Component Video For The Commodore 64

I love the fact that the retro computer community refuses to give up on a classic like the Commodore 64. We have seen the C64 Reloaded; a modern motherboard for the C64, the Keyrah; which allows you to use your old C64 or Amiga keyboard with a modern computer, The Tapuino and SD2IEC; which allows you to emulate a cassette or floppy drive using an SD card for storage, and now we have component video for the C64.

Released in 1982, the C64 is easily the most iconic home computer ever. So it comes as no surprise that its video output it poor by todays standards. With s-video being the best it can do, it makes for poor viewing on LCD screens, amplifying the visual artifacts.

The VIC-II chip inside the C64 is responsible for creating the chrominance signal that is used for the analog video output. It is impossible to convert it back to any form of RGB or another component signal. The only option is to bypass the chrominance/luminance signal generation of the VIC-II chip.

c0pperdragon has come up with the perfect solution; an FPGA based board for the C64 which can output YPbPr video. The mod consists of two parts: A VIC-II adapter that sits between the VIC-II chip and the socket and sniffs all the needed signals, and an FPGA board that takes those signals and provides a YPbPr output via a 4-pin TRRS jack.

The board replaces the RF modulator on the C64 and uses the existing holes, so no need to butcher a perfectly good case to make it fit and work.

C64 Enhanced Video
It looks like you get a decent image on a modern screen without the need of an upscaler.

The unit generates 3 different video modes which can be switched via an onboard slider switch:

  • 240p/288p progressive 60Hz/50Hz
  • 480p/576p progressive 60Hz/50Hz using scanline doubling
  • 480p/576p progressive 60Hz/50Hz with visual scanline effect

c0pperdragon hasn't started full production of the units yet, but you can contact him via his GitHub page where you can learn more about the project and when the units will become available.

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