In my latest video I take a look at some budget friendly options to get your old Nintendo 64 working on your modern HDMI television.
The most straightforward method would be using the composite output if your television has composite inputs. But not all televisions do a very good job displaying composite signals properly.
A better way is to get a decent line doubler or scaler to process that signal into something that’s more compatible with modern HD and 4k televisions. I stumbled upon two budget-friendly solutions for this purpose through the Amazon Vine review program: the Pound Link Cable and another device from a company called RuntoGOL. Both devices plug directly into the Nintendo 64 and promise high def output via HDMI. But do they deliver on this promise?
Before diving into these budget options, I explored the higher-end solutions to set a benchmark. The RetroTink products, particularly the RetroTink 2x and the 5x, are renowned in the retro gaming community. These devices are really perfect – they offer a near-zero lag experience with stunning visual quality. But they are quite expensive, starting at $149 for their lowest cost version available at the moment.
However, the Pound Link Cable and the RuntoGOL Adapter are significantly less expensive coming in at under $30 each.
Unfortunately you get what you pay for with the least expensive RuntoGOL Adapter. It stretched the game’s aspect ratio, making everything appear squished. The image clarity was also subpar, likely because it sourced the video from the composite output. Additionally, it introduced noticeable input lag.
On the other hand, the Pound Link Cable was a pleasant surprise. Despite its low cost, it delivered decent image quality by sourcing its visuals from the Nintendo 64’s S-Video output. The aspect ratio was preserved, and the games looked as they should. For casual retro gamers looking for a quick and affordable solution it checks the box. However, like the RuntoGOL Adapter, it also suffered from input lag that was about double vs. what I experienced with the Retrotink products.
For those looking for resources on retro gaming, the best place to start is my friend Bob at retroRGB.com. This website offers invaluable insights into getting the most out of retro game consoles. From modification guides to non-mod solutions, it’s a treasure trove for enthusiasts.
So what’s the best way to experience retro games? On an old tube CRT television of course! And the best part is that you could probably find someone to pay you to take their old TV away! A win-win!
Disclosure: The RuntoGol and Pound cables came in free of charge through the Amazon Vine program. I had no contact with the manufacturers, no one reviewed or approved this video before uploading, and no other compensation was received.