Using the SLG3000 scanline generator

[widgets_on_pages]slg3000 scanline generatorThere are lots of articles on the web concerning this neat little bit of kit and plenty of reviews, so I’ll keep the introduction short. The SLG3000 is a fun little gadget that adds scanlines to modern displays. At the most basic level this gives games a retro look and feel. It can also improve the image by hiding the imperfections in the output of many modern scalers, which tend to be optimised for video and not videogames. I’m sure you’ve all seen the screenshots and the videos, so you know if you like the scanline look or not.

What I wanted to do on this page was not review the SLG3000 again, but talk a little bit about how to use it. The SLG3000 accepts a 31khz VGA signal, and outputs the same signal but with scanlines. The initial problem of course, is that only the Dreamcast and the Xbox 360 natively output 31khz VGA. You might also be using a TV that has no VGA input, or a scaler that only outputs HDMI. To get the most out of the hardware a little planning may be required.

Where to put your SLG3000 in the chain

When planning your setup with the SLG3000, keep in mind that it will work better if it’s placed before any initial scaling. The exception to this, of course, is for 15khz sources (i.e Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis/Megadrive etc). If you feed the SLG3000 a 15khz signal, the scanlines will be double width. What you should definitely try to avoid doing is putting the SLG3000 after upscaling from 480p/640×480 to 1080p or your panels native resolution. Let’s consider a few typical cases.

Megadrive/Genesis, Super Nintendo, Playstation 1, Sega Saturn and any console with 15khz RGB output:- If you are trying to connect an older games console to the SLG3000 then you will need to first linedouble/upscale the machines 240p output into 480p. The exception to this is interlace content which is a whole article in itself. Interlace is most common on the PS2 and on PAL Gamecube games. It can and should usually be avoided altogether on Xbox 1 and any console that came afterwards.

Of course, if you’re plugging your games console directly into the TV, your TV will be taking care of upscaling (and invariably doing a bad job of it, unless its a CRT). What you need is an external upscaler. More on those later.

Gamecube, Xbox 1, Wii and any console with component out:- If you can get progressive scan output from your component video console then all you need to do is convert component into VGA to feed into the SLG3000. There are a number of component to VGA transcoders on the market, from the super expensive but great quality Curtpalme models to more affordable models available on E-bay. Whichever one you choose, it’s the same principle, component video in and then VGA out, to your SLG3000.

Xbox 360, PS3, PC and future consoles:- While you can use the Xbox 360 VGA cable to output VGA, you might prefer to use HDMI with your 360 for improved picture quality on modern games that you don’t particularly want to scanline. The PS3 of course, cannot output VGA at all. The best solution for modern, HDMI connected equipment is to use a simple 1×2 HDMI splitter. This device will take one HDMI input and give two identical HDMI outputs. From there, you feed one output into your TV or processor as normal and then take the other output and feed it into a suitable HD-Fury device, which converts a HDMI signal into VGA. You can then feed the output signal of the HD-Fury into the SLG3000 and then into your TV or processor. Now, when you want scanlines simply change channel from HDMI to VGA and scanline to your hearts content. You will probably want to turn your console/PC’s output resolution down to either 480p or 720p for best results and remember the HD-Fury 2 is not compatible without some other device (e.g an Extron RGB interface) to change the sync polarity.

A note on higher resolutions

You should always aim to feed 480p signals into your SLG3000. If you feed in say, 720p, the unit will still work, but the scanlines won’t be properly, authentically aligned with the pixels. It can still look nice, depending on the game and your own preferences, of course.

Suitable scalers

If you need an external scaling device for your setup, there are a number to consider.

The CGA2VGA Scaler PCB:- This popular affordable scaler takes a 15khz RGB input and outputs a 31Khz VGA signal. To use it with classic consoles you simply connect them to a sync stripper (such as the Sync Strike) and then feed the output of that into the scaler. In this situation, you would attach the SLG3000 to the output of the scaler. For best results, set the scaler to scale to 640×480 and then let your TV/Monitor upscale the rest of the way.

XRGB2/3:- Although the XRGB series include scanline generators of their own, they only work with 240/288p content. Adding a SLG3000 to the output of your XRGB3 means you can now add scanlines to 480p and even 480i material too. For instance, you can route your Gamecube, Xbox, PS2, Wii and anything that ouputs component video through your XRGB3, which will then transcode the signal into VGA and make it compatible with the SLG3000. In B1 mode you can even scanline interlace content, though of course you get considerable screen flickering.

DVDO Edge, or similar scaler with HDMI output:- In this setup, integrating the SLG3000 is a little tricky. You will need to convert the output of the scaler into VGA. A HDFury device is required for this. Care must be taken however, since the HDFury 2 model is not compatible with the SLG3000 without some device to change the sync polarity. Again, you are better off setting the DVDO to output 480p (or 720p if you want to try scanlines on a HD game) before adding the scanlines then letting your display scale the rest of the way.

What about if you have no VGA input on your TV? One of the best solutions is the Gefen VGA to DVI scaler plus. If you can find one cheaply, snap it up.

Example configuration

Here’s one easy way to add the SLG3000 to your 15khz and component video consoles. Using the XRGB3 you can easily convert component video into VGA, and convert 15khz RGB into VGA too of course. The illustration below shows how to hook it all up. In a real life scenario you may need additional switches, but you should get the basic idea.

More complex setups

When integrating the SLG3000 into more complex setups, keep in mind that it requires a RGBHV signal and won’t add scanlines if you feed it a RGBs signal. If you’re using an Extron RGB interface to provide RGBs, you can put the SLG3000 behind the Extron interface, but make sure you hook up both horizontal and vertical sync lines. On the output from the SLG3000, connect only the horizontal sync. Sounds confusing I know, but experiment and you’ll get there!

My setup

I guess my setup is pretty complex, thanks to the SLG3000 I can add scanlines to pretty much anything I please. I have a 2 way VGA switch, one input is the XRGB3 and the other is the HDFury 2 (the switch does sync polarity changing). The output of that is then fed into the SLG3000, and from there into the DVDO Edge. Xbox 360 and PS3 are fed into their own 2 way HDMI splitters. From there one output is fed into the DVDO Edge while the other is fed into the HDFury 2 which converts their input into VGA and then from there I can add scanlines. Bonkers, but lots of fun!

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  1. Mike V. says:

    Hi there, I got a Wii where I retro game a lot. And I have a 1080p projector with hdmi and VGA inputs. When I tried the component cables out of the wii, the white levels were unbereable, out of the roof. Thankfully I fixed this with a Wii2HDMI adapter. That way I connect the Wii to my HDMI switcher and from there to my Projector and everything is all right.

    Until now… that I want SCANLINES. And I was wondering that if even when my Wii is outputting HDMI in reality is just component 480p quality since there´s no upscaling, so how can I connect my Wii with it´s Wii2HDMI adapter to a upscaler (I really want to keep my HDMI2Wii with HDMI ouput but 480p signal), then to the SLG3000 and finally if possible to my HDMI switcher (or projector VGA input) having a final 1080p image, without spending lots of money?

    Hope you can give me some advice. Thanks!

  2. BuckoA51 says:

    No cheap way I’m afraid. The Wii’s component output is plain weird, very low quality. The Framemeister springs to mind, but it’s not exactly cheap, and scanlines on 480p content are hit and miss (currently broken in the latest firmware). Cheapest way would be a component to VGA transcoder -> SLG3000 -> Projector, and just hope that white levels are OK after transcoding. Oh, but remember that 240p might not work in that setup if you’re using that for Virtual Console (then again the Wii2HDMI adapter upscales that anyway).

    The other option is to HD-Fury the output of your Wii2HDMI adaptor, converting it back into VGA, but again rather expensive.

  3. Mike V. says:

    Thanks sir, so do you think that this would work?

    Wii > Wii2HDMI (in 480p) > HDFury1 > SLG3000 > Projector

    Today I was playing with my projector and on the Snes9x GX emulator when you change the rendering to “Original” it outputs the signal at 240p, which unfortunately my projector could not handle properly (image was green and small and doubled vertically) but then on 408i looked good but even sharper on 480p, I was really surprised at how good it looked, then I realized that putting the projector at 4:3 and having the game not corrected for 16:9 (another option on the Senes9x GX) was actually even sharper. So I´m happy with this resolution without the upscaler, so in any case that this setup (HDFury1 and SLG3000) works properly I think I´ll go that route.

    The polarity issue between those devices only happens with the HDFury2 isn´t? I should be ok with the model 1 right?

    Thank you for your time.

    • BuckoA51 says:

      Yes I’d think that would work fine, though I’d try the transcoding route first, likely to be much cheaper and less conversion steps. I don’t have a HD-Fury 1 but from what I’ve read it’s compatible with the SLG3000 yes, if you can find a HD-Fury Mk 1 of course.

      Did you try 240p via the Wii2HDMI? That should have worked, at least, the Wii2HDMI should have up-scaled it. HDMI can’t work with 240p directly. You should avoid interlace at all costs when gaming.

  4. Mike V. says:

    I just tried the 240p thru the wii2hdmi at 480i and the result was the same screen as before (image was doubled vertically) just that this time is was not greenish (colors were correct) and the bottom image was not a double of the first but just static digital noise (pixels in magenta,blue,white, etc…) Same thing when I used the genplus gx emulator with the original display option at 640×400.

    I´m sure the emulator looks their best with the wii2hdmi at 480p. They look stunning, and my projector is doing the 720x480p correctly. So let´s say I go with this route for the scanlines, keeping the wii2hdmim, can I use something like the Rosewill RCAD-11001 vga to hdmi bridge to output it correctly to other displays with only hdmi inputs?

    On the RCAD-11001 manual ( says that:

    **Please note that this converter does not up/down convert the signal. Essentially,
    the resolution (supported by this device) that passes through the converter is the
    same resolution that goes out. Any aspect ratio control must be done directly from
    your HDTV or source. **
    **This VGA to HDMI Bridge is not a scaler or scan converter.

    And since I must make sure to get a converter which does not add any framerate
    conversion or scaling. Should be the same in/out signal, I was thinking about getting that one. Nevertheless I don´t see it can accept 480p input and just outputs at 720p or 1080p. Do you think it might work anyway?

    Does the SLG3000 output at 480p too? Or just at 640×480? I want to think it outputs the same thing is feed with but I don´t know.

    What are your opinions on this? I will really appreciate them.

    • BuckoA51 says:

      Very surprised the Wii2HDMI can’t handle 240p, lets hope all virtual console games are fixed now for 480i, you’d think a simple 240p line-doubling would have been included, very poor show.

      Rosewill RCAD-11001 vga to hdmi converts VGA to HDMI, that’s the wrong way around.

      SLG3000 outputs whatever you feed into it, 480p is 640×480. If you want scanlines to look authentic you need to feed it a 480p signal.

      I’d still go the transcoding route first, Wii->Component to VGA transcoder->Projector… far fewer hoops to jump through. If it doesn’t work out then you can sell the transcoder and consider the HD-Fury.

  5. Nan0fl0wer says:

    Good article, well worth the read
    I was wondering if you could give me a piece of advise.

    I have the SLG3000 but I’m unable to produce a picture when connecting it to my graphics card. The card a Gainward GTX 760 and it has no native VGA outputs. I’ve tried my lock with several DVI to VGA type adapters (Dual and Single link DVI-I and DVI-A) but with out success.

    I’m wondering at this point if the HDFury (I’m thinking of getting the Gamers Edition) would be of any use at this point.

    My initial gut feeling was good until I read your comment about the HDFury 2 model not being compatible with the SLG3000 without some device to change the sync polarity – That really made my head spin :-S

    Anyways if you’d give me your 2 cents I’d be most thankful

    Thanks / Nan0

    • BuckoA51 says:

      Okay if the sync polarity is wrong, you will still get a picture, just no matter what you do scanlines won’t work.

      I take it you’ve tried without the SLG3000 in the chain?

      Really though, I don’t see the point in using SLG3000 with the PC any more, especially a PC as potent as yours. Pretty much any system you want to emulate already has an emulator with better scanlines and filters built in than you can achieve with a SLG3000.

  6. Gaetano says:

    Could I get the slg3000 working with a neo geo x via HDMI? My LCD TV has a VGA port, but how can I chain it together if at all? As a Neo geo X owner I’d obviously want to do it on the cheap 😉

    • BuckoA51 says:

      You’d need to convert HDMI to VGA which is never cheap. There are a lot better ways to emulate the Neo Geo anyway, so I really wouldn’t bother.

  7. Gaetano says:

    Thanks for the reply.

  8. Steve says:

    Hi BuckoA51,
    I’m about to buy a new 55 inch Samsung tv but it has no vega in put.
    I was going to use a Raspberry pi2 with retro pi buy a vga output for the pi
    Connect that to the SLG3000
    But then I’m stuck on connecting the SLG3000 to the Samsung with no vga port.

    Would this rig work?
    The Samsung does have hdmi (expensive to convert as you’ve said before) component & composite.
    What’s the best way to connect to the new Samsung?

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