Better PlayStation Video with RGB SCART

đź“… October 15, 2016
ff7-1-ps1-scart-comboYearning to play games on an original PlayStation console but dislike the poor video quality?

Most modern HDTVs available today only offer HDMI and maybe component video inputs — neither of which the PlayStation (PSX/PS1/PSOne) supports.

However, the PSX outputs RGB (red/green/blue) signals through its video output port to produce the best colors and picture quality.

How can we use RGB with today’s HDMI televisions and monitors? This requires two items: a PSX SCART cable and a SCART-to-HDMI converter. With these, we can achieve almost pixel-perfect sharpness and colors from a nearly 20-year-old gaming console.

Items Needed

SCART-to-HDMI Converter
This is the device that converts the RGB SCART into 720p/1080p HDMI for modern HDTVs.


The package seems to be of the generic kind. Power supply and instructions are included. There is no on/off switch on the unit, so you must either leave it running all the time or unplug it to turn it off.

There are a number of these devices that appear to be the same rebranded item, such as the CoolDigital SCART Converter and this generic SCART converter. They should all perform the same function.

SCART cables are available for a number of consoles, so you must obtain one for the console you wish to use. A PS1/PS2/PS3 RGB SCART cable connects to the PlayStation, and there is a large SCART connector on the other end that connects to the SCART converter.


SCART converter shown with PS1/PS2/PS3 SCART cable on the right. The SCART connector is HUGE compared to HDMI.


SCART cable and power connected.


PlayStation (PSX/PS1) connected via a SCART cable to the converter for HDMI output. This arrangement produces picture quality superior to component video on the PS2 or HDMI on the PS3. For PS1 games only.



SCART, which stands for Syndicat des Constructeurs d’Appareils RadiorĂ©cepteurs et TĂ©lĂ©viseurs, is a European format (also available in Japan with some differences). RGB is the best signal quality available from a PSX console, but we need to use SCART to get it. The inferior RF, composite, and S-Video signals are practically non-existent on HDTVs today, so we must use a converter that converts SCART to HDMI.


PSX SCART can be hit or miss. Some have reported issues with some PSX SCART cables not working with some PSX consoles. For myself, these two items work perfectly together, and I have never experienced any issues. Games play fine on an HDMI monitor.

There are also reports of some HDTVs being incompatible with the converter. I used a computer monitor, and everything worked well. No problems.

I tested the converter with these PSX consoles:

  • SCPH-1001
  • SCPH-5501
  • SCPH-7001
  • SCPH-9001

and they all worked fine. SCART video quality was the same for each.
“Isn’t this a cheap converter?”

Yes, but coming from S-Video — the highest PSX video quality that I had available at the time — RGB SCART is superior by leaps and bounds. The picture quality is almost — almost — as close as the pixel-perfect sharpness of PSX emulators. Some fuzziness is noticeable but nothing compared to composite or S-Video.

There is a far better converter called the Framemeister that reportedly produces video quality as good as an emulator with astounding sharpness, but this device is prohibitively expensive. For my needs, I am more than happy with the lower-cost device despite its flaws.
“What about the PS2 and PS3?”

Yes, the same PSX SCART cable was 100% compatible with the PS2 and the PS3. The PS2 also outputs RGB signals. SCART image quality on the PS2 is better than component output. However, make sure to set the PS2 to RGB mode in its settings or else you will see a green screen.


PlayStation 2 connected using SCART. The video signal will appear green if the PS2 is set for component output while using a SCART cable.


Set the PS2 configuration to RGB when using SCART. Be careful! If you want to restore the component output, change the setting back while still using SCART. RGB mode outputs nothing through component output, so you will see a black screen.

There is no point in using SCART with the PS3 since the PS3 already outputs HDMI. I did not see any PS3 video improvement using SCART.

“Black borders?”

Yes. You will see black borders around the image. The image will not expand to fill the entire screen. However, the borders are the least prominent with the PS1 + SCART. The PS2 and PS3 produce thicker black borders.

“How about high-definition rendering?”

No. The SCART-to-HDMI converter will not turn PS1 games into high-resolution, anti-aliased marvels. That would require an emulator, such as RetroArch. This device only upscales. That is, it converts the 240p/480p signal into 720p/1080p HDMI. If a game is pixelated, then it will still appear pixelated at 1080p through HDMI.

“Is the sound quality any good?”

NO! This cheap SCART-to-HDMI converter does offer sound output through a 3.5mm jack and the HDMI output itself, but the sound is distorted, noisy, and has annoying “clicking” sounds in the audio.

For best results, use an SCPH-1001 PlayStation that has the RCA stereo audio jacks on the back. Connect your audio equipment directly to the PlayStation for the cleanest sound.


For best audio results, use a PlayStation console that has dedicated RCA stereo output jacks as shown. The AV Multi Out also outputs sound, but it is used by the SCART converter. SCPH-1001 and similar consoles have the RCA audio.

“Really 1080p?”

For my setup, 1080p would not work. The converter cycles through a number of different output resolutions with the press of a button, but 720p was the highest that was compatible with my monitor and the PlayStation SCART conversion. 1080p resulted in a “No Signal” message.

“What about Silent Hill?”

Reportedly, converter units like this blank the display for a few seconds when switching resolutions in-game. (The video returns after a moment.) This is most noticeable during the game Silent Hill when the game switches from 240p (gameplay) to 480p (item menu).

I did not have a chance to test this game, so I do not know how this unit handles in-game resolution switching. Just something to keep in mind.

“Is there any input lag?”

No. I tested a few twitch-response games like Ridge Racer, and I could not find any input lag. The on-screen action matched controller button presses exactly. Whether or not all games are like this I cannot say, but for the few games I tested, all of them were instantaneous.



“What do screenshots look like?”

Lacking a proper video capture device, I used a camera to take screenshots. Real life image quality is better, but the camera is fine for showing a general comparison. I tested Final Fantasy VII using six different techniques:

  • PS1 + SCART
  • PS2 + Component (Connected to HDMI monitor via component-to-HDMI converter)
  • PS2 + SCART
  • PS3 + HDMI
  • RetroPie 4 + Normal Resolution
  • RetroPie 4 + High-Def Rendering

Final Fantasy VII is an excellent game for screenshot testing because the game can be paused and the disk removed and used in another console to load the same scene.


PS1 + SCART (left) and PS2 + Component (right). Same FF7 scene. Picture was taken with a camera, so the image shows more bloom than actually exists. The SCART with the original SCPH-1001 PSX console produces much more vivid colors and more pixel-perfect image quality than the PS2 using component output. Impressive! However, the PS2 quality could be affected by the cheap component video converter I was using. Regardless, the SCART was still sharper than the PS2 component video, which was definitely blurry.



FF7. PSX + SCART. Dithering and pixels are visible. This makes text much sharper than composite or S-Video.



FF7. PS2 + Component. The thin vertical lines only appeared with PS2 + component video. SCART showed no such lines.



FF7. PS1 + SCART (left), PS2 + Component (center), PS3 + HDMI (right). Of these three, PS1 + SCART produced the sharpest picture. The PS3 was actually the blurriest and showed the most border. For original PlayStation games, the PS3 is the worst performer despite using HDMI. This picture was taken with a camera, so the differences are not as apparent. In real life, the PS1 + SCART picture “pops” out with vibrance and clarity. Not perfect clarity, but superior to the others.






PS2 + Component



PS2 + SCART produces an image as good as PS1 + SCART, so this is the same image used for the PS1 + SCART screenshot.



PS3 + HDMI. Yuck! Despite using HDMI output at 1080p, the PS3 produces the worst picture. The entire scene is blurry and hard on the eyes. The PS3 also produces the most black borders around the scene. This picture was taken with a camera, and it actually looks better in this picture than in real life.



For comparison, here is a picture taken using a camera with the game running RetroPie 4. RetroArch fills the entire screen without any black borders if configured to do so.



RetroPie 4 Screenshot. Taken using RetroArch. This is as good as the game gets at normal settings. By comparison, PS1 + SCART comes very, very close to this level of image sharpness and quality.


Here is RetroPie 4 rendering the scene at a higher definition. The SCART converter cannot perform this feature.


For a final comparison, here is an emulator rendering the same scene in high definition. The SCART converter will not do this either, but the PlayStation’s RGB output produces satisfactory results using real hardware.



Great device. Yes, it has limitations, such as poor audio quality, black borders, potential issues with some SCART cables and HDTVs, but it works well for me and I am more than happy. A Framemeister would certainly be better, but spending an exorbitant amount of money for one inexpensive console seems like a waste.

RGB SCART is certainly the way to go. Despite the large, bulky SCART connector, the video quality is impressive.

And to think that the original PlayStation console was capable of doing this all along…




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