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Thread: PAL Sega Saturn control panel vs NTSC Sega Saturn control panel

  1. #1
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    Default PAL Sega Saturn control panel vs NTSC Sega Saturn control panel

    Can anyone help me to understand what is happening here?

    The facts: I'm on PAL land, I have a PAL Sega Saturn with a 50Hz/60Hz switch connected via S-video cable to a PAL 4/3 CRT TV.

    The experiment: When I boot the Saturn and get past the logo I get the control panel screen which looks like this:

    Fotografia4668.jpg

    I believe this is the correct display, near full height screen and correct proportion of the "command spheres".
    (I mean, at least I am under the impression that when the Saturn boots the logo/command control panel screens are presented in PAL optimized fashion. If this is not right, could anyone elaborate what I should expect from the PAL display, proportion wise?)


    Now, if I flip the switch directly from 50Hz to 60Hz this is what I get:

    Fotografia4669.jpg

    This doesn't look right at all, the picture is too stretched vertically, it seems some sort of overscan and the proportion of the spheres has dramatically changed.


    Ok, next thing to try, reset the Saturn keeping the switch at 60Hz position. This is what it looks like:

    Fotografia4670.jpg

    I would say it looks better, but still not completely correct. Some lines are missing on the top of the screen and the spheres are still looking vertically elongated. Does this happen because the TV screen is set to expect a PAL frame proportion?


    So I enter 'service menu' of the TV and compensate the vertical size (shrink) in order to accommodate the picture to near full height, in a similar way to the PAL picture. Here it is:

    Fotografia4671.jpg

    It seems almost perfect but the spheres are still a bit elongated.


    I try a final adjustment to vertical size so that the spheres look more circular and not so oval. But this what happens:

    Fotografia4673.jpg

    Although the proportion of the spheres now seems correct the screen is showing black borders on top and bottom! If I remember correctly, NTSC or 60Hz pictures don't have that.


    This raises my question, what does a true NTSC Sega Saturn 'control panel' looks like so I can compare it with all the previous screens?

    Is it not possible to have a PAL picture displayed in NTSC in the same proportion, or NTSC is always a bit stretched vertically?

    Unless I'm missing something about the way the Saturn displays the logo/control screen in 50Hz/60Hz that makes this experiment unsuitable to be used for adjusting the TV screen...

    (BTW, when the switch is set to 60Hz position, what is the video signal the Saturn is outputting from s-video? NTSC? PAL60?)
    Last edited by MegaDriver; 11-23-2020 at 07:08 PM.

  2. #2
    Hedgehog-in-Training Hedgehog-in-TrainingRoad Rasher
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    I don't know jack about Saturn, but PAL resolutions are taller than NTSC (e.g. 320x240 NTSC and 320x288 PAL), and on N64 going 60hz on a PAL console outputs PAL60.

    The resolution difference seems to explain your findings. It's rendering a 288 tall picture, but only telling your TV to show 240 lines of it.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by roce View Post
    I don't know jack about Saturn, but PAL resolutions are taller than NTSC (e.g. 320x240 NTSC and 320x288 PAL), and on N64 going 60hz on a PAL console outputs PAL60.

    The resolution difference seems to explain your findings. It's rendering a 288 tall picture, but only telling your TV to show 240 lines of it.
    I would say that makes sense when I booted the Saturn in 50Hz and switched directly to 60Hz on the control panel screen (2nd picture from the top).

    However, what I find a little odd is that booting from 60Hz and adjusting the picture height on the tv set doesn't show the same proportional picture as before. It seems like the Saturn uses the same picture and cuts some lines resulting in a stretched picture. That's why I wondered what a true NTSC Saturn does and shows with the control panel screen.

  4. #4
    Master of Shinobi
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    The CD player screen has small borders in PAL consoles. The 60hz aspect is correct, and it is how the thing should look on NTSC consoles.
    Switching the resolution while the console is running will not set the correct output all the time since there's a bunch of stuff the bios checks at boot.

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