Collectors Corner

Posted on Jan 7th 2018 at 08:00:00 AM by (Addicted)
Posted under HD Retrovision, Hidden Gems, Sega, Nintendo, 240p, HD, Retro Roundtable

It's January and the cold weather is perfect for staying indoors and playing games. We caught up with Nick & Steve from HD Retrovision to chat about their company and shared passion of getting the best picture out of your retro consoles.

What is HD Retrovision and what are its goals?

The goal of HD Retrovision is to provide people with affordable and high quality solutions for using their original retro game consoles with HDTVs and other future technologies. Even though we're just two engineering nerds running the company out of a basement, our goal is to operate as a proper business with professionally designed products.

What do the HD Retrovision cables do?

The HD Retrovision YPbPr cables for SNES and Genesis tap into the RGB output signals that are available on many of the old school consoles but weren't used in the USA (We got stuck with lower quality Composite Video, and in some cases S-Video). We designed a tiny circuit board that sits inline with the cable and transforms, conditions, and standardizes those high quality RGB signals into a format more commonly found in the USA called YPbPr Component Video.

How did you and Steve meet?

We met in Freshman year of High School, where both of us had Algebra II and 7th period lunch together. We became good friends that bonded over similar interests in everything from video games and Star Wars to electrical engineering and running.

What does it take to launch and make a successful product on Kickstarter?

In short: a lot of work and not a lot of sleep! Before the Kickstarter launched, we had working prototypes that represented years of work. We gauged interest by setting up a booth at a video game convention. We put in a crazy number of hours over several months preparing things like cost estimates, our goal target, reward levels, filming the pitch video, making sure we properly licensed music, proper legal NDA documents for our product testers, and much more. Most importantly, we were committed to delivering what we promised to our generous donors.

What are some of the challenges you have faced?

Too many to count, but fortunately nothing big enough to derail the company yet, as we constantly learn from our challenges and mistakes. We strive to produce nice, professional products, and  hard to appreciate all of the hours that we put into even the tiniest details in order to achieve that result. People might not be surprised to hear that it was a massive challenge to make the circuit board in our YPbPr component cables small enough to be overmolded. But something that is harder to appreciate is the several nights that we had to put in just to get all of the white text labels on the overmold placed optimally for production, or the effort spent on calculating the location of the "this-side-up" arrow on the Genesis 2 connector so it fits without issue in every console variant. Little efforts like these are uncountable and often go unnoticed.

What projects would you like to tackle in the future?

We dubbed our next big project the HDMIzer, which is an analog-to-HDMI converter and upscaler geared towards the retro gaming market. The main intent of the YPbPr cables is to be used in conjunction with this HDMI device, forming a more complete solution as we go deeper into this HD and Ultra HD era.

What makes HD Retrovision cables different/special? (Why not just use a SCART to component converter?)

Several reasons. Our cables are a simple, plug-and-play solution that don't require external power. Since the RGB signals from retro game consoles don't reliably follow the SCART RGB standard, each of our cables is optimized for the console it was designed for. For every console that we produce a product for, we write custom test software for that console which allows us to make measurements of the video output. In doing so, we are able to compensate for those non-standard signals within our cables and adapters in a way that an off-the-shelf converter simply can't. Finally, having the cabling integrated into a single region-free and fully-shielded device avoids much of the compatibility and noise issues which can cause headaches for SCART cable users.

What is your biggest accomplishment during the project or thing you're most proud of?

It's hard to pick just one thing. Getting to the point where we have an online store where we can sell a product that actually exists (and is pretty popular!) is our biggest accomplishment, but that consists of hundreds of small accomplishments along the way just to get there. We love to see our product being enjoyed by many fellow retro gamers who share our passion for a high quality gaming experience.

What was the biggest thing you had to overcome?

We've overcome many obstacles, so narrowing it down is hard. But as an example, designing and building a mechanical test fixture that the factory required to test our cables during and after production was a massive undertaking that took several months. And that's a product that we don't even get to sell!

For more information on HD Retrovision and their products check our their website:

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Great interview, Addicted!  The HDMIzer sounds very interesting, and I hope to hear more from them (and hope they restock their SNES and Genesis component cables) in the near future.
Thanks for the interview, I have the Genesis cables with the Saturn adapter. and it works better then any of the scarts I have, so its my go to cable.  and add an OSSC or a Framemeister to the mix and its pure art.
I really like stories like this. Love to see more.
Awesome interview!  I'm going to have to seriously look into their cables.  I've been on the fence about them, but with having to re-do my game room setup due to a move, it makes sense to think about retooling my setup somewhat, and this might be the ticket.

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