OSSC Pro is coming!

What’s more exciting than our new website design? One thing that is  definitely better is the announcement of the new OSSC Pro! That’s right, our favourite line doubler is getting an upgrade and the new Pro model is far more than just a few little tweaks and revisions.

Introducing OSSC Pro

Block diagram of OSSC Pro. For more technical information see the announcement post on the Shmups forum.

OSSC Pro is a whole new scan converter that is currently a work in progress project. Development is now at an advanced phase and several prototype models already exist. While the first OSSC was designed to replace ageing line doublers such as the XRGB2 and XRGB3, OSSC Pro is designed to improve significantly on the original model. It brings lots of exciting new features that the community asked for. In other words, you asked for a Framemeister killer and now we’re going to deliver one! While it is important to remember that many of the features we talk about in this article aren’t implemented yet, the OSSC Pro hardware is certainly a powerful piece of kit and capable of everything we talk about here. It will be up to the community to help develop the required software to enable all of these features.

Cyclone V power

OSSC Pro will be powered by the new Cyclone V FPGA chip (the first OSSC was powered by a Cyclone 4 chip). You can think of this as the CPU of the OSSC, this more powerful chip will deliver higher performance and more resources, allowing developers to add all kinds of great new functions to the device.

Along with a beefed up CPU, the new device has 512MB of RAM and 16MB of flash. That’s 16 megabytes for firmware and 512 megabytes that can be used for all kinds of things, including a full frame buffer, but more on that later.

More IO

OSSC Pro will feature RGB SCART, D-Sub 15 (VGA) and component video inputs, just like the existing OSSC. It will also add a HDMI input and a SPDIF digital audio input.

The HDMI input can be used to scale and process video from HDMI modded consoles such as the Wiidual or GCDual, or to add scanlines or other picture processing effects to more modern consoles such as an Xbox 360 or PS3. The hardware is also capable of downscaling (converting to 240p or 480i) which would allow enthusiasts to display modern games on classic displays.

Infinitely expandable

A prototype motherboard.

On the side of the OSSC pro is a 2×20 pin “GPIO” expansion connector. This connector has enough bandwidth for any number of expansion modules which will appear for the OSSC Pro in the future. One of the first planned expansions will be Composite and S-Video inputs (the upcoming Koryuu transcoder will also be fully compatible with both OSSC and OSSC Pro). After that, the sky is the limit. Markus Hiienkari, creator of both the OSSC and OSSC Pro, had a few ideas for modules that would be possible:-

  • A secondary video output (e.g. VGA) module for connecting to CRTs
  • Latency/input lag tester interface module, similar to the Time Sleuth
  • A game controller port module

A game controller port module? Why would an upscaler need a controller port module? To answer that we need to look at another project that’s becoming popular in the retro gaming scene, the MISTer.

The MISTer is a repurposed DE10-Nano development board with a few add-on boards for video output, game controller connection etc. This board also contains a Cyclone 5 FPGA chip at its heart. The Cyclone 5 is so powerful it can actually be re-programmed to act exactly like the CPUs and chipsets that used to drive our favourite classic games consoles. In other words, the MISTer system is like a very accurate clone of these older machines. Think of it like an emulator you might run on your PC, but at an even lower level, resulting in a simulation that’s extremely accurate and without the problems of input lag that often (though not always) crop up with PC based emulators. An enthusiastic team of developers builds and maintains new and existing “cores”, which bring more and more classic consoles and computers to the platform.

Since the OSSC Pro is based around the same Cyclone 5 architecture, it can also be used in this way. Imagine, OSSC Pro could upscale your favourite, original consoles that you have owned since your childhood, while running highly accurate FPGA based simulations of other systems you don’t have the space for in your setup. The possibilities are nearly limitless. Given that OSSC Pro shares the same FPGA, porting over cores from MISTer should be easy.

Unprecedented scaling flexibility

Our prototype unit powers on and has basic scaling, but much more development needs to be done.

OSSC was designed as a pure line multiplier. One scanline in, two or more out. Line multiplication has a huge advantage over frame buffer based scaling because there is just a nanosecond or two of input lag, compared with at least a frame (16ms) with frame-buffer based scaling.

However, only so much can be achieved with line multiplication. Deinterlacing, for instance, was often considered to be the Achilles heel of the original OSSC, with only a basic, flickery bob deinterlacing possible due to the design of the unit.

Because of this, many enthusiasts ran an OSSC in parallel with another scaler in their setup. Often an XRGB Mini, which produces excellent results with 480i material (particularly PS2 games) while only having a 20ms input lag penalty.

The OSSC Pro will feature the most flexible scaling engine yet and will feature both a line multiplication and scaling engine all in the same device. There will be three modes of operation and the user will be able to choose the most appropriate one for their situation. The three modes are as follows:-

1) Pure line multiplication – The lag free scaling that OSSC is famous for
2) Adaptive line multiplication
3) Full frame buffer

What is “Adaptive line multiplication”? In this mode, visible lines are multiplied, but the horizontal and vertical total are matched to standard timings (e.g 720p or 1080p). You can think of it as creating a standard output window or frame and then putting the line multiplied output into that. A full frame buffer is NOT necessary for this new adaptive mode and Markus promises “high compatibility with minimal latency overhead (1-30 lines typically)”.

What else is possible in adaptive mode? More than you might imagine. The older, ABT scalers such as the VP50 and DVDO Edge could do picture resizing and adjustment with just an adaptive frame buffer like this, so such things should be possible for OSSC Pro too.

How about the “Full frame buffer” mode? A full frame buffer will mean 16 milliseconds of input lag (plus whatever your display itself adds) but opens up even more possibilities. Did you hate the flickery deinterlacing that OSSC did? If so, you will be pleased to hear that OSSC Pro will have a full deinterlacer, specially designed for gaming content.

That’s not all, with a full frame buffer all kinds of processing can be done. Have an older arcade game that needs a monitor in portrait orientation? In framebuffer mode, OSSC Pro can rotate the image for you, allowing you to play such a title without having to figure out a way to rotate your giant HDTV, or lie on the floor on your side.

Frame buffer mode will also allow for input and output frame rates to be de-coupled. This should help with games that switch between 240p and 480i output modes. The trade off is loss of completely smooth, judder free scrolling, but for games rendered completely unplayable on modern TVs it’s a trade off worth making.

With plenty of processing power under the hood, we can also expect a return of the scaling filters and other effects that were introduced briefly with OSSC. Prefer a Scale 2x kind of look for your retro consoles? Why not, it’s your system, you play it how you think looks best. Effects such as deblur for SNES, composite faux transparency re-processing or effects such as those introduced by hardware such as the mCable should all be possible.

What happens to the original OSSC?

Replacement OSSC Case
I still totally kick butt!

The original, classic OSSC is going nowhere for now and will still be sold and extensively supported in our store. If the current OSSC works well with your setup, then remember that OSSC Pro won’t scale things any better. You already have the best quality, zero input lag solution. For many users, the classic OSSC is all they will need.

We’ve worked closely with our suppliers to ensure the best price for OSSC. By doing away with fancy packaging and not paying overheads to Amazon we’re able to keep the quality high and the price low. In light of the OSSC Pro announcement, we’re now permanently cutting the price of the existing OSSC model by 15 euros down to 110 Euros. At this price point the device represents huge value for money.

When can I get the OSSC Pro?

At the moment we’re not taking pre-orders or starting a waiting list for OSSC Pro as there are still a lot of details to work out. As soon as we are able to take either pre-orders or start a waiting list, we will announce this on the website and on our social media channels. We will also have regular product updates on our social media, so be sure to follow us on either Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr.

30 thoughts on “OSSC Pro is coming!

  1. Cae Herlin says:

    This might sound esoteric, but will it be possible to use the adaptive mode to shove a 480i/p signal into the center 720×480 region of a 960×480 frame? This would be useful for 16:9 computer monitors that can only display 720×480 in either 3:2 or 16:9. Adding the right size of black bars before the signal reaches the display could force the display to squish the 720×480 image to 4:3. Also on the topic of accommodating computer monitors, it would be helpful if the HDMI input could be used to convert limited range to full range, specifically since the Wii U is limited range only and computer monitors are usually designed for full range only. I don’t know if that’s outside the scope of this type of device, but I know the existing OSSC does have some settings related to color treatment.

  2. Brian Francis says:

    I need an HD line doubler that will take 1080i HDMI input and produce 1080p HDMI output with a texture smoothing option. Does this product do that. If not is there something you can recommend perhaps a product name or web link?

  3. Smokin says:

    will there be an outer shell made for the ossc pro. The lack of an outer shell was one thing I thought the original ossc lacked compared to the framemeister

  4. Benjamin W Mitchell says:

    A VGA out expansion would be great for allowing people to get a high def CRT experience on old PC monitors without having to pay the price for a rare multiformat BVM/PVM.

  5. Richie says:

    Will it allow 480P passthrough? I would like to play GameCube and PS2 games in Progressive Scan and the lack of 480P passthrough on the original OSSC was a bit of a downside for me.

      • Richie says:

        Ah, I got the two mixed up, sorry! But either way, I was gonna get the OSSC plus the Koryuu, but now I’d rather wait for the PRO because I’m really curious about the new HDMI input being added.

  6. Joe says:

    I have 4 systems I would like to use this product with: Genesis(240p), N64(240p), PS2(480i), and Xbox360(720p). I would like to plug the Genesis, N64, and PS2 each into their own Retro-Tink 2x Pro in order to get all these systems to output over HDMI at 480p. Then plug each of those individual HDMI outputs into a HDMI switcher (including the Xbox360 at it’s native 720p). Then take the HDMI output of the switcher to the input of the OSSC Pro; then upscale (or line multiply) all the 480p signals to a 720p signal (while not affecting the Xbox360 assumingely). This would then be plugged into an HD CRT Sony Trinitron (4:3 ratio) that has an HDMI input and native resolution of 720p. Will this setup work in theory? Will the OSSC Pro be able to force upscaled HD resolutions to a 4:3 aspect ratio for those older systems? Will the OSSC Pro be able to work with HDMI switchers at all? I appreciate any insights or answers to my questions you may have and really look forward to this product.

      • Joe says:

        I appreciate the response, but my questions were mainly in regard to using the OSSC Pro with an HDMI switcher. This is because I would like to use multiple systems that all output in different native resolutions. Also, if it is possible to use the switcher, will the OSSC Pro be able to automatically detect the input resolution and output the desired resolution? Or will I have to manually reconfigure it for each system whenever I play them?

        • Matthew Bee says:

          @Joe I am actually looking at using those exact same consoles. It sounds to me like you are over complicating and spending more money unnecessarily…
          Instead of having each of the console use a RetroTink 2x Pro.. Why don’t you just buy a good SCART or Component Switch and have this switch connect to the OSSC Pro for up-scaling. As I understand (as I don’t own an OSSC) you can configure and choose different profiles for your different systems.
          You could then have a HDMI switcher for the OSSC and the xbox360 that connects to your CRT.

          Another option would could do is use RAD2x cables for all your consoles and then use the HDMI switcher. But you don’t get the perks of the OSSC

  7. Jay Adams says:

    Will the S/PDIF in passthrough digital audio through HDMI? For example, when playing a PS2 game that is LPCM 2.0 for gameplay and Dolby Digital 5.1 for cutscenes, will both signals go through correctly?

  8. Bjarne says:

    I’m a layman, so please bear with me; as far as I understand it, hooking up, let’s say, a PS3 via HDMI-in and line-tripling the 720p to 2160p/4K will still not be an option with the OSSC Pro, right?
    What is the technical reason for that?
    Thanks to anyone explaining the specifics to me. 🙂

      • Bjarne says:

        Thanks for the reply. I was guessing something like that but wasn’t sure.
        So line-tripling the 360’s and the PS3’s 720p output to 4K will be something for OSSC-using retro gamers in the 2030s, maybe 🙂

  9. Jarrah White says:

    About that HDMI input, would it accept 240p and 288p signals over HDMI and offer the same line multiplying features? The Framemeister and even cheap SCART to HDMI or S-video to HDMI converters with secondary HDMI inputs are all capable of accepting 240p/288p over HDMI and work well with things like the Wii2HDMI or even the original OSSC in passthrough mode.

  10. Munch says:

    Do you have an idea of ​​the release date ?
    2020 Q3, 2020 Q4, 2021 Q1, 2021 Q2, even later ?
    Thank you.

  11. TheCoolDave says:

    If it has S-video and composite support, I’d be in… I need S-video for some classic RF consoles that were modded in the past. No plans on Re-Modding them for RGB, so would need to find another solution with 0-lag.

  12. Ethan says:

    With the addition of an HDMI in, does that mean it will also have an HD passthrough function? It would be super convenient to have the whole array of modded retro consoles and next gen ones going through the same processor.

    • BuckoA51 says:

      HD yes, 4k no.

      It is unlikely to support formats like Dolby TrueHD etc either, as these would only be useful to a small number of people while bumping up the cost significantly.

  13. Jacob Ansari says:

    This is starting to look like practically an insta-buy . The OSSC is already fantastic, but something with a buffer and scaling abilities would be a godsend .

    • Galaxy_Stranger says:

      I’d presume a Christmas release, but I’d be interested to know how far along the actual project work is.

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