MultiMedia Projector

Last modified: Sep 19, 2022,  Page views: 18

Home Page:
Categories: video
Compatible: C64, C64c, C128, C128D
Price: ~$250 (Depending on model)
How to Order: Order via Amazon, availability varies by locale.
Documentation: View Sonic User Guide (PDF)
BarcoMax Rear Panel

BarcoMax Rear Panel

Pyle Rear View

Pyle Rear View

ViewSonic Rear View

ViewSonic Rear View

Warning Example

Warning Example

Extra Hardware

VGA/S-Video ConverterVGA/S-Video ConverterMultiMedia BreakoutMultiMedia Breakout

My Take

Some might question why I'm listing a product that is not explicitly meant for use with a Commodore 8-Bit machine. However, many people don't have CRT displays, and sometimes our trusty old CRT displays just burn out.

Monitors today, are all either HDMI, USB-C, Mini-Display, DVI, and some if you're lucky support VGA. There are converters, which I list in the guide as well, but the quality is always better when the display has native support for the video format we need.

One class of display that still actively supports S-Video is Home and Multi-Media projectors. Not all projectors support S-Video, in fact, most don't. So you have to be careful when you shop, but there are several on the market today. And the best part is, the price of projectors has come way down.

The cheapest of the cheapos are under a hundred bucks. But, I'd avoid these. They usually don't support S-Video, but even if you're tempted to get one and just use its AV (Composite) input, the quality is often quite poor. For just a hundred dollars more, in the 200 to 250 dollar range, the quality goes way up and there are several models with S-Video support that will give you the best possible quality from a C64 or C128 with S-Video output. You may need a special cable. But a special cable is not a conversion, it's just a wiring scheme. Most C64s except the earliest models and all C128s support real S-Video, but the standard cables put out the Chroma and Luma on two RCA cables instead of the 4-pin mini DIN connector. See the extra hardware below, the MultiMedia breakout for the C64, also listed in the Guide, provides your C64 with an S-Video female port, so you can use a standard male-male S-Video cable.

Shopping Advice

If you look around for an S-Video projector on Amazon or ebay, you really have to be careful that you are getting one that actually supports S-Video.

The descriptions, in my experience, cut both ways. Sometimes a description that doesn't bother to mention S-Video (perhaps because the vendor doesn't consider it a major selling point) if you look at the pictures and the more detailed description it is available after all.

On the other hand, it seems to me that sometimes a description will go crazy and list every type of popular input, including S-Video, but when you look into the connectors on the side you'll see that it does not support "true" S-Video. Often they will support what is listed as AV, and sometimes AV via a 3-in-1 cable. Don't let that fool you. This is composite video, and the 3-in-1 cable is 1 Composite RCA and a left and right audio RCA.

Take a look at the images I've listed on the side. The top most image clearly shows an S-Video in port via 4-pin mini DIN. If this is in the image, along with S-Video in the product description, you're good. Let's quickly go over the other ports so you know what you're looking at.

YPrPb, otherwise known as Component Video is not the same as S-Video, and it is in fact much more common on multi-media projectors. Converting a C64 to use this input requires an expensive active converter box, and the quality will likely suffer as a result. The AV Port in yellow is composite in. You can connect your C64 or C128 to this port, but you will not get the full quality your Commodore is capable of producing. HDMI and VGA are both PC standards that you can only use via a converter. There are some fairly inexpensive converters, one of which I've listed in the Buyer's Guide, however reliability of output quality is a bit uncertain. Some projectors, such as this one, have a TV input. This can also be used by your C64 and C128, and even your VIC-20, but the quality will be lowest, because it is carrying video and audio over an old television RF signal.

In the second image down, we see a model from Pyle. You can see it supports S-Video, VGA, Component, Composite and HDMI.

The third image down is a model by ViewSonic. I've personally had really good experiences with ViewSonic projectors. This one is actually lacking Component video, but it clearly lists support for S-Video and Composite, and the ports are visible in the image. Without having ever used this particular model, I would recommend giving it a try.

Lastly, I show a model as an example of a warning or red flag. The description of this product said "S-Video" right in the title, but the image clearly does not show the S-Video port. While it's possible that the image is not the correct image for the listed product, I wouldn't trust it. If this is what you receive, you'll be stuck using either AV (okay, not the best), TV (pretty crappy), or VGA (you need a separate converter.) So, beware.

Is A Projector That Great?

I say, it really depends on how you want to use your Commodore. Would I spend hours every night programming via a projector? Probably not. But would I watch demos and play games via a projector? Hell Yeah I would!

It's also pretty great if you go to Commodore conventions, shows or parties. Bring the projector along and you can demo your stuff large, directly on a giant wall.

Want to support my hard work? Here's how!


Here's an example description of the ViewSonic LightStream™ PJD5155.

The ViewSonic® LightStream™ PJD5155 price-performance projector features 3,300 lumens, native SVGA 800 x 600 resolution, and intuitive, user-friendly design. Exclusive SuperColor™ technology offers a wide color gamut for beautiful image production in nearly any environment, while sound enhancement technology delivers improved sound quality. The PJD5155 also features extensive connectivity including HDMI, 2 x VGA, Composite Video, S-Video, 1 x VGA output and Audio in/out.

An energy-saving DynamicEco® feature reduces power consumption by up to 70%, and extends the lamp life by up to 10,000 hours. With advanced audiovisual features, flexible connectivity options, and an affordable price, the PJD5155 is ideal for use in education and small business environments.

What people care most about in a projector is:

  • How long does the lamp last
  • How many lumens does it output (more means brighter output on your wall)
  • How quite is the cooling fan
  • What video inputs does it support
  • What is the native output resolution

Be sure to use these metrics when comparison shopping for the right multi-media projector for your Commodore.