Retro game consoles on 4K TVs?

I’m fixing to pull the trigger on a PS1 and an N64. My 4K TV has AV components, so those systems shouldn’t have any issues connecting, correct? Or is it a little more complicated than that?

As much as I just want to emulate, I feel like there’s no replacement for the real thing lol.

I believe they probably would connect fine, but usually the image quality is pretty bad when connecting retro consoles to HD or 4K TVs, and there could be input delay.

I personally use an upscaler called the Framemeister to connect my SNES/N64/Wii in order to alleviate those issues. It is pretty expensive compared to some other upscalers, but it is apparently one of the best options around and it’s worked great for me so far.


This taken from Quora would summarize your question at the basic level, as I think your television plays a huge role into the equation:

Depends on what inputs you have. Let’s start with the basics.

If your HD TV is old enough to have Svideo, your almost all set. You can buy N64 Svideo cables for cheap off eBay. Svideo is going to have much better video quality than the regular yellow cables. It won’t increase the resolution, but it will be less blurry and the colors will be much better.

If your TV only has component or HDMI, you can get an Svideo to Component or HDMI converter. It’s a bit more expensive but it will preserve the improved video quality. Usually they are around 30 USD. This is the best you can do without modifying the N64.

There are mods that add native RGB output and by extension, HDMI output. But they are going to be pretty pricey and may require technical expertise. This is only recommended for die hard N64 enthusiasts.

I think shyguy is very accurate in regards to input lag as the first thing that pops up when I was researching this for you was pretty much always revolving around the non-playability of retro consoles on HDTV and depending on how you hook up your console to the type of TV you have.

1 Like

Really you are going to just be looking at frame rate loss and widescreen blur if there is a great deal of static movement going on.

The N64 I believe only ran at max 30fps (or up to 30hz), and at the time somewhere around 320/240 resolution. Check your 4k and see what its max specs are and at least go about moving the resolution down when you use the console.

Generally a 4k will be around the 120hz rate and since you can max run at 30hz, and even much less for a split screen game, (mario kart) ect, this is what is generally referred to as input lag.

I highly doubt you will have any issues at all, and id run with it. The amount of poor quality picture you would get from a box tv and then moved to a 4k I would imagine would cancel each other out. Id mess around with the resolution a bit and if the tv has a game mode, make sure to run in that mode.

1 Like

If you’re going retro system also go retro TV. Might as well at that point. Especially now since people are literally giving them away. I keep several CRTs in my garage for this reason. Takes me back to being a kid playing in my living room.

1 Like

I would also recommend getting a CRT for those types off games. Maybe not Wii but anything GameCube and prior. It enhances the experience. I know they still use CRTs at Smash Bros Melee tournaments. In that case, it’s because there’s no delay between an input and the screen showing it. That’s a problem with newer TVs that you have to watch out for. Some have noticeable input lag, which CRTs (at least every one I’ve seen) don’t have.

1 Like

Sounds good! Thanks for the input guys.

I actually think I have a CRT at my parents place so i might try to give that a go. I was hoping to keep everything to my game room TV, but I guess an old TV with those systems would give the room a little more cred.