What features of the Amiga chipset architecture and/or Amiga OS made it possible to design the Video Toaster run on the Amiga?

Why weren't there similar (cost-effective) video products for the PC or Mac?

  • Speculation, therefore writing a comment instead of an answer. Amiga has support for external video devices to manage (even replace) the Amiga's video clock. This enabled lots of video technology innovation on the Amiga. I assume the Video Toaster used this technology but I don't know that. The Amiga's peers such as the Atari ST didn't have the same video clock technology and couldn't support these kinds of video devices as easily or cheaply, so couldn't compete in this area (but, the ST did have MIDI ports and became as prominent for musicians as the Amiga was for video.) – Richard Downer Jun 28 '17 at 9:18
  • @RichardDowner it's amazing how that works. Any computer could have MIDI ports but the ST had them by default. So it ruled the pro music scene. MIDI ports aren't exactly rocket surgery but just having them was a huge success (relatively speaking). That, and the hi-res B/W monitor helped pro musicians too. The Amiga's NTSC foundation is what helped it rule the video market until the Mac caught up. Fun times. – cbmeeks Jul 6 '17 at 12:56

I think is a mix of features that made the videotoaster a good match for the Amiga.

  1. The Amiga 2000 has an internal slot where both video signals and parallel port signals are available. This permits to Amiga and video expansion to talk conveniently.
  2. Among the video signals there is XCLK which permits to sync the Amiga with an external clock.
  3. Another important video signal is ZD which is high (or low?) when palette entry 0 is in use at a given pixel. This permits to the video extension to implement color key. The Enhanced Chip Set was even more flexible.
  4. Amiga can show 4096 colors in HAM mode and animate graphics at reasonable speed.
  5. Amiga can use overscan reducing the size of the borders
  6. Sprites, Copper and bitplanes are extensively used to encode data towards the video toaster
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    This is a good example. And like others have said, the Amiga had NTSC video at its core. Even it's clock rate was a multiple of the NTSC colorburst IIRC. – cbmeeks Jul 6 '17 at 12:59

The big thing is that the Amiga can natively work in NTSC. Don't know about early macs but for example VGA is totally incompatible with this standard so PCs weren't used that much for video editing in those days.

  • I don't think there was ever a PAL Video Toaster for the Amiga. – Brian H Jun 28 '17 at 16:45
  • really? I seem to remember it in some UK marketing material. I could be mistaken. – Wilson Jun 28 '17 at 16:49
  • @BrianH turns out you're right. I'll edit the answer. – Wilson Jun 28 '17 at 16:53
  • The PAL Toaster was rumoured about for years, it never showed up. – Zac67 Jun 28 '17 at 20:06
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    @Wilson - I'm not sure you are correct about the market being bigger for PAL. I looked at a PAL coverage map, and it's big, but it's also VERY multinational and covers some territory that wasn't going to have the money for things like a video toaster. To make money with a PAL version you'd have to get the UI going in half-a-dozen or more languages at least, which is a pain even today, let alone back in the Toaster days. – Michael Kohne Jun 29 '17 at 15:22

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