Said simply, RGB is the best possible video output you can get
from classic game consoles. The image is sharper, the colors are more defined and it's overall a much clearer
picture. The best way I can describe RGB vs some of the other methods of playing classic game systems is
this: It's just like looking through a clean window vs. a dirty one. In many cases, it's that
big of a difference.
Almost every classic game console can output RGB. Some
people in Europe have always used RGB with their consoles, but most people in the US never bothered to find an RGB
solution for their game consoles in their heyday, as we didn't have RGB as inputs in our TV's. At that
time, the only way to use RGB in the US would have been through an RGB monitor, which was very
expensive. Luckily, you can now find most of that equipment for a fraction of their original cost and there's
even new equipment available that allows you to display RGB signals on newer TV's. Now almost any
enthusiast can afford a great RGB solution for their classic game console! Check out what a difference
switching to RGB can make (click for full-sized):
RGB is simply an analog video signal. Here's how it
compares to the other analog solutions:
I’m sure most of you
remember hooking your old game systems up to your TV with an RF adapter: One of those things
you’d screw into the cable input, set your TV to channel 3 and start playing your
game. RF is the lowest quality analog signal you can get from your game
consoles, since it jams all the video info, including mono audio into one
A more common way to connect classic consoles
is through composite video (the Yellow cable in the bundle of Red and White & Yellow
cables). While it's much better then RF, composite video still jams all of the video
information into one cable.
Some consoles support S-Video, which
separates the video signal into two parts. This is a large jump in image quality, but
there's still a lot of information being transferred through each
RGB separates each of the colors (Red, Green and Blue) into their own signal, which are then
blended together on your display.
A common misconception is that the Component Video output from
your Nintendo Wii (or your old DVD player) are RGB. While it’s true that component video separates it’s
output to red, green and blue cables, it’s actually a completely different signal that was called YPbPr.
Another thing to note is that in the confines of this guide,
RGB does not mean high resolution; All game console RGB signals are "standard definition".
It’s not the resolution of RGB that made it better, it’s the fact
that the information for each of the three colors used to present video on a monitor was sent to the monitor
How Does Your Game
Console Output RGB?
Most game consoles are able to output an RGB signal via
a SCART cable without any further modification.
SCART was a European cable standard that allowed all kinds of signals to pass through it; Composite, Component,
S-Video and RGB could all be passed through the same cable. Since that was the only video cable standard in
mass production that supported RGB, that was the only way video game manufacturers could make RGB
cables. As a result, unless you make your own cables, all the equipment you’ll need for RGB on retro consoles
Now that you're familiar with RGB, please read the section that explains sync.