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C64 component video is coming!

Testing and installing a prototype board!

If you already know what this mod is and you just want to get your hands on one, click here for the reservation page.

The Commodore 64 is an iconic 8 bit computer that sold millions of units and has a huge library of games. Given it’s incredible popularity and its huge catalogue of games, you might expect that there were better options for using the machine on modern TVs. Unlike the NES, the C64 never got an RGB upgrade and its S-Video quality was always poor to begin with.

Why was there never an RGB mod for the worlds best selling computer? The C64s graphics chip, known as the VIC chip, simply doesn’t output RGB and there is no way to reliably create an RGB signal from the signals that the chip outputs. RGB or component video mods are simply not possible on original C64 hardware.

What if we were to replace the signal generation on the VIC chip with a more modern design? This would allow us to correct for design flaws in the original hardware and get a wonderful, clean signal, while only making minimal changes to the original hardware. That’s exactly what c0pperdragon has achieved with his C64 Video Enhancement modification.

The C64 Video Enhancement modification is a FPGA based modification board for the Commodore 64 computer which will allow the system to produce YPbPr (or RGsB) video output. The mod has the following features.

 

  • Clean, high quality 240p/288p output
  • Linedoubled 480p/576p output with optional scanlines
  • Original, unmodified C64 video output is still available by standard AV out
  • Bypasses the C64s original S-video encoder for improved S-video quality
  • Compatible with LumaFIX 64, DualSID etc (LumaFix does not affect component/RGsB output)
  • User selectable/editable colour pallettes
  • Fully compatible with RetroTINK and OSSC
  • Supports PAL and NTSC C64s
  • Firmware updatable

 

Real life example of the output quality, as taken from the Github page.

While replacing the VIC with a FPGA simulation does mean you aren’t using 100% authentic C64 hardware any more, this mod has been extensively tested with both game and demo software to ensure the implementation is as accurate as possible. A JTAG connector on the board means that the product can be updated in the future too.

Should you want or need to fall back to the C64s original VIC output, that’s entirely possible too and the board even includes an S-Video bypass mod that removes the noisy RF modulator ensuring the best quality S-Video output. The C64 Component video mod is compatible with Lumafix 64. However please be aware that installing the C64 Video Enhancement and Lumafix together will raise the height of the VIC chip. This means that some taller heatsinks may be incompatible.

Want to beautify your C64?

We are currently working with c0pperdragon to bring C64 component video kits to the market and into the C64s of fans and enthusiasts all over the world. If you would like to register your interest in this mod, please click here.

The price of the kits is expected to be under 100 Euros including VAT but is subject to change. The cost of an installation will be 51.50 Euro + VAT & plus the price of the kit. Installation services will be run by our partners BetaGamma Computing in Greece.

2 comments

  1. MJY71 says:

    What version of the board(s) will be made available for purchase?

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