NES capture

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Console Information


Nintendo Entertainment System
Resolution 240
A/V Outputs Composite, RF, S-Video(with modding), RGB via Scart (with modding)
Framerate 60.0988 progressive/30.0494 interlaced More Info
Models NES, NES-101 (Toploader)

Regional differences

As with most old consoles, this system was released as different versions in the different regions. The three biggest are pal (Europe, Australia etc), ntsc-u (US etc) and ntsc-j (Japan). The latter goes under the name of famicom. Without special adapters, the game and console version must in general be the same in order to run. Most (or all?) of said adapters are not allowed for sda-submissions. Most games are identical on the different versions, but there are both minor and major differences for many games. There are no rules for this and has to be investigated on a case-by-case basis. The pal-version runs at 50 Hz though, which means that the games are slowed down compared to the other versions. It's therefore difficult to compare with speedruns done on the ntsc-versions.
While it might be difficult (and expensive) to get hold of an ntsc-machine in Europe and other places with the pal-system, it's easy to make it work. The only troublesome part is the power supply. It's not adviseable to try and plug an ntsc power adapter into the wall socket in a pal-country. Luckily, the outputs of the ntsc and pal power adapters are identical. This means you can use a pal power adapter together with an ntsc console. An alternative is to use a transformer between the wall socket and an ntsc power adapter. That is likely more expensive than buying a pal power adapter though.

A word of caution

The Nintendo Entertainment System (all models) outputs a video signal that is 240 lines of resolution. This should not be a problem if you are using a DVD recorder to record gameplay, but it may be an issue if you are using a video capture device. Not all capture devices support this resolution. Many standard definition capture devices are able to detect and record video footage at this resolution, however some are not. It is also very uncommon for high definition capture devices to be able to detect and record video footage at this resolution. We are currently gathering a list of capture devices and including whether or not they support 240 lines of resolution here.

Nintendo Entertainment System

The standard Nintendo Entertainment System contains audio and video two video outputs, RCA Composite and RF. Use the composite video output and do not use the RF output. The RF video outputs an inferior quality signal and the video will contain vertical lines affectionately nicknamed jailbars. The NES also features one RCA audio connector (the red plug). There isn't another connector for the white RCA audio connector plug because the NES only supports one channel of audio.

The standard Nintendo Entertainment System suffers from some problems loading games successfully after they are inserted into the console. These problems have a variety of causes, from the console's 72 pin connector to its game lockout chip. For help with NES maintenance and troubleshooting, Hardcore Gaming has provided a helpful tutorial

NES-101 (NES 2 Toploader)

The redesign of the NES offers some dramatic improvements in the reliability of loading games, but takes a major step back in video quality. The NES-101, also known as the top loader or the NES II featured a new top loading system for inserting cartridges. The NES II also uses a new and more reliable 72 pin connector. Nintendo also eliminated the lockout chip. These improvements allow the top loader to successfully load games much more consistently than the standard NES. Unfortunately Nintendo eliminated the Composite Video output. The only video output the top loader has is RF.

It is possible to modify the NES Toploader to add composite video output and RCA audio out. This will allow for the Toploader to output video and audio that is of the same quality as the original NES. This modification is acceptable by SDA's rules. You can perform the modification yourself by following the steps here. There are people online that will do it for you for a reasonable price

A modified NES toploader
If you absolutely cannot get your NES Toploader modified, you can use a VCR to convert the RF signal to a RCA composite video and audio outputs. Connect the RF input from the console to your VCR and then connect your RCA cables to the A/V out section of your VCR to your splitters or DVD recorders. The quality of your footage will suffer because of this.
A sample of the vertical lines or jailbars you get with RF video
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