Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Retron HD NES Color Palette Extracted - Gawkers Beware!

The recent flood of low quality NES consoles has made me curious to see how they look and perform. I picked up a Retron HD at Hyperkin's PAX 2017 booth and was most curious to see what the color palette looked like. Not to my surprise, it looked a little... off.

I was also disappointed to find that NES carts such as the PowerPak don't work (crashes on boot). It was suggested by RetroUSB to try a higher current capable 5VDC power supply than the included one, but that didn't resolve the issue.

To extract the Retron HD's color palette I had to use a "real" NES cart with Loopy's paltest.nes program. Thankfully John Riggs came through and made me one to use for this project! Surprisingly the captured palette swatches are actually really clean (no noise). I captured the test pattern via the HDMI output from the console to both a Datapath VisionRGB E1, and a BMD Intensity Pro 4K so that I could cross check the results and found no discrepancies.

Without further ado, here's the RetronHD palette. Download RetronHD.pal.

Here are sample images using the RetronHD palette.


Bionic Commando looks especially egregious with the RetronHD palette! 😜

1 comment:

  1. Really interesting post, I recently started using a Retro HD and the palette is so off even my 6 year daughter commented that Kirby looked dark. Some games though look great, Duck Tales is suited to the palette the Retron HD uses, other games despite being clearly off work better than via composite, Double Dribble does look off, but the image is much clearer so you are still better off playing via the Retron HD and HDMI than via an NES and composite.

    I know this is all about image quality, but it is also worth pointing out that the sound is off on the Retron HD too. I did a side by side comparison of Super Mario Bros 3 and it sounds very high pitch compared to the original hardware.