I'll try to keep the following short, but at the same time I want to provide enough information for anyone that is willing and capable to give me a helpful answer. Any informed advice is appreciated. I apologize if this is in the wrong forum, but since this topic encompasses several components, I figure this is as good a place as any.
I want to be able to display games from emulators of pre-PS2/X360/GCN era from a PC to an S-Video-capable CRT television set, including the ability to play old arcade games, like 2D fighters and beat 'em ups. I have all of my old consoles (NES, SNES, Saturn, Sega CD, etc) hooked up to this CRT, but I want to know how I would go about ensuring, for example, a MAME emulator I run on a PC to look as good on a CRT as it would on an arcade cabinet, or at least as close as possible.
My main concern is that of fidelity. I want to play the games as closely as possible to how they were intended to be played, which is why I avoid playing older games on high-resolution screens, which expose a number of graphical issues. Unfortunately, I don't know exactly how to go about doing this.
I've read that refresh rate and resolution are the key issues to solve when trying to achieve perfect emulation for older games, but unfortunately the site I read this from is a Spanish site, so their advice for building an appropriate PC for this purpose mostly relies on using TVs with SCART inputs and appropriate graphics cards in the European market, which American CRTs don't have. I've found all my physical consoles look great when using an S-video cable to the CRT, so I assume I'll need a card with S-Video output. I'm not interested in component.
Again, I'm not as familiar with the details on how to achieve perfect emulation (or as perfect as possible), but if I knew exactly what I needed to do, I'd go ahead and do it.
Any informed opinion is welcome. Thank you for your time.
You're on the right path. If you want the absolute best fidelity you need to research what the game was originally displayed at and then get a CRT in that resolution. Unfortunately this does vary even among console games. Far more so between arcade games. Do a lot of research on the games you play the most or that are the most important to you.
I can also give you a link to a custom video blitter for PS1 for the time being that makes it look quite nice while displayed at HD resolutions. It's not the "same" obviously, but in my amateur opinion it actually looks significantly better than the originals did. Hit me up in tells if you would like this blitter.
You might want to check out Ultimarc's site: http://www.ultimarc.com/avgainf.html. Their ArcadeVGA card is designed for VGA/DVI output, not S-VIDEO, but, a CRT monitor has a wider set of refresh rates than a regular TV. It can also be used with arcade monitors.
I have drooled over their stuff for years, but don't have the money or time for it atm.
Gonna hit you up for that blitter, casual.