Capture devices for Japanese Retro Computers

So I have noticed there is a clear lack of video captures from original hardware most notably online. It troubles me as most videos on Youtube appear to be from emulators like Unz, XM6, Neko Project etc.

I have taken the time to take some snapshots using the USB3HDCAP card from Startech. I used multiple inputs and outputs. These photos are not indicative that “every other capture method appears wrong”. It’s just that from my experience using video processors I came with specific results. By no means did I use some crazy scientific method. If you find something better shoot me an email or leave a comment. I used Columns to test all my video processors because I know columns has a 24khz “press start” screen, and two different 15khz screens when running through attract mode. I’m not worried about 31khz at all.

Towns IPL Screen on the right is cut off. In my experience the X68000 LHES screen for V4 image is also cut off so this is not unheard of. Most games run fine when started though.

Above are the screenshots from the OSSC without any types of optimal timings or profiles as I don’t have them. For the most part OSSC seemed acceptable but would cut the screen off on certain resolutions. I’m certain this can be unfucked with optimal timings but I cannot be asked to meticulously calibrate pixels as I generally just want to play the game. I’m certain with constant timing adjustment it could output fine but I find that inconvenient. If there could be a timing profile for that 24khz mode that was cut off it might be perfect honestly.

GBS 8200 V3.0 with GBS Control custom firmware.

It was jittering for some reason and I think there could be some sort of sync trouble? However the capture card was fine with the resolutions. It’s just the jittering that I cannot capture from a screenshot. I think if the jittering was somehow eliminated this $60 cost kit (DIY) will be the cheapest and potentially best method to feed into capture card.

Please buy my friend Rama a coffee if you enjoy using the GBS CFW as he wrote the firmware on an ESP8266.

15khz desktop screen
Columns attract mode at 15khz

The GBS eventually adjusted itself to cover the screen and not show white bar.

Most resolutions with Columns would show fine. It should be noted that GBS-8200 with custom firmware cannot downscale to 15khz with FMT (and likely the same for all Japanese computers). I tried with multiple INPUT resolutions and even when manipulating output resolutions I couldn’t get capture card to sync properly and it would hang.

Direct VGA Captures

This method completely relies on the USB3HDCAP capture card and uses zero scaler. I wanted to see what type of processing the capture card could perform without an additional video processor in the front. Well, it doesn’t process anything of course but you can still view everything in the Streamcatcherpro software. Some sources were fine at 15khz and some resolutions it simply did horrible. I was very surprised the IPL screen was showing.

Perfect 24khz resolution screen
Some input screens for 15khz run fine. Some are bad like attract mode.

However the capture card didn’t know what to do with Columns during gameplay. It also had this exact problem with attract mode.

Perhaps with White desktop Towns computers or other Japanese computers that output 31khz it will be totally fine to input raw VGA. However most FMT owners have towers and require tri-sync (15-24-31) setup. This also goes for X68000 especially and PC98.


Very excellent screen
Desktop appears fine

XPC4 was the only video processor that didn’t require ANY tweaking or adjustments in settings. Zero. You can either output RGB or DVI and I tried both. DVI (even though the images say RGB on them) appeared to be compliant for the capture card without trouble with Columns and Alltynex even!

It appears that in my experience XPC4 suites my needs the best when left on RGB out (also DVI out) and in 1024×768 or 1280×1024. It takes almost 1 entire second for resolution to switch but it does it every single time without fail and doesn’t require calibration or crazy timings. I was sincerely hoping that the GBS would win in this comparison but it doesn’t appear so.

Please let me know in email, twitter, discord, or comment below if you have found a better method or any other ways to capture Japanese retro computers to a capture card. Also if there is a different capture card you can recommend that is NOT the elGato let me know!

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