Waka Up Scan Converter – Official PlayStation VGA Box :: RGB311 / MY LIFE IN GAMING

(Intro Tones) – Back in the early 2000s, when most screens were still big fat tubes, I decided to save space in my college dorm room by buying a ViewSonic VB50HRTV to run consoles like GameCube and PlayStation 2 to my computer monitor via S-video to VGA. At the time, I thought I was pretty clever, but this device probably would’ve blown my mind. This is the Waka Up Scan Converter by Waka manufacturing, a company that appears to still be around today. What makes it a unique and collectable bit of gaming history though, is that it is an officially-licensed PlayStation product with its own PlayStation hardware code: SLPH-00016. The exterior design is not unlike a miniature PlayStation itself. According to Hazard-City, an excellent hub for information about vintage video processors, the Waka was released in 1996 at a price of 20,000 yen. These days you’re unlikely to find one to buy yourself… and you’d have to pay a pretty penny if you did. Special thanks to Undamned for letting us borrow his own Waka Up Scan Converter. Although sold for use with PS1, the Waka also works with PS2 and even PS3. Let’s start with the intended scenario: connecting a PlayStation 1 to a PC CRT monitor. The lengthy hardwired console connector pulls RGB video from the console, where it’s linedoubled to 640 by 480 RGBHV at 31kHz, making it fit the VGA spec, not unlike other video processors of the time. For your typical 240p PS1 game, this means that two lines are drawn for every pixel row, and it does indeed look very crisp and clean. If you wanted, you could add a scanline generator to darken one of the lines to give it a bit more of a PVM-like look. Now, if you were to just play PS1 games in a more typical scenario, each pixel would be the same size, but the way the Waka handles this input, you can see (upon very close inspection) that some pixels are wider than others. Depending on a game’s scrolling speed, this may cause noticeable shimmer with horizontal scrolling. But in other cases, like with Symphony of the Night, it turns out to not be much of a problem at all? it’s virtually a non-issue with your typical 3D game. Of course, it’s not uncommon for PS1 games to use 480i graphics at times, and the Wakka handles this with its own form of “bob” deinterlacing, more modern devices that use a bob technique include the Open Source Scan Converter and GameCube HDMI solutions. Bob deinterlacing is fast and the imitation of 15kHz interlaced flicker feels less out of place on a PC CRT than on a modern display via the OSSC. Be sure you’re watching this video at 60 frames per second to see the intended effect. The 240p to 480i resolution switches that can make Chrono Cross, Silent Hill, Dino Crisis, and a few other games of that era rather unplayable in digital upscaling scenarios are no problem at all for the Waka, which is maybe the most useful thing about it. The bob implementation is actually rather pleasing in my opinion, making the Waka extremely compelling as a PS2 device. One downside to the bob technique is that objects in motion can at times look a bit pixelated. You may also notice some jaggedness that wouldn’t exist under normal circumstances, most visible with 2D art in titles or menus. And unfortunately, the Waka simply can’t handle 480p input, although there are other ways to get 480p console games on a computer monitor if you need to. Overall though, the downsides are fairly minor, resulting in what is in my opinion a very nice representation of your average 480i PS2 game when using a PC CRT. A lot of PS2 compilation discs run in 480i despite the source material being 240p, but with the Waka’s particular bob deinterlacing, combined with a scanline generator, you can in many cases hide these flaws, and you can use the same technique with a PS3 playing PS1 games, where proper 240p output is also not possible. Considering the benefit of the seamless 240p to 480i switching, I had hoped that the Waka might pair nicely with the OSSC for connecting to digital displays. Unfortunately, default 4 by 3 settings on the OSSC (which normally work great for everything else) in this case provide unsatisfactory results because the Waka’s uneven horizontal pixel sizing conflicts with the OSSC’s own sampling. Video quality flaws, like jailbars, are also made more visible in the digital realm, so even if it might be possible to dial in more optimized timings for the Waka on the OSSC, frankly it’s probably just not worth it. Maybe the cost of a product like this was just a bit too high to really catch on, but I do wish we could’ve seen more devices like it back in the 90s and early 2000s, or heck, just more support for VGA directly from the consoles themselves. I’m sure that a similar, if not superior, look could be had for PlayStation and non-PlayStation consoles alike with many of the other analog line doublers that were popular in the underground videophile world of two decades back. The Waka isn’t necessarily the secret best option for PS1 or PS2 games. But it is special for being a very unusual official PlayStation product, and while that may make it seem like just a collectible, it is nonetheless a quality device that, when used as intended, does exactly what it’s supposed to do, and does that quite well. (Captions by Jordan “Link584”)

100 thoughts on “Waka Up Scan Converter – Official PlayStation VGA Box :: RGB311 / MY LIFE IN GAMING

  1. If I may, I feel a bit ripped off by the intro! I know you two have been talking about a new series of shorter episodes and in this case the MLiG mini, however, I feel the quality of your videos despite the length still warrant your amazing intro and music. I get goosebumps when I hear that tune and see that intro. If you could reconsider putting back in the full intro even for the mini series I don't think many would argue against it 🙂

  2. Why can't Sony just make an official or at least licensed AV multi out to HDMI converter now there would be huge demand for it! And Cut out the hassle of finding a real rgb scart cable and a good hdmi converter box

  3. Flipping impressive! I don't watch this channel for the informational stuff, I watch this for the impressive production values!

  4. What game is that from 3:25 to 3:30? I need more action RPGs in my PlayStation library, help is very appreciated lol

  5. Does this device ever cause a loss of sync with Dino Crisis, Silent Hill, or Chrono Cross with OSSC or capture cards?

    What about the possibility of re-converting the signal to 15KHz RGBS and interfacing with SCART even though it's probably redundant?

  6. Wow! I didn't know the PC Engine Core II system could do that! ^__- It even has the green in the right place with the orange Waka logo. Nec..where are you hiding!!
    Great video as always, never knew this little gem existed.

  7. I'd love to see other alternatives to hooking up other consoles through VGA, I have a beautiful Tri Sync Toshiba Pureflat monitor in my Sega New Net City arcade cabinet that only accepts a VGA signal at 15/24/31 khz. I'd love to hear your input on this.

  8. Awesome video as always. Another really interesting converter to look into is the Exton emotia, which allows current consoles and computers to output 240p on a crt.

  9. I had the same Viewsonic converter in college connected to my 15" LCD. That was my setup for FF12. Unfortunately, it broke eventually and the unit I bought to replace it was not nearly as good. Finally picked up an OSSC this year for PS1/PS2, but the only solution for my Gamecube is a cheap s-video to HDMI converter until I bite the bullet on a Gamecube HDMI adapter.

  10. Could anyone be kind enough to make a list of the games featured in this video? So many look like things I'd play!

  11. I use my PS2 and wii on a pc crt with a monoprice component to vga. It looks pretty good, especially 480p. This looks sightly nicer, too bad no makes something like this anymore for other devices.

  12. So hypothetically you could remove the Playstation connector and replace it with a SCART connector and make it a generic line doubler?

  13. I've seen first hand the extreme picture quality of a bvm ,so this is ho hum, this is nothing to bvms or even pvms stock standard, how or why it works is beyond me cos they were not made for consoles or arcades, they were made for display yes, but mainly for where broadcast engineers use them for confidence checking of analog signal and digital signals throughout the system. Yet u cannot get a better console picture or even arcade picture than a bvm/pvm

  14. Very interesting subject. I didn't even realize there was an official VGA option for PS1. I like the "mini" format quite a bit, guys. You crammed a lot of good info into that 6 minute runtime.

  15. I audibly yelled in horror once you put the OG PS3 on top of that PS2. Dear god man, that console had a family!

  16. I really wished there was something like this on the market today. I have a Dreamcast VGA adapter that I love and would just love to use more systems on a PC monitor, as I don't have a PVM. Nor do I really don't want to go down that hole.

  17. That's fascinating , I've got the exact same CRT monitor but is branded Mitsubishi : https://www.reddit.com/r/retrogaming/comments/7jhx04/whats_better_then_a_trinitron_a_diamondrtron/?utm_source=reddit-android

  18. Please do a RGB video on the SONY BRAVIA KDL-22PX300 which is a PS2 built into a LCD screen a official Sony Product 🙂

  19. Does the Waka allow light gun game play on a VGA monitor? Are there other ways to play light gun games on a VGA monitor from PS1/2?

  20. I owned something similar to this for the SNES/NGC it output to 240p/480i/480p/ & very rarely 720i it was about the size of two PS Ones sacked atop each other.
    If only I could travel back in time and tell my past self not to sell it

  21. Thank you so much for the upload. I’m the proud owner the Waka and can’t imagine life without one. What a GREAT device. It works so well with OSSC. So glad to be an early subscriber to you-guys’ channel.

  22. I would have loved to have something like that back in the day or even a ViewSonic S-Video to VGA converter instead of using a 2nd hand monitor next to my PC one. Seeing Dreamcast games run on VGA displays at 60 FPS was a huge improvement over using A/V cables.

  23. Ugh that pic of Try with his >=19" black Viewsonic PC CRT makes me feel the pain of ditching mine years ago 🙁

  24. Is the retro tron-like theme music in your intro self made? Or is it from a song I can download? I really want to download it!

  25. Is there a device that converts component from consoles such as the PS2 and Gamecube to VGA for use on a PC CRT so you can get 480p on a CRT? And are there any universal equivalents to this Waka up scan converter that can work on all RGB consoles? I’m wondering if using a PC CRT is possible for my retro consoles (240p and 480p)

  26. *TIP: For anyone considering the Waka, you’ll want a new PSU as the one included is Japan only (100v non-switching). I’ve found the Korg KA350 power adaptor is a perfect replacement. (The other option is a Japanese step-down converter).*

    As for the Waka unit itself, I recently purchased one new-in-box and I’m very happy with it. I was debating between this and the OSSC but ultimately went with the Waka. The benefits in my case were:

    – I have a high-end 20” Diamondtron VGA CRT that my Dreamcast is currently connected to (which looks fantastic). I now have my PS1 connected to the 2nd VGA port via the Waka and it works perfectly. The OSSC would have required an additional HDMI-to-VGA converter, which adds another conversion step.

    – The Waka does resolution switching with no issues, while the OSSC (or rather modern TVs connected to it) will struggle with games that do this, as mentioned in the video.

    – There are no settings, tweaks, firmware updates, etc. required to get the Waka working out of the box. The device is literally plug-and-play, and there are zero compatibility issues as it outputs a perfect industry-standard 640 x 480 VGA signal.

    – The Waka has a seperate headphone output on the front with a dedicated volume knob. I have my PS1 connected to external speakers, and headphones connected to the Waka.

    Additional notes: The unit has a VGA passthrough if needed. I use a MiniSLG for scanline generation which works fine. The Waka also looks great on my Sharp gaming HDTV (which has a VGA input and a very low-lag gaming mode). Finally, the Waka is the only officially licensed game console upscan converter ever made, which is kind of cool.

  27. Just use a PS3/Wii VGA cable on your PS2, and boot any PS2 software with a progressive option. Many of them use the Triangle and Cross method, like Tekken 4 and Guilty Gear XX.

  28. Guys are you able to take the digital download theme further, like with the Wiishop channel closure and look at the Playstation Store with a look at what's worth playing/purchasing, retro releases, unique developer titles and also in terms of the better PSone and PS2 ports on the PS4 as I didnt grow up with them but hearing some really good titles were released previously. Cheers guys!

  29. When are you guys going to do a review of the PSIO, the PS1 SD card reader (like the Saturn Phobe and Rhea)

  30. Have you tested the Atomos Analog to SDI/HDMI? https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1361561-REG/atomos_atomccnas1_connect_convert_scale_|.html?sts=pi

  31. So is there a difference between using a device to line double and using software to render the effect? I imagine this video has more to do with quality direct from console, however I wanted to know about rendering already recorded source footage.

  32. I just looked on EBay and holy shit, this thing is expensive. When a Sony PVM or a convoluted Framemeister setup seems competitively priced, you know there's a problem.

  33. Scrolled through the comments to see of anyone answered my question. What game is @ 3:52 in the video? I love the style and I want it. Your videos are excellent and very professional by the way. You are an asset to the gaming community here on YouTube.

  34. This is not even a good backup to even a completely stock PVM CRT because the converter box just wont completely display everything properly!

  35. Shame this thing can’t handle native 480p. Regardless, the Waka looks like it could be an excellent alternative to RGB Scart, especially considering VGA is more widely supported on HDTVs. (At least a couple years back. 3 of my HDTVs support VGA.)

  36. 3:41: And what about 1080i for PS2? Or 480p, 720p, 1080i, or 1080p for PS3? Can the Waka upscan converter handle any of those resolutions for either of the 2 consoles?

  37. If I had known this existed back then I would have bought one.  I had a different piece of junk converter to monitor solution that didn't even have s video.

  38. You’d think a device designed for CRTs wouldn’t suffer from issues with non-square pixels.

  39. Hang on, how does 320×240 linedoubled to 640×480 have uneven pixels? Especially when played on CRT capable of non-squads pixels?

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