UPDATE: The M now supports 720p passthrough, plus a few more options! I recommend watching the above video, then reading this post: https://www.retrorgb.com/retrotink-2x-m-720p-mode-added.html
Mike Chi has just released his latest product in the RetroTINK series, the RetroTINK2x Pro “Multiformat”: A device that’s similar to the previous “2x Pro”, but uses vertical bilinear scaling and can pass through 480p video. The bilinear scaling is an excellent match for 3D graphics, but not usually the best choice for 2D, which most often looks best with the nearest-neighbor (integer) scaling that the previous RetroTINK products used.
Overall, the ‘TINK-M’ is a fairy niche product that’s best paired with a PlayStation 2, or any 480i games from the 3D era. It has a few other really interesting features though, which I’d like to discuss below. Here’s links to the device and relevant cables:
Purchase all RetroTINK Products via multiple vendors worldwide here: https://www.retrorgb.com/retrotink.html
PlayStation 2 Component Video Cables: https://amzn.to/2ys8DLs
Wii Component Cables: https://amzn.to/2T4fAfn
Xbox Options: https://www.retrorgb.com/xbox.html
While the video provides a good overview for the device, there’s a few features I’d like to elaborate a bit on. The first is the updated comb filter, which is an improvement from the previous TINK models. I think my favorite use of this filter, would be for capturing VHS and LaserDiscs in the TINK-M’s passthrough mode (the filter is still active in passthrough), as this would provide a fairly clean 480i signal.
The filter is also a great choice for consoles outputting composite video. I showed the example of using a GameCube with the basic composite cable it came with and it’s not that bad at all! I think a better example might have been composite from a NES, but I didn’t want to confuse things – I said in the video that I didn’t think the bilinear scaling was good for 2D graphics, but a more accurate statement would have been: “Not good with a clean signal like S-Video and Component”. The truth is, composite video is so noisy that you might not be able to tell the difference between integer and bilinear scaling…and the improved comb filter might make the experience better overall. So, while I certainly wouldn’t recommend buying the TINK-M just for a NES (the upcoming Mini will be cheaper), if you’re buying it for a PS2 and have an unmodded NES, definitely try it out.
The field-shift option is something I kinda just glossed over, as it’s one of those things you should just try for yourself. It’ll probably make the most difference with games like Sengoku Blade or Dragon Blaze, that are actually 240p, but being rendered in 480i. Personally, I’d just try it on any 480i source and see what you think! It’s not like it changes lag or anything; You’ll either like the effect, or you won’t 🙂
The 480p chroma/phase shift I showed is something that many people might not even notice. Some people seem really sensitive to this, so it’s an awesome option to have. I just think most people will try toggling it, not see a difference and never touch it again. Which is totally cool.
Lastly, the 480p passthrough is both awesome and a bit disappointing, as it compresses the video to 4:2:2, rather can keep the colorspace as 4:4:4. I think in the context of the PS2, the zero-lag deinterlacing + 480p passthrough is so beneficial that it makes up for the color compression, but that also means you might see a better picture with Xbox, Wii and Dreamcast using just a basic analog-to-digital converter. While I truly think that most people won’t be able to tell the difference between 4:4:4 and 4:2:2, it still makes it hard to recommend this as the “perfect” solution for all…
…but as I said in the video, if you’re buying this for the PS2 anyway, the convenience of having one device for every component video console might be worth it, even for the few people who can see the difference.
Check out the video below to update the firmware: