Reply To: Dreamcast Toro+SCART question

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Could someone explain me what are the benefits of using Toro (or any other similar thing) to connect my Dreamcast to OSSC via SCART if I could just use the official Dreamcast SCART (well, or maybe some 3rd party ones) and connect it directly to OSSC? I don’t need any fancy stuff like scanlines generator and for the games incompatible with 480p I could just use Code Breaker (or maybe it doesn’t work that way?) instead of the Toro switcher trick. Am I missing something like the sync thing or something else?

The benefits of the Toro depend on what you want to do with your Dreamcast and what you already have. Assuming Codebreaker can force 480p with the SCART cable, you can likely accomplish what you want for less than the cost of a Toro and male-to-male SCART cable. (And I imagine Codebreaker is a bit more convenient to use than reaching around behind the console to flip the switch on the Toro.)

If you weren’t starting with Codebreaker and a SCART cable, such as if all you had was a composite cable, then you’d probably be looking more at a Toro (If you want to use a PC CRT, or you already have something like the OSSC) or Akura (If you want to connect directly to a modern display without any additional video processors and you don’t care about playing SD-only Dreamcast games).

In general, is it correct that SCART gives you the same image quality as VGA in the games that support the latter? I’ve seen people saying this here but I still can’t believe it ? I was always taught that VGA is the best thing for Dreamcast period. Even the Beharbros website says ‘Dreamcast natively supports VGA output mode however you need a SPECIAL CABLE to enable this mode.’ So… where’s the truth?

The short answer is yes and no. 😛 VGA in this context is the same exact RGB as RGB from SCART, except the horizontal and vertical sync signals are separate instead of muxed as they are with SCART (composite sync; not to be confused with sync-on-composite or composite video). Also, VGA devices often don’t support interlaced video, and SCART devices often don’t support anything better than standard-definition video, which is the case with the Xbox, which is allegedly to avoid damage to CRT TVs that can’t handle 480p+.

For the longest time, the best video quality you could get from a Dreamcast came from a ‘VGA box’, which just gave you RGBHV, but most people haven’t make the distinction between VGA and RGB (and many still don’t).

Where you might actually see a quality difference between SCART and VGA will be with cable build quality and shielding. Normal SCART cables typically use composite video as a sync signal; and, in a poorly-shielded cable, that composite video signal (as well as nearby power cables, for example) can interfere with the other lines, causing visual noise and/or audio hum/buzzing.