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I have a few home-microcomputers that use SCART to output both audio & video to TV screens such as the Atari STE 1040 and the Sony MSX Hitbit 501.

I don't have room to store old cathode-ray screens as they are really huge in comparision to modern-day LCD screens.

I know there are adapters to convert SCART into HDMI, but they are quite expensive (around 40-50€ for a good one).

Using this method I could convert SCART to HDMI/Jack and then convert HDMI to VGA. But this method doesn't seem like the most efficient one.

Is there an easier way to convert SCART video/audio ouput to VGA video and Jack audio?

9

Black-and-white hi-res from the 1040 STE on a VGA monitor should work with a direct connection and no tricky electronics at all (just the adapter cable)

Atari                                VGA
GND      13----X---- GND   ---------4 GND                      
Sense     4----+                      
                     +--------------2 green
                     X--------------1 red  
Monochr. 11----------X--------------3 blue
Hync      9-------------------------13 hsync
Vsync    12-------------------------14 vSync

(Connect GND and Sense on the Atari side to signal "Monochrome" to the Atari, and replicate Monochrome to red, green and blue on the VGA side.) In case you have a multi-sync monitor that will also be able to display mid- and low-res, a switch that goes into the sense line is useful to be able to switch between color and B/W mode.

Mid and low-res on the Atari cannot be displayed by a normal VGA monitor, you need to have a multi-sync monitor that can sync to a 15kHz video signal, or an external device like a scandoubler that re-creates a true VGA signal from the input signal with VGA frequency (31kHz). The same is true for an old MSX as well.

  • Thank you, it's interesting. I'll try this for the Atari, as having a way to use it in high-res on LCD could be interesting, even if it's only monochrome. – Informancien Oct 10 '16 at 14:04
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    As stated this will not show medium and low res modes which the vast majority of software (games) run in. Also this doesn't address the HitBit requirement. – Robin Elvin Oct 10 '16 at 15:53
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The problem you have is that most home computers of that era output TV standard signals which VGA is not. As you've mentioned there needs to be some conversion from one standard to the other.

A popular solution that I happen to use is the Gonbes GBS-8200/GBS-8220 boards. They aren't perfect and some people hate them but they are reasonably cheap and I think they do an acceptable job.

You will need to create a SCART input connection as these boards come with cables ready to be connected to whatever you like (as they are designed for arcade boards)

Here's some info: ArcadeControls.com And a video: Atari ST and GBS-8220

You will probably need a resistor in the SCART cable for the SYNC signal. You can read about it here (don't worry that it is for the Amiga, it applies SCART in general) Alternatively if you want to have a more comprehensive solution you can add a Sync Strike

7

You have three problems to overcome:

  1. Separate sync from composite video or CSYNC into H and V to get an RGBHV output.
  2. Upscale/scan double from 15 kHz to the 31 kHz that most VGA monitors accept.
  3. Separate out the audio.

The $89 Ambery 15Khz RGB CGA to VGA RGBHV Converter Scaler is a device that appears to do the first two, but I have no experience with it. You would still need to wire up adapters for your STE and MSX computers.

Edit: Robin Elvin's answer provides information about using a cheaper ($20-25) GBS-8200 or 8220. That's probably the way to go.

5

SCART is a connector standard, not a video standard. I think it can carry composite, s-videos (chroma/luma), analog RGB, audio and possible other formats depending on what is producing the signal. So there isn't a one size fits all to 'convert' SCART to VGA.

However, without checking, if memory serves, I think the 1040 produces analog RGB, so if the scan frequency is right, it should simply be a matter of wiring up a SCART to VGA adapter (red,green,blue,hsync,vsync)...

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    A diagram of which pins to wire up to which would be great! But it's a useful answer anyway; these things are often much more complicated than this! – wizzwizz4 Oct 10 '16 at 6:40
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    The problem here would be most LCD VGA monitors don't support a 15kHz input. There are rare LCD monitors that do, but they're hard to find plus without a deinterlacer you'll still have flicker in interlaced modes. – mnem Oct 10 '16 at 8:20
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    @mnem Here is a list of some LCD monitors that support a 15 kHz input. – snips-n-snails Oct 10 '16 at 17:44
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Another possibility would be to use a cheap USB video capture device, such as this one. (You'll also need a SCART to composite video adapter, which you can buy or wire up yourself).

Connect the video oputput of your Atari (or whatever you have) to the USB video capture device, the USB capture device to a modern PC, and then you can see the video output on whatever display you can connect to your computer, and you'll have the audio as well. (You may need to use a media player such as VLC if the software bundled with the capture device doesn't support e.g. fullscreen display of the input.)

The benefit of this solution is that it's cheap (assuming you already have a computer), and you can also "record" the video output. Beware that depending on the device / computer, this may introduce some delay or lag.

  • I didn't think of that before, it's cheaper than SCART to HDMI converter and has several unique features. I might try this out, thank you for the idea! – Informancien Oct 11 '16 at 7:45
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For my STE, I go straight from RGB to VGA using:

This is a clean solution without the need for scan convertors / line doublers and provides a razor sharp picture

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