What is CEV2TV
CEV2TV is the acronym of CGA (Color Graphics Adapter), EGA (Enhanced Graphics Adapter), VGA (Video Graphics Array) to Television set. As the name evokes, CEV2TV is a video converter with significant features.
With CEV2TV you can use your standard television set (CRT, LCD, OLED, Plasma, etc.) as a monitor to display CGA, EGA and VGA video formats.
CEV2TV does not alter both the original video resolution and the scan frequency achieving high quality video output.
A question could be reasonably asked:
“Why another video converter? There are already several video converters on the market.”
The answer is simple: “Because none of the video converters on the market has the features of CEV2TV at the price of CEV2TV. Some video converters have some features of CEV2TV, other video conveters have other ones, but any of them has every feature of CEV2TV at the price of CEV2TV.”
Story of CEV2TV
CEV2TV was born about 2 years ago from a very simple and little circuit which was able to separate horizontal and vertical scanning signals from a composite scanning signal.
After few days we had to face an issue: how to replace exhausted CRT monitor of an industrial knitwear machine. We hoped to find a new CRT monitor with the same characteristics of the exhausted one at a low price. After few weeks of research we understood that no standard and low priced CRT monitor was compatible with the industrial machine. Thus, we created the first prototype of CEV2TV.
After months of work to increase the video quality we created the second prototype of CEV2TV but it still wasn’t fully compatible with CGA/EGA palette.
At the end we created the ultimate version of CEV2TV with DAC and FPGA, finally fully compatible with CGA/EGA palette.
CEV2TV is able to display on standard television set:
- the Color Graphics Adapter (CGA);
- the Enhanced Graphics Adapter (EGA) when used at 200-line mode;
- the Video Graphics Array (VGA) when used at 15kHz.
Unlike the majority of converters on the market, CEV2TV does not alter the original video signals and it does not change the scan frequency signals using scan converters or video scalers. Scan converters and also video scalers alter video frequency and resolution reducing video quality. In CEV2TV the entire process occurs in analog domain. There are not Analog to Digital Converters (ADC), that ensure maximum video quality and native resolution of video.
As CEV2TV doesn’t touch the horizontal and the vertical scanning frequency of original video input, it continuously monitors the input signals and the output is enabled only when a compatible signal for TV is available. If the video input changes at an incompatible scan frequency, CEV2TV disables the output instantly.
CEV2TV enables the video output when the input:
- vertical scanning frequency is between 45 Hz and 68 Hz;
- horizontal scanning frequency is between 14.8 kHz and 16.2 kHz.
CGA and EGA use digital signals to drive the monitors. In particular, CGA could be connected to dedicated monitor using a 4-bit digital (TTL) “RGBI” interface while EGA could be connected to dedicated monitor using a 6-bit digital (TTL) “RgGgBb” interface. The 4-bit of CGA allow a 16 colors palette while the 6-bit of EGA allow a 64 colors palette. Official monitors, like the IBM 5153, convert the digital information, coming from CGA/EGA card adapter, to analog in a strange way. Clearly, this strange conversion was not a contort idea of IBM engineers. It was adopted because it guaranteed the generation of two important colors: the brown and the dark grey. Compatible monitors displayed the brown as dark yellow and the dark grey as black.
Only few very expensive video converters are able to display correctly the brown and the dark grey. CEV2TV converts the digital signals to analog with a dedicated Digital to Analog Converter (DAC) that can perfectly produce the entire palette of CGA and EGA: the brow is brown and the dark grey is dark grey.
Because CGA and EGA use digital signal for RGBI/RrGgBb signals and for synchronization signals, CEV2TV has got a FPGA and a dedicated R-2R ladder DAC.
CEV2TV produces three types of video output:
- RGBS (Red, Green, Blue, Composite Sync) + audio stereo through SCART connector;
- composite video through yellow RCA connector;
- S-Video (separate video) through the 4-pin mini-DIN connector.
Moreover CEV2TV is equipped with:
- SCART connector video output;
- dedicated digital to analog (DAC) converter;
- stereo audio RCA connector input;
- composite video RCA connector output;
- 4-pin mini-DIN separate video output;
- power supply connector 7-24 VDC input;
- switching power supply with 3 linear voltage regulator to minimize voltage ripple;
- independent RGB trimmer to adjust for CGA/EGA and VGA intensity;
- VGA connector output;
- CGA/EGA connector output;
- Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA);
- DIP switch configuration.
Where to Use CEV2TV
CEV2TV can help you to resolve a lot of problems. For example, with CEV2TV you are able to:
- use old PC with CGA and EGA display adapter with broken or missing dedicated monitor;
- replace old or exhausted CRT monitors of industrial machines with cheaper LCD monitor;
- play amazing games developed in CGA and EGA at native resolution;
- watch the video generated by VGA card adapter configured at 15 kHz on your television set;
- play arcade games on CRT monitor using MAME or other emulators to obtain the best video quality and native resolution.
How to Use CEV2TV
CEV2TV is really easy to use. Just plug the input and the output and watch your TV.
Cost of CEV2TV
CEV2TV is not a simple board. We have been working on it for about 2 years before reaching the wished high quality of the output video. The high quality components of CEV2TV are not the cheapest on the market. For example the only FPGA on board costs about 8€ as well as the RGB encoder, the Sony CXA2075, costs about 8€.
CEV2TV is designed and produced in Italy. Every single CEV2TV video converter is tested before shipping. We ship from Italy.
Present on KickStarter
CEV2TV has been presented on KickStarter. Watch the video.