Toro

The Toro is the latest and most advanced video output box for the Sega Dreamcast, made by the Behar Bros.  It's packed with features and outputs every signal the Dreamcast is capable of generating.

 

The Sega Dreamcast is a 6th generation console that can output 240p, 480i and 480p.  Until recently, accessing all resolutions would require two cables:  One for 240p & 480i and another for 480p.  The Behar Bros' have created products that allow for only one output solution and the Toro is the culmination of all of them.

 

Features:

- Retro Console Accessories sells custom cables for the Toro, including an 8-pin Mini DIN cable that connects directly to the XRGB Mini Framemeister.
- Switchable between RGB and VGA output, like their Kuro.
- Built-in scanline generation like their Hanzo.
- With an optional cable, it can be used as a scanline generator for any VGA signal, like their SLRhttps://www.goshopier.com/ShowProduct/show_product.php?id=21106
- Optional sync combiner like their Kenzei.

The product page and manual (will full specs) can be found here and I'll cover the basic features below:  http://www.beharbros.com/#!toro/cfom

 

Video Review:

 

Overview / Pictures:

The Toro offers both SCART and VGA outputs, as well as L/R stereo audio.  Both ports support all resolutions and output video at the same time, allowing for dual-outputs.  Also, both the SCART connector and RCA jacks output audio at the same time as well:

 

I found the Dreamcast cable to be a bit snug, so make sure it's pushed in all the way, or it won't work:

 

Once you remove the top cover, all the features are accessible:
- On the bottom left, you'll see the scanline on / off switch. 
- Next to it is the switch that adjusts the scanline width. 
- The even / odd switch has two uses: When scanlines are on, it adjusts which horizontal lines the scanlines are generated on and when scanlines are turned off, it adjusts the luminosity of the image.
- On the right is the VGA / RGB switch.  This should only be changed when the Dreamcast is off!

 

Here's a close-up of the sync combiner switch.  When it's in the "up" position, the Toro generates an RGBHV signal, which is what's expected in VGA devices.  If you push the button down, the sync is combined from H/V to "S", allowing it to output RGBs in all resolutions, including 480p.  This is extremely helpful for people with RGB monitors that only accept 480p through RGBs inputs (such as many 480p-compatible Sony PVM and BVM's), as well as devices like the XRGB Mini.  If you're not familiar with the terms "RGBHV" and "RGBs", please read the sync page for more information.

 

One last cool feature: The input port is mounted horizontally, so you won't need to remove the top cover to switch between Dreamcast and VGA inputs.

 

Screenshots:

I took screenshots of each mode to compare.  Please keep in mind that the "thick scanlines" option is designed for upscalers, which is why they look may a bit strange in native resolution.  Click on the image for a full-sized view:

 

I also wanted to take screenshots of the 240p mode and used the awesome 240p Test Suite to access the Sonic The Hedgehog background.  This image is the actual size, but you can click on it for a version doubled in size that might showcase the differences a bit better:

 

The scanline feature can even be used with CRT monitors to make 480p games look more like 240p.  While it's not perfect, it's a cool trick that can be used with any VGA source.  Click for full-sized:

 

Summary: 

In my opinion, the Toro is the best choice for any Dreamcast fan that wants every option available.  If you don't need any of the extra options or don't use a SCART switch, something like the Kuro might save you a bit of money.  That being said, I'd prefer any of the Behar Bros products to having separate VGA and RGB cables, as they're all extremely high quality and don't require swapping between cables:  http://www.beharbros.com/#!toro/cfom

Also, here's a direct link to the VGA "scanliner" cable:  https://www.goshopier.com/ShowProduct/show_product.php?id=21106

 

 

Well, that's it! Feel free to go back to the main Dreamcast page, or if you'd like info on mods for other systems, head to the Getting RGB From Each System page. Also, check out the main page for more retro-awesomeness.