The RetroTINK2x is a $100, zero lag, 480p HDMI scaler for retro game consoles! It performs excellently and there’s now even a 3D printed case available for it!
This page is a short review, but video below is an in-depth look, as well as thoughts from creator Mike Chi:
The RetroTINK 2x has composite (cvbs), S-Video (Y/C) and Component Video (YPbPr) inputs that support signals from all retro gaming consoles. The inputs can only be used one at a time and it’s strongly suggested that you do not leave consoles plugged in at the same time, even if they’re off. As a note, the chip used in this device does not support RGB, so an RGB SCART input will never be an option.
Signals / Resolutions:
The RetroTINK 2x can accept 240p and 480i from all inputs. 240p signals are supported properly, allowing for a completely progressive linedouble to 480p. 480i signals are deinterlaced and doubled also to 480p. As an FYI, 480p is not supported at all as an input resolution.
Any decent quality Micro USB charger can be used to power the TINK2x, as it’s a very efficient device. I was even able to power mine via the USB ports of my TV!
Both NTSC and PAL signals are supported, but no conversion is done. That means you can plug in whatever signal your target device is compatible with, but NTSC might not work on PAL HDMI devices and vice versa.
The RetroTINK2x was designed with simplicity in mind. As a result, there are only two buttons:
The Input button selects between the composite, S-Video and Component Video inputs.
The second button allows you to chose which video mode it’s in:
2x Mode (one light on): This is the standard “linedouble” mode that outputs 480p. This is the mode that’s the system defaults to when powered on.
FIL (two lights on): This mode ads a filtering option to the 480p output.
Passthrough (both lights off): This mode simply digitizes whatever the input signal is, without changing the resolution.
The “FIL” mode is completely preference-based, but the average retro-gamer prefers the FIL mode off for 2D games (SNES, Genesis, etc) and on for 3D games (N64, Saturn, etc). Also, the FIL mode might help reduce flicker with some 480i-only games. RGT85 shows great footage in his review of the 3D games with the filter on.
Here’s an example of the FIL mode vs regular 2x on the SNES:
The RetroTINK2x is a zero lag device, proven using multiple measurements and different devices.
Another great feature of the RetroTINK2x is that it outputs a true 480p60 signal, making it compatible with every device I tested it with! Compatibility is a big issue for retro-gamers, as modern displays aren’t used to the resolution or refresh rate of these older consoles. This device is an excellent help for streamers who want the highest chance of compatibility.
It’s hard to judge what the RetroTINK2x’s competition actually is. There’s no other HDMI scaler in it’s price range that doesn’t ad lag and every other device on the market is much more expensive. The next-best solution is the amazing OSSC that’s more than double the price. I thought to keep the comparison fair, I’d leave the OSSC with the default settings, but it’s not the best representation. Overall, the OSSC is better, but as the picture below shows, when set to 480p mode, they’re both excellent (RetroTINK2x on the left).
I think this is a device for every retro-gamer! People just starting out can use it as their “jumping off point” and there’s a good chance it’ll be all most people need. If in the future people want to upgrade to an OSSC, this is still an excellent device for video capture, as well as just overall compatibility. In fact, I’d go as far to say that (for me personally), buying this plus an OSSC would be a better choice than just a Framemesiter…and it’s still cheaper overall.