[stella] VGA vs. NTSC

Subject: [stella] VGA vs. NTSC
From: Glenn Saunders <krishna@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 5 Sep 1997 02:05:53 -0700 (PDT)
On Fri, 5 Sep 1997, Piero Cavina wrote:
> I like much more the real 2600 on a TV than any emulator. This is not

Let me say that I hate RF.  A 2600 would look much better on composite, or
even better in split video.

However, it's true that the 2600 was designed with NTSC video in mind as
far as color is concerned (PAL was an afterthought). 

VGA monitors do a poor job of presenting any displays which look like a
TV.  This is also a big problem with nonlinear editing and computer
animation with trying to get WYSIWYG on a VGA monitor when you are
planning to output to video.

Not only that, but VGA has square pixels and NTSC is 4:3 so I suspect that
emulators do not compensate for this, resulting in slightly warped pixels.

NTSC color tends to be "compressed" compared to RGB.  Blacks are greyer,
colors more saturated, whites are whiter.  NTSC can't even faithfully
represent 24-bit color because of this.  Any brightness over 211 in the R,
G, or B or so will bloom out your monitor.

Any "antialiasing" is just blurring due to TV's having such poor dot
pitch and the artefacts of pumping the signal through RF which degrades
the signal signifiantly.  I'm not so fond of this.

> Wouldn't it be possible for an emulator to emulate also the "good
> imperfections" of the tv screen? I've never seen any program doing that.

I doubt it.  Maybe if they get faster they can fix the aspect ratio by
moving to a higher resolution and interpolating it down.

This is one good reason to advocate for a Playstation 2600 emulator, or a
better 2600 emulator for the Amiga, since both output at NTSC frequecies. 

Emulator vs. real thing is an interesting thread.

I much prefer the real thing because it feels that much more authentic.
It's "I'm getting a 20 year old machine to do that???" which you just
don't feel when you pump the new games to an emulator.  But I'm biased.  I
only have PC's fast enough to run the emulators at work, not at home.

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