Nintendo A/V cable guide
There are a plethora of different A/V cables available for the Super Nintendo, Super Famicom, N64 and Gamecube, and they all appear to use the same style plug which connects to the Nintendo MULTI OUT / AV OUT port.
The MULTI OUT socket can be found on a number of different consoles released by Nintendo, from the Super Nintendo to the GameCube, to name but a few. The MULTI OUT is a superior alternative to the traditional RF OUT. Each consoles MULTI OUT socket may look identical, but they don’t necessarily output the same video format, which means you may need separate cables if you have a collection of different Nintendo systems. This is because not all of the Nintendo consoles output the same video format, and there are also some regional differences between the PAL Super Nintendo and the NTSC Super Nintendo, which require alternative components inside each video cable. The MULTI OUT was designed to support three video formats, namely, composite video, s-video and RGB video, all of which are better than RF!
For example the original PAL Super Nintendo (SNES), NTSC Super Nintendo (SNES) and Super Famicom (SFC) consoles supported all three video formats, however, in later model releases Nintendo removed the s-video and RGB capabilities from the socket, and renamed the socket AV OUT. Which meant later versions of SNES and SFC consoles named the Jr and Mini only output composite video and not s-video or RGB video.
In this article we discuss the factory standard video outputs for each of Nintendo’s consoles. We then give our recommendation on the best video format to use, any modifications needed to the console to achieve the best video quality and finally what cables to use.
NES / Nintendo Entertainment System (PAL/NTSC)The original 8 bit Nintendo Entertainment System consoles only output RF and composite video. No S-Video or RGB video. There is a rare NES model released in France which has the MULTI AV socket, but it only outputs composite video. The regular NES outputs composite A/V via two phono/RCA ports located on the side of the console.
You can get a SCART cable for the NES, however, this supplies composite video only and not RGB. If you want to modify your NES for RGB then there is an NES modification kit available from some bloke in Australia called Tim.
SNES / Super Nintendo Entertainment System (PAL)
The original PAL SNES (SNSP-001) also known as the "Fat version" outputs RF, composite video, s-video and RGB video. The best video output for the PAL SNES is RGB video, but using a "sync on luma" AKA "Luma Sync" version of the RGB SCART cable, which gives a better picture then the regular "sync over composite" video, which is how most RGB SCART cables are wired. Using a regular "sync over composite" video RGB SCART cable can result in a checker-board effect on screen. The Luma Sync version of our RGB SCART cable resolves this problem and gives a beautiful crisp and clear image.
The only acceptation apparently is the PAL model SNSP-001A(FRG), which appears to only work with a GameCube RGB SCART rather than the PAL RGB SCART, which suggests that this consoles RGB output circuit is wired differently to a normal PAL console. Gotta love Nintendo for being consistent, NOT! If you know differently then please tell us, as this claim has not been verified by us personally.
SNES / Super Nintendo Entertainment System (NTSC)
The original "fat" NTSC SNES (SNS-001) outputs composite video, s-video and RGB video via the MULTI OUT, just like its PAL counterpart, however the NTSC SNES has the added advantage of outputing CSYNC via the MULTI OUT on pin number 3. CSYNC, also known as composite sync is the cleanest version of sync available, as it doesn't rely on using the composite video wire for transmission. For more information on sync variations please see our Demystifying RGB & Sync guide.
Later versions of the NTSC SNES named the SNES Mini / Jr or 2 only support composite video, and not s-video or RGB. However, the video encoder chip on the console does support those formats, but were not psychically wired to the AV OUT socket by Nintendo for some strange reason. If you wish to wire up your console for RGB video from the video encoder to the AV OUT socket then check out this guide.
For the SNES 1 chip-03 the best sync format to use is "sync on luma" as there is no CSYNC output on this console revision. In our store we sell both the CSYNC and sync on luma versions of the SNES NTSC RGB SCART cable. If you have an RGB modified SNES mini then you cannot use our CSYNC RGB SCART cable, you will need a GameCube RGB SCART, as the sync signal is taken from pin 3 of the MULTI OUT / AV OUT socket, and normally the sync is wired to pin 9.
Nintendo 64 (NTSC / PAL)