Retro arcade display question

raz-0

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I debated putting this here or in displays, and picked here.

I figure you guys are my best shot at getting an answer to this, which has been nagging me.

So I recently was out with family, and we stopped at one of these retro arcade places. Lots of vintage stand up arcade machines and pinball machines. Lots of them completely original hardware. But...

Some of the machines had clearly been refurbished and/or possibly were not really original machines. Regardless of if they were all original, or modern controller guts, it was definitely the original ROM images being run, and they had displays that worked real well and were very odd. They were very high contrast, appeared to do up-scaling well (not really sure if that was inherent to the display), were flat panel, glossy, and most notably appeared to be the right aspect ratio or constraining the image to the right aspect ratio while still fitting the cabinet appropriately. They also appeared to be very high refresh rate with no visible ghosting, and retained their colors from all viewing angles.

They had maybe a dozen games that were traditionally CRT setups that had been converted to this display type.

So any idea what the heck they were?
 

RanceJustice

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Honestly, they could have been just about any modern flat panel. The contrast could be done well on any modern panel with higher end IPS / VA types, perhaps even HDR compliant and with a good color space etc. A wide range of adaptive sync (FreeSync most likely but GSync possible) is likely to ensure that the refresh rate plays properly especially if the guts are original, older hardware. You actually don't "need" a 144hz monitor for playing retro games, but one with well supported adaptive sync from below 30hz on up will ensure most games will look right, plus the possibility of "overdrives". Upscaling and the aspect ratio are likely the result of the GPU and the software and or specialized hardware (ie emulator or "supergun" hardware to connect to say... old Neo Geo boards or Capcom CPS2 boards) and a good amount of tweaking originally. Lots of modern emulators have really comprehensive settings available for things like this so you can have old school arcade perfect (with faked scanlines etc) along with the best of modern computing.

So yeah, unless there was something particularly striking about the displays that set them apart, I think they could be modern high quality flat panels mounted in the enclosures as opposed to anything purpose-built that differs significantly. Then again I could be wrong, but given what I've seen most places as you describe don't use exotic monitors save for those using CRTs and the like or those made for specialized games.
 

raz-0

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I'm familiar with modern quality displays and have used emulators with various upscaling approaches.

These looked weird. Super clear and like they had no pixels. I mean the games has pixels, but they were not real pixels just the upscaled pixels of the game.

If I had to make a guess, I would say oled spaced behind some tinted glass to enhance contrast.

Possibly 4k and physically cropped.

But I haven't seen 4k oled panels that size.

Even the really good ips or VA panels I've dealt with all have color shift or brightnes/contrast alteration at angles these did not.
 

RanceJustice

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Well if they're as different as you suggested, it could be some sort of OLED (microled, AMOLED etc) display, but depending on the size and other features it would seem either cumbersome or extremely expensive. I mean, someone could in theory go pick up 4K OLED TVs and mod them into game cabs, but those are usually too large ; conversely, most mobile/tablet screens are too small.

Sure, there are lots of tricks you can do with cab mounting in terms of increasing contrast, adding brightness/lighting while compensating for glare etc.. so that could also be a part of it. If they were using 4K and then upscaling for clarity that could be part of what you describe, though for most "classic" emulator/arcade era titles won't look magically different upscaled to 4K vs something like 1440p or even 1080p. Its possible that the lack of color shift and brightness/contrast issues could be part of the mounting/positioning, so that you're almost always looking at the display from the best angles. Being able to mount things in the cab as you wish with things like tinted glass, reflections etc... can do a lot to mitigate those issues. There are a few more exotic solutions I can think of (ie literally stitching together tons of small mobile/tablet AMOLED type screens and using them to make a larger display to the point its difficult to discern it isn't a single display) but the cost and difficulty would really seem out of whack for creating an emulator-focused retro arcade.

If all else fails next time you go, just ask them?
 

raz-0

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Asking would be useless is just bored minimum wage teenagers running the till.

I've found some purpose built replacements but the stats on them seem like you should get more ghosting.

I've also found ones for specific cabinets that look right, but are like three times the price. No specs though.

The more I look in guessing they are receding some flavor of led lit lcds behind tinted glass.
 

Odigo

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I wondered the same thing! We have a local pinball place and noticed non-CRT on old arcades.
 

Verge

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I'm familiar with modern quality displays and have used emulators with various upscaling approaches.

These looked weird. Super clear and like they had no pixels. I mean the games has pixels, but they were not real pixels just the upscaled pixels of the game.

If I had to make a guess, I would say oled spaced behind some tinted glass to enhance contrast.

Possibly 4k and physically cropped.

But I haven't seen 4k oled panels that size.

Even the really good ips or VA panels I've dealt with all have color shift or brightnes/contrast alteration at angles these did not.
Oh you said you "haven't".

Some of these have filters in front of the CRT's, might be that you are looking at. Otherwise, a 24 inch 4k is very hard to see pixels, especially at arcade cabinet distance.
 
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