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PAL vs. NTSC: a maze of twisty turny passages

A cautionary tale of consumer electronics regional lockdown follows. Hopefully Google’ll pick it up and it’ll help someone else in the same boat.

So I brought my PS2 with me from Ireland, along with a few good games, figuring that it’d be cheaper, and simpler, to bring them and buy a few bits of converter hardware here, rather than buy the lot from scratch.

How wrong I was. :(

So I’ve already spent about 50 bucks on a step-up transformer to convert US 110v to the 220v my European PS2 requires. Of course, the European PS2 outputs in PAL rather than NTSC, and most US TVs, including my one, accepts only NTSC input.

So the next step is a PAL to NTSC converter. Sounds like a pretty simple piece of equipment, right? Well, nope. Most pages out there that deal with this recommend either (A) buying a multi-region DVD player that’ll convert PAL to NTSC on the fly — which won’t work for me, as I’m not looking to play DVDs per se — (B) buying a converter like this one for about 280 dollars, (C) buying a new TV (even more expensive), or (D) buying a VCR that’ll convert on the fly, like the Samsung SV-5000W, for about 350 dollars. (forget it, that’s more than the price of the PS2!)

However, there does seem to be another option: a PAL-to-XGA converter, allowing me to display the PS2 output on my PC’s monitor. Still pricey at 152 dollars though.

One more: I could just buy a new PS2 over here for 180 dollars and install a multi-region mod chip. But my soldering skills are rusty, and license-wise, it’s iffy. :(

Finally, though, the winning option seems to be this: sell a PS2-to-VGA output converter box for about 50 dollars plus shipping. Given that the display quality is improved — and my monitor is sharper and bigger than my TV anyway — I think I’ll go for this.

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