I review whatever I want now - Retrotink 4K Video Upscaler

Linus Tech Tips
18 Jan 202430:06

TLDRThe RetroTINK 4K is a revolutionary scaler that brings retro gaming to modern OLED TVs with impressive results. It offers zero latency, stellar motion clarity, and inky blacks, emulating the look of CRT TVs. With its FPGA-powered CRT phosphor emulation filters and robust IO, including HDMI input, it provides a gaming experience that rivals the original CRTs. Despite its high price tag, the RetroTINK 4K's advanced features and capabilities make it a worthwhile investment for retro gaming enthusiasts.


  • ๐Ÿ“บ The RetroTINK 4K is a versatile retro video game scaler that aims to emulate the look and feel of CRT TVs on modern OLED displays.
  • ๐ŸŽฎ It offers zero latency, stellar motion clarity, and inky blacks, similar to CRTs, but with the convenience of modern technology.
  • ๐ŸŒˆ The device can take low-resolution inputs, such as 240p from a Sega Genesis, and scale them to higher resolutions like 4K.
  • ๐Ÿ”ง The RetroTINK 4K includes advanced features like color correction and CRT phosphor emulation filters, providing a clean and authentic CRT-like image.
  • ๐Ÿ“Š The script includes a comparison between a $1,300 OLED TV's internal scaler and a $50 CRT, highlighting the strengths of the RetroTINK 4K.
  • ๐ŸŽฎ The RetroTINK 4K supports various analog video standards and includes new features like an HDMI input, making it compatible with modern consoles.
  • ๐Ÿ”„ The device allows for extensive customization, with settings for scanlines, masks, and blur to recreate the CRT experience.
  • ๐Ÿ–ฅ๏ธ The RetroTINK 4K is powered by a Cyclone 5 series FPGA, which contributes to its high-quality output and low latency.
  • ๐Ÿ’ฐ The RetroTINK 4K is priced at $750, which is considered reasonable given the technology and development costs involved.
  • ๐ŸŽฅ The video script also discusses the potential for the RetroTINK 4K to replace older CRT TVs in gaming setups, offering a similar experience with less maintenance.
  • ๐Ÿ”— The script concludes with a discussion on the evolution of CRT technology and the possibility of it being replaced by modern scalers like the RetroTINK 4K.

Q & A

  • What are some of the unique properties of CRT TVs that the speaker admires?

    -The speaker admires the zero latency, stellar motion clarity, inky blacks, and the way CRT TVs can blend blocky, ugly sprites into art with their limited color palette.

  • What is the RetroTINK 4K and what does it claim to be?

    -The RetroTINK 4K is a retro video game scaler that claims to be the best and most versatile scaler to ever hit the market, capable of producing high-quality images for retro gaming on modern displays.

  • How does the RetroTINK 4K differ from other scalers in terms of input latency?

    -The RetroTINK 4K has significantly less input latency compared to other scalers, with measurements showing less than a millisecond in 60 Hz mode and about eight and a half milliseconds in 120 Hz mode.

  • What are some of the input/output options on the RetroTINK 4K?

    -The RetroTINK 4K has a variety of input/output options including USB C power, SCART, RCA, VGA ports, extra composite and S-video inputs on the front, TOS link, a 3.5mm audio jack, and both HDMI input and output.

  • How does the RetroTINK 4K handle interlaced content compared to a traditional CRT?

    -The RetroTINK 4K is designed to help compensate for the challenges of displaying interlaced content on modern displays, and it can come close to the performance of a traditional CRT, especially when used with an HD CRT running through the RetroTINK 5x.

  • What is the significance of the RetroTINK 4K being the world's first 4K scaler for retro games?

    -The ability to scale retro games to 4K resolution allows for a much cleaner and sharper image quality on modern high-resolution displays, which was previously not possible with other scalers that did not support 4K.

  • How does the RetroTINK 4K's price compare to other options in the market?

    -The RetroTINK 4K is priced at $750, which is considered expensive compared to the older RetroTINK 5x at $325. However, when considering the advanced features and the cost of the Cyclone 5 series FPGA alone, the price is seen as reasonable.

  • What is the RetroTINK 4K's approach to handling modern consoles with HDMI output?

    -The RetroTINK 4K includes an HDMI input, allowing it to be used with modern consoles that output via HDMI. This feature expands its compatibility beyond just retro gaming to include newer consoles as well.

  • What are some of the community-driven features of the RetroTINK 4K?

    -The RetroTINK community is active in creating and sharing profiles for optimal settings per console and per game. Users can download these profiles, modify them, and also contribute their own to the community.

  • How does the RetroTINK 4K handle color representation and CRT emulation?

    -The RetroTINK 4K uses cutting-edge CRT phosphor emulation filters powered by a Cyclone 5 series FPGA, which allows it to accurately represent colors and achieve a CRT-like image quality on modern displays.

  • What is the verdict on CRT TVs versus the RetroTINK 4K in terms of image quality and enjoyment?

    -While CRT TVs have a nostalgic appeal and certain advantages, the RetroTINK 4K is considered to provide a very close emulation of the CRT experience with the added benefits of modern display technology, making it a preferable choice for many users.



๐Ÿ“บ The Nostalgia of CRT Tube TVs and the RetroTINK 4K

The paragraph discusses the enduring appeal of CRT Tube TVs, highlighting their zero latency, motion clarity, and deep blacks. It then humorously reveals that the described features actually belong to an OLED TV, which is using the RetroTINK 4K, a device that emulates the look and feel of a CRT. The RetroTINK 4K is introduced as a niche product that claims to be the best and most versatile retro video game scaler, with the reviewer expressing excitement about its potential to replace old CRT TVs. The paragraph also mentions a sponsorship by Build Redux, a company that helps customize personalized builds for customers.


๐ŸŽฎ RetroTINK 4K: The Future of Retro Gaming

This paragraph delves into the capabilities of the RetroTINK 4K, the world's first 4K scaler for retro games. It is powered by a Cyclone 5 series FPGA, offering CRT phosphor emulation filters, minimal processing delay, and robust input/output options. The device supports various analog video standards and includes a new VGA port, along with SCART and RCA connections. The paragraph also discusses the benefits of the RetroTINK's HDMI input, which allows for compatibility with modern consoles and the potential to pair with other retro gaming devices. The reviewer expresses admiration for the RetroTINK's ability to upscale older games while maintaining their charm and authenticity.


๐Ÿ•น๏ธ Customizing the RetroTINK 4K for Optimal Gaming Experience

The paragraph focuses on the customization options available with the RetroTINK 4K, emphasizing the joy of tinkering with settings to achieve the perfect gaming experience. It highlights the device's image processing features, such as scanlines, masks, and horizontal blur, which contribute to a more authentic CRT look. The discussion also touches on the importance of 4K resolution for accurately rendering the detailed phosphor colors of a CRT. The paragraph further explores the use of HDR to enhance the contrast and brightness of the image, and the community-driven profiles that allow users to download ideal settings for specific consoles and games.


๐ŸŽฎ Comparing RetroTINK 4K with Modern Consoles and CRTs

This section compares the RetroTINK 4K's performance with that of modern consoles like the Nintendo Switch and traditional CRTs. It explores the scaling capabilities of the RetroTINK when used with lower-resolution games and discusses the preferences for sharpness versus the more natural look provided by the device. The paragraph also addresses the limitations of the RetroTINK when handling 720p gaming and its compatibility with 1080p SDR. The discussion includes the input latency measurements, which show impressively low latency in both 60 Hz and 120 Hz modes, and the support for variable refresh rate and black frame insertion for better motion clarity.


๐Ÿ† The RetroTINK 4K: A Close Contender to CRTs

The paragraph concludes with a discussion on the RetroTINK 4K's ability to closely emulate the look of a CRT, especially at higher resolutions. It highlights the device's strengths in handling text and interlaced content, and acknowledges that while CRTs still hold some advantages, the RetroTINK 4K offers a compelling alternative. The paragraph also touches on the challenges of using the latest OLED displays with the RetroTINK due to their different black frame insertion methods. The reviewer suggests that for most people, the RetroTINK 4K provides an experience so close to a CRT that it may not be necessary to hold onto a traditional CRT TV anymore.


๐Ÿ’ธ The RetroTINK 4K: Pricing and Considerations

The final paragraph discusses the cost of the RetroTINK 4K, noting its high price point of $750 and comparing it to the older, more affordable 5x model. It explains that the price is justified by the costs associated with the Cyclone 5 FPGA and the development effort behind the product. The paragraph also mentions that the existence of a high-end product like the RetroTINK 4K could potentially lead to lower prices for older models. It concludes by mentioning the availability of the RetroTINK 4K for purchase and segues into a sponsorship by Grammarly, emphasizing its benefits for improving writing quality and efficiency.



๐Ÿ’กCRT Tube TVs

CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) TVs are a type of analog television that was widely used in the past. They are characterized by their bulky, tube-like design and are known for their zero latency, motion clarity, and deep blacks. In the video, the speaker reminisces about the unique qualities of CRTs, such as their ability to blend blocky sprites into art with a limited color palette, but also acknowledges their impracticality due to size and weight in modern times.


OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diodes) is a display technology that offers high contrast ratios, deep blacks, and vibrant colors. Unlike CRTs, OLEDs are thin, energy-efficient, and can be curved or rolled. In the context of the video, the speaker is surprised to find that an OLED TV can mimic the appearance of a CRT, indicating the advanced capabilities of modern display technology.

๐Ÿ’กRetroTINK 4K

RetroTINK 4K is a device designed to upscale and improve the quality of retro video game content for modern displays. It uses advanced technology, including FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array), to emulate the look of CRT TVs, offering features like color correction and input lag reduction. The device is praised for its versatility and ability to provide a gaming experience that closely resembles playing on original CRT TVs.

๐Ÿ’กInput Lag

Input lag refers to the delay between a user's input (such as pressing a button on a controller) and the corresponding action appearing on the screen. It is a critical factor in gaming, where responsiveness is key to performance. The video discusses the negligible input lag of CRT TVs and contrasts it with the latency issues found in some modern TVs when handling retro gaming content.

๐Ÿ’กColor Representation

Color representation refers to the accuracy and range of colors that a display can produce. It is an important aspect of video quality, especially for gaming, where color accuracy can affect the overall experience. The video script discusses the differences in color representation between a CRT and modern TVs, and how the RetroTINK 4K can improve color accuracy for retro gaming.


A scaler is a device or software that converts one type of video signal or resolution to another, often to match the capabilities of a display. In the context of the video, scalers are used to optimize the display of retro games on modern TVs, which typically have higher resolutions than the original game consoles. The RetroTINK 4K is a specialized scaler that aims to preserve the look and feel of retro gaming while improving the image quality for modern screens.


4K refers to a display resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels, which is four times the resolution of standard 1080p HD. It offers a significant increase in detail and image quality. In the video, the RetroTINK 4K is highlighted as the world's first 4K scaler for retro games, indicating its ability to upscale older games to take advantage of the high resolution offered by modern TVs.

๐Ÿ’กCRT Phosphor Emulation

CRT phosphor emulation is a technology used to mimic the visual characteristics of cathode ray tube (CRT) displays, particularly the way they emit light from their phosphor coatings. This is important for retro gaming because it can recreate the nostalgic look of older games as they were originally intended to be seen. The RetroTINK 4K uses advanced filters to emulate the phosphor glow and other CRT-specific visual traits.


HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) is a widely used interface for transmitting video and audio data. It is common in modern TVs and gaming consoles. The RetroTINK 4K includes HDMI support, which is significant because it allows the device to be used with a wide range of modern equipment, including newer retro gaming consoles that output via HDMI.

๐Ÿ’กBuild Redux

Build Redux is mentioned as a sponsor in the video script. It is a company that provides support guides and configuration options for customizing personalized computer builds. The service aims to simplify the process of assembling a computer by offering a variety of parts and guidance on how to put them together.


OSSC (Open Source Scan Converter) and GBSC (Game Boy Super Converter) are devices used for upscaling and converting retro video game console signals to modern display formats. They are noted as more affordable alternatives to the high-end products like the RetroTINK 4K, suitable for most people's needs.


CRT Tube TVs, despite being considered outdated, still offer unique qualities such as zero latency, stellar motion clarity, and inky blacks.

The RetroTINK 4K is introduced as a niche product that claims to be the best and most versatile retro video game scaler to hit the market.

The RetroTINK 4K can upscale older games to 4K resolution, providing a cleaner image while still maintaining the CRT look.

The device offers a variety of settings for users to customize their gaming experience, including color correction and input latency adjustments.

The RetroTINK 4K uses a Cyclone 5 series FPGA for advanced CRT phosphor emulation filters and imperceptible processing delay.

The device supports multiple input/output options, including USB C, SCART, RCA, VGA, and HDMI, making it highly adaptable for various gaming setups.

The RetroTINK 4K can handle modern HDMI-equipped older consoles and offers improved compatibility over previous models.

The device allows for extensive customization, enabling users to adjust settings like scanlines, masks, and blur to achieve the desired CRT look.

The RetroTINK 4K's community is active, offering a wealth of profiles and settings for optimal gaming experiences.

The device's 4K resolution and HDR support contribute to a more vibrant and true-to-life gaming experience.

The RetroTINK 4K's low input latency makes it highly responsive for gaming, with measurements showing less than a millisecond in 60 Hz mode.

The device's support for 120 Hz and variable refresh rate provides smoother gameplay and better motion clarity.

The RetroTINK 4K's ability to upscale lower resolutions like 240p from older consoles demonstrates its versatility.

The device's handling of interlaced content is superior to modern TVs, compensating for the challenges of displaying such content.

The RetroTINK 4K's price point of $750 reflects the advanced technology and development costs involved in creating the device.

The device offers a modern alternative to CRT TVs, potentially making the older technology less necessary for gamers seeking the classic look and feel.

The RetroTINK 4K's release may influence the market for older OLED displays that are more compatible with its CRT-like output.