All versions of the PlayStation support RGB-output, however different solutions might be better for your setup. Please read on for more information. As an FYI, if you’re not 100% sure what 480i and 240p are, I strongly recommend reading the 240p page before going any further.
Playstation RGB Cables & Consoles:
Click the links below to skip to each PS console, but you can use the same RGB cable for each:
Sony Playstation RGB SCART Cable – (UK Seller, Composite Video port for light guns)
Recommended solution: RGB Cable (above)
PS1 consoles all output 240p, so using an RGB cable will get you the best picture. I suggest using luma as sync to reduce interference found in cables that use composite video as sync. Either way, if your switch requires csync, you’ll either need to add a sync stripper to the SCART cable, or order a cable with a sync stripper built-in. If just your display (not your switch) requires csync, then ordering the cable as-is and adding a sync stripper right before the display is the easiest option.
Other mods & info:
– If you plan on playing light gun games, you’ll either need an early model PS1 that has a composite video port on the back, or an RGB SCART cable with a separate composite video out (linked above). The games can still be played in RGB, but the light gun itself needs to plug into the composite video port.
– There are many revisions of the PS1, however all seem to output a very high quality RGB signal*. I even posted on a few forums to get other people’s opinions and for the most part, everyone agrees there isn’t a “good” or “bad” revision. As a result, I suggest choosing your PS1 model based on size and features, without worrying about output quality:
– The early model Playstation 1’s are known for excellent analog audio output. Specifically, it’s the models SCPH-1001 (USA), SCPH-1000 (Japan), or SCPH-1002 (Europe). Here’s a few articles that explain more. There’s even a guide on how to turn it into a dedicated CD player.
– Other PS1 models can be modded for optical (TOSLINK) audio out.
– Early model PS systems have RCA jacks on the back for composite video and L/R audio. This comes in handy for people who want to play light gun games, since you won’t have to worry about adding a composite video output to the RGB cable.
– The PS1 menu screen, as well as many cutscenes of games are in 480i, which is why you’ll sometimes see “interlaced flicker” on menu screens. As an FYI, some upscalers might have an issue when switching between modes. Luckily gameplay is in 240p and looks great.
Best output solution for 240p/480i: RGB Cable (linked above)
Best output solution for 480p: RGsB, also known as “Sync On Green”. I describe this in detail below and you can use an RGB SCART cable to get RGsB.
Easier solution for 480p: Component video cables; Also supports 240p & 480i, links to the right –>
The component video encoder in the Playstation 2 is known to be a bit noisy. If your setup only supports 240p & 480i (and you’re already a SCART user), you don’t have to worry about this at all: Just get an RGB SCART cable and skip all the 480p talk in this section. Alternatively, if you’re using a consumer-grade CRT, just use whatever option is easiest for you, as you most likely won’t be able to tell the difference. I’ll explain the better 480p option…
…but before I begin, I’d like to mention that if your setup only consists of component video and HDMI consoles, it’s probably not worth adding all the equipment involved with RGB SCART to upgrade your PS2 experience. I’m assuming most people reading this page already have RGB setups, but if you came here looking for a quick PS2 solution, it’s best to just use component video. Anyway, for RGB SCART users…
Your first choice is to just deal with component video. It’s not a “bad” solution and depending on your setup, using anything else might make things extremely complicated. Many PS2 games don’t support 480p, so unless your equipment already supports RGsB (more on that in a sec), an easy solution might be to use RGB SCART for most games and switch to component for 480p.
If you’d like the best solution, you can use your RGB SCART cable for all resolutions (including 480p) by using a feature called “sync on green”, which is a signal that combines the sync information with the green color line, referred to as RGsB. If you’re not familiar with this term, I suggest reading though the sync page. There are a few ways to use RGsB and there’s a chance you already have equipment that supports it!:
– Some 480p capable RGB monitors can accept a RGsB signal, simply by toggling the external sync button off when RGsB is enabled. Many Sony BVM’s have this option.
– A few video processors, such as the OSSC accept RGsB directly, with no other equipment required.
– Extron Rxi boxes will automatically convert RGsB to either RGBs or RGBHV, without any intervention at all.
In most cases, you’d just add this as the last piece of equipment before your display. This might require a few cable changes in your setup; All cable details are provided on the Extron Rxi page: http://www.retrorgb.com/extronrxi.html
As an FYI, here’s lists of all native 480p PS2 games:
PS1 on PS2:
The PS2 should always output PS1 games in 240p, via RGB or component. I’ve seen a few places claim it won’t output 240p via component, however I can confirm that it worked for me*. It’s worth noting that a few PS1 games aren’t compatible with PS2 systems:
Other mods & info:
– I’ve tested a few different revisions of PlayStation 2 systems and all seem to output pretty much the same exact video quality through the AV port*.
– The PS2 can use the same component video cable as the PS3.
– Some games support 240p natively. I tried to compile a list of 240p-compatible games, however there’s just too many to acquire all of them. Here’s a few sites with lists other people have made:
– If your PS2 is chipped or softmodded, you can use the GSM Selector to try and force the game to output all possible PS2 video modes: 240p, 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i. Results may vary and some games won’t work at all, unless played in their original mode.
– You can also try patching PS2 iso’s to force certain video modes as well: http://www.racketboy.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=417571
– I’ve read online that some people have modded their PS2’s to output VGA (specifically motherboards older then GH-015), which bypasses the component video encoder, producing a better picture. I haven’t stumbled across a PS2 that I could perform this mod, but if anyone has more information, please let me know. Here’s more links:
PlayStation 3 – Recommended output: HDMI
PS3 can output games from 480i – 1080p, but not 240p. As a result, HDMI is the best solution.
Playstation 3 also supports the same resolutions via component video output, although most displays won’t accept 1080p via component, only 480i, 480p, 720p and 1080i.
As an FYI, if you use an RGB cable with a PS3, you’ll only get 480i, so in most cases, this is not a good solution.
Other mods & info:
– All PS3 systems are backward-compatible with PS1 games, but none run in 240p, only 480i.
– If you have an RGB monitor that supports 720p and HD SDi, you can use an HDMI to HD SDi converter to play games in the highest quality on your monitor. I’ve played many games in 720p on my 32″, 16:9 Sony BVM-D32E1WU.
– Many people try to fix their “blinking light” PS3 issues with a heat gun. While this may work as a temporary “band-aid”, it could cause more damage then good. The only actual fix is to repair the connection between the GPU and the motherboard, nicknamed “reballing”. Unfortunately, I haven’t found a reliable reballing shop that I’d feel comfortable recommending. To make matters worse, there are many scam places that claim to reball your PS3, but just reflow it. I’ll update this page if I ever find a good store.
– Only three models of the PS3 are backward-compatible with PS2 games and not all are equal. I believe the first two models have full PS2 hardware compatibility, but the final backwards-compatible model uses some hardware with partial software emulation. I’ve heard many people complain of lag, slowdown and other issues when playing PS2 games on a PS3, but other people have no issues at all. It may be that only the hardware-compatible versions are worth using for PS2 games, but I haven’t had time to check. I hope to update this page someday with full tests and more information. For now, here’s what I think are the different compatible units:
Hardware-based backward compatibility
Hardware-based backward compatibility
Partially software-based backward compatibility
My final Playstation thoughts:
At the top of this page, I recommended that everyone uses the original system to play these games (PS1 via RGB & PS2 via component), but everyone’s situation might be a little different. For example, if you plan on using your PS2 with an RGB cable, then PS1 games should play perfect with very few exceptions. This is also good if you don’t have the extra space for both consoles. There’s many other scenarios where my suggestions might not fit your setup, but everything listed above is accurate for those who want the absolute best experience from each of their PS consoles. Please feel free to contact me if you disagree, or felt I missed any points.
*There are many models available of each PlayStation and each model has tons of board and chip revisions. All the information on this page was tested by me personally (and I continue to test consoles as I can), however it’s not feasible that I’ll be able to test every scenario with every possible combination of PS revision, cable and game combination.