No Picture on TV with Playstation 1 Games and Elgato Game Capture HD

The first thing I tried to do when I got my Game Capture home was connect it up and video Tomb Raider 1 (the PS1 1996 original).

But it just wouldn’t work.

Although the Game Capture software could see the game output, the telly just displayed an unhelpful message saying Unsupported signal.

Even more bizarrely, the console output DID appear on the telly at start-up, but as soon as I tried to load a game, it vanished.

Bah.

Well, it turns out there is a fairly simple explanation and solution to this problem.

The PS1 is a retro console and the reason you can’t see the game on the television when you add in the Game Capture is because most modern televisions do not support low resolution input over HDMI.

Eh?

What I mean is, when you connect the PS1 to your TV, it ordinarily goes via a composite input. Composite input supports, among others, QVGA (quarter VGA) or 240 horizontal line resolution, which is what most PS1 games output.

But when you add the Game Capture into the equation, you’re sending the input to your TV via HDMI, not composite. Most televisions (ours included) do not support any resolution lower than 480 horizontal lines over HDMI.  The television just doesn’t understand the signal.

You can check this in your TV manual to be certain of the range that your HDMI input recognises.

Er, OK. So basically my PS1 is sending a signal via HDMI that my TV can’t use?

Exactly.

But how come I can see the console output at startup?

Ah. Yes – this is because the PlayStation itself outputs at a higher resolution than the games it plays.

Oh right. Now what?

OK, so there are various solutions to this problem.

For the full list of options (um, there are four), use this support page at Elgato (My TV can’t receive the HDMI passthrough when using Elgato Game Capture HD with my retro console) to see which is easiest for you.

We went with option 4 – buying a small HDMI to composite converter. We paid £27 on Amazon for ours. That particular one is no longer available. You can try this AV2HDMI converter, which looks to be the equivalent (although I haven’t personally used it), and has power included.

The loss of quality was negligible using the mini converter and I was really pleased with how easy it was to use.

To see the converter in action with our PlayStation 1, check out this tutorial on the full set up.

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2 Comments

  1. Michiel
    Posted 6 March 2014 at 14:00 | Permalink

    Thank you SO MUCH! I’ve been screwing around for ages trying to get my setup to work.

  2. Posted 6 March 2014 at 19:05 | Permalink

    Glad you found it useful – I was so disappointed when I first tried it and couldn’t get my PS1 games to show!