Upgrading from s-video to component cables (SNES) - Are my expectations off?

In what was admittedly an impulse buy, I managed to get a decent deal on eBay for set of new SNES HD Retrovision component cables. Hooked them up last night and…was kind of underwhelmed. :frowning:

I took some quick before/after pictures with an iPhone, so maybe there’s room to criticize the photography techniques here, but am I missing anything? At most I’m seeing some improvement in color quality. Am I under-appreciating the differences? Any technical tips, or should I just reset my expectations for this?





On SNES S-Video and Component aren’t too far apart, especially if you don’t have a one chip. Most models give off a soft picture like that.

It’s not really a fair comparison due to the different TVs but this is all I could find:

I guess the difference is pretty dramatic there.

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I always think of it as something like this

RF 2.5/10
Composite 5/10
S-video 7.5/10
Component 9.9/10
RGB 9.9/10 (10 if the cables and RGB output are perfect)

But it varies by console, screen and application. NES/AV Famicom give a solid clean composite so they might be 6.5, but Mega Drive composite is 3.5. Component on some consoles is the only way that supports 480p so it will win if you have a screen that takes it and a 480 line game.

Most SNES consoles have a soft signal, so depending on your screen the jump from S-video to RGB/Component may not be huge, but it’s still there in your photos.

For consumer CRTs, S-video is probably all most people need.

I think D.Lo’s last point is the big one. You’ll need a pretty awesome consumer CRT to get the most out of component and put it on par with RGB via a PVM.

Thanks, guys. I probably should have just saved the money for the Genesis cables when they’re back in stock and stuck with s-video on the SNES.

I would agree with this if you’re not shooting for progressive scan and if you get a good quality S-video cable.

But really, most S-Video cables available today are so poorly made. It’s just easier to find quality SCART/Component cabling in today’s market. So if you are going with S-Video, just know you can get both awesome quality and poor quality depending on the quality of the cable itself. And yes, that’s true with all analogue cables, but especially so with S-Video for some reason. Some of them don’t even carry true S-video and output composite.

The lesson here is to buy from trusted sellers only. Oh and in the case of the OP, yes… S-Video can look nearly as good as Component at 240p/480i.

What version SNES are you using? This can have a much bigger effect than the cables. If you have a “regular” SNES its going to look blurry no matter what. When I upgraded to a 1-chip the difference was huge.

@bodine1231 nailed it. If it’s not a 1 chip it’ll have very soft RGB output which will make it look very similar to Svideo.

That said RGB is a very slight improvement over Svideo in most cases.

It’s an older model, purchased shortly after the US launch. I’m familiar with the 1chip models, but didn’t realize it would make such a difference. I could probably live with svideo on my consumer crt if the component cables aren’t going to have a big impact.

You’ll get a better picture using a 1 chip with s video rather than your console and the hd retro cables.

Looking at the prices of a 1chip model on eBay, I don’t think I can justify the cost right now. I’ll probably end up giving someone a good deal on the cable. Lesson learned. :slight_smile:

Don’t forget if you plan on getting a scaler someday component will be much easier to work with.

I maxed out at S-video for SNES after comparing it to component, I assume both examples were two-chip. I am fine with the quality I get from these cables, but the cheap Gam3Gear cables as well and they were okay but they checkerboarded slightly.

But Peltz is right, decent S-video cables and switchers/splitters are surprisingly difficult to find.

If you get a scaler forget component, no reason to transcode, just get RGB for all 240p machines.

Well I meant he already has the component cables but you’re right, it’s an unneeded step.

I remember when the component retrovision cables came on the scene and I was trashing the idea of them due to the way they were being marketed for use with fixed pixel screens.

Now I’ve come around and am glad they’re an option for those with consumer setups that can handle 240p. I’m definity eating crow on them. More options=better.

They’re cool, but they’re definitely limiting. It’s a great option for people for people with only one console, but as soon as you start expanding your horizons it’s better to be full RGB with a Scart switch and encode the signal at the last step with a dedicated box. Generally speaking, Scart cables and dedicated RGB-Component encoders will always be around to upgrade your setup with, whereas who knows what will happen to Retrovision in ten years.


I agree with you completely.

Any good visual comparisons between RGB /w scart and component on a consumer CRT? At this point I’m not interested in tracking down a PVM and the whole scart setup seems like a hassle. But if the improvement is significant, I’m open to being persuaded. :slight_smile:

The “component” you’re getting from your SNES is RGBs with a built in transcoder. The SNES does not output component.