you, though.

Edited by StephenHorn

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8 hours ago, SlithyMatt said:

According to the FAQ, and the pictures we've seen so far, the VERA will have NTSC Composite and S-Video output.

Truly my bad. It will. Sorry for confusion and thanx for correction.

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knew i wasn't crazy for thinking it had composite. the preliminary search i did yesterday didn't turn up much but ill keep looking. i wonder if any company especially Chinese still make CRT monitors? ill do some searching and if i find anything ill post it here. i still think the easiest thing would be to include a monitor as an option it doesn't have to be very big but something.

I did buy a 7 inch monitor from amazon for my rpi and now that im thinking about it i think it had multiple outputs on it.  

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https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B012ZRYDYY/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

it has vga so im set. its a bit on the small side but it would work in a pinch if i cant find something else. Could this monitor be included as a option with the x16? as i said it doesn't have to be big just something so people can get started on day one and  not have to worry about a monitor. 

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8 minutes ago, markboston36 said:

i wonder if any company especially Chinese still make CRT monitors?

I don't see any profit in doing that anymore, even from China. Thrift stores don't even take CRT computer monitors anymore (some still take CRT TVs, though).

I see listings of "new" CRTs on Alibaba, but I seriously doubt they are actually new, or even new old stock.

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11 hours ago, Cyber said:

This is a nice little monitor, but it's not that great for a retro expirience like X16, bacuse it's a wide screen monitor, not 4:3. You would have an ugly stretched picture by deafult. But some wide screen monitors have aspect ration function. So if this one has it, you may switch aspect ratio to 4:3, thus monitor will add two black bars on the left and right of the picture, making visible area 4:3 with no picture stretching.

 

Another important point is X16 outputs resolution of 640x480. So if you use LCD monitor with resolution which is not a multiple of these values, you will get a blurry image, because pixels will not match. So it is best to find 640x480 monitor (if such even exists) or 1280x960 (which is also not easy to find). Other approach is to choose very high resolution monitor like 4K or heck 8K - its resolution would not be multiple of 640x480, but it would be so high, that blurry effect would be almost unnoticable.

That is why lots of retro tech users choose to use 4:3 CRT monitors. CRT is analog and does not have fixed pixels on screen, thus does not care much about resolution, so it will display 640x480 nice and crisp. Besides, X16 case is a horizontal desktop type, and can host a CRT monitor on top of it, thus saving valuable space.

Oh, sure. The 17" LCD monitor I got is 1280x1024, which is hardly perfect but good enough for me. The smaller monitor is also good enough for *me* as I like the smaller size - I'm fine with black sidebars, not as good image quality and I've used an SX-64 and Apple //c with the 9" monitor back in the day. I have no interest going with a CRT, though I get why many would like to use one.

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13 hours ago, Cyber said:

Another important point is X16 outputs resolution of 640x480. So if you use LCD monitor with resolution which is not a multiple of these values, you will get a blurry image, because pixels will not match. So it is best to find 640x480 monitor (if such even exists) or 1280x960 (which is also not easy to find). Other approach is to choose very high resolution monitor like 4K or heck 8K - its resolution would not be multiple of 640x480, but it would be so high, that blurry effect would be almost unnoticable.

That is why lots of retro tech users choose to use 4:3 CRT monitors. CRT is analog and does not have fixed pixels on screen, thus does not care much about resolution, so it will display 640x480 nice and crisp. Besides, X16 case is a horizontal desktop type, and can host a CRT monitor on top of it, thus saving valuable space.

Well, that's something i do not completely understand.

Let's say we have an old 15" LCD and the resolution is a typical 1024x768. 

1024-640 = 384 and 768-480 = 288 and those leftover pixels could be filled with the border colour.

Thus we have a fixed 640x480 resolution and a left/right border of 192 pixels + top/bottom border of 144 pixels around it.

Couldn't VERA handle that automatic "resolution filling/fitting"?

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32 minutes ago, DoubleA said:

Well, that's something i do not completely understand.

Let's say we have an old 15" LCD and the resolution is a typical 1024x768. 

1024-640 = 384 and 768-480 = 288 and those leftover pixels could be filled with the border colour.

Thus we have a fixed 640x480 resolution and a left/right border of 192 pixels + top/bottom border of 144 pixels around it.

Couldn't VERA handle that automatic "resolution filling/fitting"?

It's the monitor's job to add a border or scale or do whatever, not the device sending the signal.  Being able to fine tune the X and Y size isn't very common on modern monitors, usually they'll try to adjust it automatically.  On my monitor, for instance, it has the option to add black borders on the left and right for non-native aspect ratios, but not on the top and bottom.  So it will automatically scale to fit vertically.  And since my Y resolution isn't a multiple of 480 (it's 1080), it would probably look blurry.  Like Cyber said though, for really high resolutions like 4k or 8k, this isn't as much of an issue.

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28 minutes ago, Ender said:

It's the monitor's job to add a border or scale or do whatever, not the device sending the signal.  Being able to fine tune the X and Y size isn't very common on modern monitors, usually they'll try to adjust it automatically.  On my monitor, for instance, it has the option to add black borders on the left and right for non-native aspect ratios, but not on the top and bottom.  So it will automatically scale to fit vertically.  And since my Y resolution isn't a multiple of 480 (it's 1080), it would probably look blurry.  Like Cyber said though, for really high resolutions like 4k or 8k, this isn't as much of an issue.

Hm, but if the monitor doesn't do it's job, the device could compensate that. E.g. most of those mini retro consoles offer some decent scaling performances (even with CRT effects).

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If you're still stuck for choices you can use any HDMI display by connecting the X16 to a RetroTink or similar upscaler.

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I'm planning on using this with an Asus 27" monitor that has VGA, DVI, HDMI, and DisplayPort inputs.

There are still lots of VGA monitors out there... you do NOT want to mess with the composite display mode; composite is only good for 40 column graphics or black & white 80 column text - not 80 column color. 

Here is an example of a sub-$100 monitor with VGA and HDMI:

https://www.amazon.com/Acer-SB220Q-Ultra-Thin-Frame-Monitor/dp/B07CVL2D2S/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=vga+monitor&qid=1603408597&sr=8-3

 

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7 hours ago, markboston36 said:

Actually, that one is pretty terrible. It's actually a portrait display turned sideways, so there are some really distracting effects due to the different brightness levels your eyes see when looking at it horizontal. Do NOT buy that monitor, or any of the other ones based on that display panel.

 

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On 10/22/2020 at 7:18 PM, TomXP411 said:

Actually, that one is pretty terrible. It's actually a portrait display turned sideways, so there are some really distracting effects due to the different brightness levels your eyes see when looking at it horizontal. Do NOT buy that monitor, or any of the other ones based on that display panel.

 

didn't really look at it in great detail. i meant in terms of specs its better. guess the search continues. 

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If someone really wants a composite monitor, I believe I have a couple from the 80s I'd be willing to part with for the cost of shipping materials and shipping  - I'd need to fire them up, first, to see if they work. Note that they were given to me, and I'm pretty sure they're monochrome.

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On 10/21/2020 at 2:07 PM, markboston36 said:

what kind of monitor are you using?

I have two old Samsung "SyncMaster" 19"  4:3  VGA monitors.  A 190s and a 912n.  They both work very nicely; one of them is an auxiliary monitor to my Mac Mini.  I reckon the X16 may share that monitor via a switch, perhaps.

I'll have to look up the specs to see if they're a multiple of 640 x 480.  I assume they aren't of course.

Ah yes, they're both 1280 x 1024.  So, not quite, and so maybe a little blurry and stretched.  H'm.

Edited by rje

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16 minutes ago, rje said:

Ah yes, they're both 1280 x 1024.

640 * 2 = 1280
480 * 2 = 960
So if by any chance your monitor can add 32 pixels black bars on top and bottom, that would be rad.

I have an 8" LCD TV with VGA input. And while it does not have apect ratio function, it has option to manually change visible area.

Too bad such functions almost never mentioned in monitor (or TV) specs, and you need to get a hold of device to realize if they are implemented.

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