Choosing A Display


There are a few things to consider when picking a display for your MAME arcade machine as you have several options to choose from.

Please note that monitors contain extremely high amounts of voltage and should be handled with extreme caution, especially when opening. Voltage can still be held with in the monitor even if left unplugged for awhile, so be careful!

  • PC Monitor – A regular computer monitor is a good choice because:

    It can easily connect to and be use with a PC

    Text won’t appear to be blurry or hard to read

- It’s not such a good choice because:

Monitors are rather expensive especially larger sized ones when compared with TV’s

Some people don’t like the way the games appear when on a PC monitor as they feel it is too clear

  • TV – TV’s on the other hand are generally much cheaper for their size. They also resemble more of what games looked like when played on their original machines than PC monitors do. One thing I don’t like about TV displays is when running windows or configuring controls the text is very small and often hard to read. So when setting up your MAME arcade for the first time try running your computer in a Clone display with a PC monitor hooked up so you don’t hurt your eyes and can actually read the text.

  • TV-OutIn order for you to hook up a TV to your computer, your video card must be able to support TV-Out. Most video cards now a days do so but you should check to make sure before deciding on using a TV. Your video card would then include the cable to plug into the card itself and allow the video cable from the TV to be connected. Check with your video card manufacturer on configuring your particular card. I also found that turning up the sharpness on the TV itself makes it easier to read the text.

    NVidia – Enabling TV-Out
    ATI – Enabling TV-Out

  • Arcade Monitor - Arcade monitors provide a more authentic arcade look as they appear pixely and show scan lines like the original arcade games. Arcade monitors are usually easier to mount as they come in an open frame and should easily attach to your cabinet.

  • ArcadeVGA – In order to connect an arcade monitor to your PC it requires the use of a special video card with a unique cable. This used to be done by hacking a VGA card and VGA cable but it is now possible to buy the proper items from Ultimarc. If you would like information on how to hack the VGA card and cable check out these guides:

    Rockman’s VGA PC Monitor to Arcade Monitor

    Dragons Den VGA to Arcade Monitor

    Once you have your display picked out and set up in your arcade cabinet you may want to install a monitor bezel. I chose not to bother with it just yet but I am likely to use this type of corrugated plastic that will be cut to fit around the edge of the screen and simply be hot glued to the bezel mounting beams that came with the UAII kit. My 27” TV seems to fit perfectly in the cabinet with not much space on either side of it so I haven’t been too interested to install a bezel yet.

    If you would like to create your own bezel here are a few good guides to help you:

    Lusid’s Arcade Flashback – Bezel out of foam and cabinet laminate – click on monitor

    Spys DIY arcade – Bezel created from plexi glass

    You could also include artwork for your bezel:

    MAME Marquee’s Bezels

    Arcade Art’s Bezels

    Once you have your arcade display taken care of its time to choose and install speakers for your arcade machine.