Skip to main content

Questions tagged [display]

For questions regarding the display formats of retrocomputers.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
8 votes
1 answer
2k views

Why was the SNES color gamut RGB?

The SNES color gamut is 15-bit RGB. On the face of it, that makes sense for a 16-bit machine. But. The color generators on some earlier machines like the Atari 2600, Commodore 64, NES, were not ...
rwallace's user avatar
  • 62.8k
37 votes
7 answers
26k views

Why did older computers and OSes use UPPER case instead of lower case?

Memory constraints in ye olden days meant that text-mode display adapters had room for either upper or lower case, but not both. Why was this universally uppercase and never lowercase? I remember ...
MonocleRB's user avatar
  • 481
7 votes
5 answers
2k views

Was there a notable mainstream 640×480 monochrome display for PC earlier than MCGA

On IBM PC compatibles, the first widely-known display subsystems capable of displaying 640×480 pixels (resulting in square pixels with a 4:3 display) were the MCGA and VGA in 1987. By then, 640×400 ...
airman's user avatar
  • 1,350
2 votes
2 answers
975 views

RGBI direct connection to VGA display

Theoretically, if I would wire my CGA card output to a proper display using R,G,B,Hsync,Vsync,Ground lines only, I should see something sensible on the screen. I would lose Intesity information, all '...
Dercsár's user avatar
  • 695
2 votes
1 answer
250 views

Need help with my Compaq Presario cm0900

First off, this is something that has been troubling me for quite a while because I am dealing with a pretty rare machine. I looked up this specific model but the computers I found were either from ...
Anonymous Chicken's user avatar
23 votes
2 answers
5k views

What did Windows 2 do about varying aspect ratio?

There was a time when computer graphics had to deal with non-square pixels. Happily that time ended once everyone had VGA or better. But Windows 2 supported both EGA and VGA. And while the latter has ...
rwallace's user avatar
  • 62.8k
2 votes
0 answers
163 views

Eventual garbage screen on Commodore PET 2001N

I have a Commodore PET 2001N 32K that boots and runs fine but eventually (sometimes minutes, sometimes hours) it goes to a garbage screen, and it will stay that way if I immediately cycle the power. ...
RedFilter's user avatar
  • 121
3 votes
4 answers
2k views

What did game programmers and journalists mean by a "hardware trick"? [closed]

Recently, I've been hearing a good deal about hardware tricks. For instance, the YouTuber Ahoy (see A Brief History of Graphics) mentions that some game programmers resorted to "hardware tricks&...
AndrewGreen's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
336 views

Was there ever a monospace display system (eg terminal) that used a vertical cursor?

Related to my earlier question about IBM PC cursors, I am now wondering if there has ever been a monospaced character display system (such as a terminal) that would've implemented a vertical cursor in ...
tuomas's user avatar
  • 2,793
19 votes
8 answers
7k views

Why did IBM PC have horizontal cursor instead of vertical or block cursor?

Most 8 bit machines, like C-64, seem to have block cursors, while modern user interfaces often have vertical cursors. PC has horizontal cursor of two (or 3) scanlines by default, and block cursor for ...
tuomas's user avatar
  • 2,793
3 votes
1 answer
391 views

How to change graphics modes from BASIC on a Timex/Sinclair 2068?

I've got the Timex/Sinclair 2068 emulation working under MAME and wanted to play with its extra graphics modes the original version of the Sinclair ZX Spectrum didn't have. But despite an hour of ...
hippietrail's user avatar
  • 6,684
14 votes
2 answers
2k views

What is the size of the border of the ZX Spectrum in scanlines/pixels/bytes?

The bitmap area of the Sinclair ZX Spectrum is exactly 256 x 192 pixels. Surrounding the bitmap is quite a wide border area which is generally just one colour but loading and saving from tape changes ...
hippietrail's user avatar
  • 6,684
5 votes
2 answers
408 views

Was there a system with customarily backspaced prompts?

Nowadays, a default prompt in a Unix shell might look like % _ or $ _ (with the underscore indicating the cursor location), or, on other systems, a more elaborate string, like C:\>_. On the besm-6, ...
Leo B.'s user avatar
  • 19.4k
6 votes
2 answers
547 views

Were there any square monitors other than PLATO?

The PLATO multiuser interactive computer system used – and indeed invented for this purpose – a plasma display, whose key selling point in the late sixties was that it did not need refresh, therefore ...
rwallace's user avatar
  • 62.8k
18 votes
1 answer
2k views

How long did plasma displays persist?

I'm reading a book called The Friendly Orange Glow, about the PLATO multiuser computer system developed by the University of Illinois in the late sixties, which is fascinating at several levels as a ...
rwallace's user avatar
  • 62.8k
13 votes
7 answers
5k views

Could some 200 line displays have been pushed to 240 lines?

Reviewing Raffzahn's answer about CGA emulators for Hercules displays, and especially his initial (now corrected) note about 720x350 being PAL's natural resolution, I was wondering if 200/400 line ...
airman's user avatar
  • 1,350
2 votes
1 answer
285 views

Were any form-based applications designed for more than 80 columns?

The traditional standard display for business computers was 80 column text (with either 24 or 25 rows). Business software, roughly speaking, falls into two categories: Horizontal applications like ...
rwallace's user avatar
  • 62.8k
17 votes
5 answers
5k views

Why didn't early color TV sets accept RGB input?

Early PCs generated RF signal, and later Composite video or S-video, to use a TV set as monitor. Why didn't color TVs of those days expose a analog RGB interface for direct connection from VCR/PC or ...
Schezuk's user avatar
  • 3,754
4 votes
3 answers
936 views

Early vector computer displays: off-the-shelf oscilliscope, or custom built?

Some early computers had vector displays, which allowed the computer to draw graphics by steering a cathode-ray beam. Some examples include the Whirlwind, TX-0, TX-2, and PDP-1. It would be easy for ...
DrSheldon's user avatar
  • 16.3k
8 votes
4 answers
3k views

Choosing a monochrome color at the monitor?

A monochrome monitor displays only one foreground color and one background color. Usually the monitor was manufactured to produce only one color, which was cheaper (both CRT and electronics) than a ...
DrSheldon's user avatar
  • 16.3k
0 votes
0 answers
104 views

best port (on laptop) for using laptop display as monitor for an Amiga [duplicate]

i am looking to order an Amiga 500. i wanted to use my Thinkpad L420's display as a monitor, but it seems it doesn't have a port that would work for that. the thinkpad needs replacing anyways, so i ...
Ningirsu's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
374 views

Macintosh SE 30 displays half of the lower screen

I have a problem with my Macintosh SE / 30. More precisely, I only see the underside on the screen, ie from the center to the bottom. The other half, the one from the center up, appears completely ...
Roberto Rocco's user avatar
23 votes
11 answers
5k views

Did any European computers use 10-line fonts?

Most 8-bit computers implemented hardware text mode, and most of those used 8x8 fonts. This was logical for American computers; the title safe area on NTSC is about 200 scan lines; font height 8 gets ...
rwallace's user avatar
  • 62.8k
4 votes
1 answer
541 views

What are these graphical display commands?

I have a Pascal program with a fair amount of inline assembly code in it which demonstrates the capabilities of «Электроника МС 7401» — символьно-графический видеотерминал (Elektronika MS 7401 - ...
Leo B.'s user avatar
  • 19.4k
9 votes
1 answer
1k views

What kind of 256 color palette did the Enterprise 64/128 have?

The Enterprise 64 or 128 Home Computer apparently had a palette of 256 colors. However, that is pretty unusual and doesn't fit evenly into the typical 3 channels for RGB. Wikipedia doesn't provide any ...
scrØllbær's user avatar
  • 1,109
16 votes
9 answers
2k views

Besides the VIC-20 did any other micros have fewer than 32 columns available for text mode?

On early microcomputers it was common to have 40 columns of text with the alternative usually being 32 or 64 for technical reasons as well as ambitious 80 column models that became more common as ...
David's user avatar
  • 2,420
22 votes
3 answers
3k views

Glitch in the display of a Mac SE/30

I found an old Macintosh SE/30 in the basement and fired it up recently, only to find that there's some kind of problem with the built-in CRT. I don't really know how to describe it, though. Can ...
maldata's user avatar
  • 331
21 votes
5 answers
5k views

What kind of television set would work with the Commodore 64?

I found out all my SmartTVs don't work because they are too modern for my old computer. I am a young owner of a Commodore 64, so please bear with me as this machine is a decade older than me. I do ...
The T's user avatar
  • 561
2 votes
2 answers
415 views

Can I rewire a compact Macintosh SE or other compact Mac to play RCA Video?

I would like to take a compact Mac such like Macintosh SE, completely neglect the computing part of it, but be able to feed the CRT tube with an external video feed through Analog RCA cables. (Yellow ...
Dimitri L's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
194 views

Why didn't the Whirlwind I use a high persistence crt or something?

Why didn't the Whirlwind I use a high persistence crt or something ? On this video Whirlwind I at 1:48, you can see the text being diplayed, it is only very briefly visible, apparently they would take ...
mnml's user avatar
  • 450
9 votes
5 answers
2k views

Why did raster displays require semiconductor memory

This source states that introduction of raster graphics display began in mid-1970s only after affordable semiconductor memory had become available on the market. Would it be at all possible to make a ...
DmytroL's user avatar
  • 2,222
-5 votes
1 answer
225 views

What's the name and model of this computer monitor?

It's look like very old thing to me: It's in Black and White display. As you can see, it has a socket on the top of it . What's the name and model of this computer monitor?
Andrew Arc's user avatar
33 votes
3 answers
14k views

Why do PCs boot in 720x400 resolution?

Using my 21" Trinitron OSD, I can see that the resolution at boot is 720x400. From memory, this weird resolution is extremely uncommon if ever to be seen as a choice on software that supports ...
aybe's user avatar
  • 7,102
12 votes
8 answers
3k views

What are principles of vector CRT display? Simplest way to drive CRTs? [closed]

I am into playing with TTL to build 1970s style minicomputers. Aside from talking to them via some serial (or parallel) I/O port to a terminal, I am wondering about display output. This here is about ...
Gunther Schadow's user avatar
12 votes
1 answer
2k views

Why did the Amstrad CPC use a nonlinear screen memory layout?

The screen memory layout on the Commodore 64 in bitmap mode was nonlinear - which incurred a penalty in development time, code size and speed for games using it - because when designing the VIC-II, ...
rwallace's user avatar
  • 62.8k
38 votes
6 answers
12k views

Why did early arcade games use vertical displays?

Surprisingly many early arcade games, such as Pac-Man, Galaxian and Galaga, mounted their displays vertically, in portrait rather than landscape orientation. (From the perspective of the electronics, ...
rwallace's user avatar
  • 62.8k
6 votes
3 answers
595 views

Could monochrome systems produce better output for monitors than TV sets?

Many classic computers could optionally use a TV set as the display. At least in the early (pre-SCART) days, the TV would typically only have RF input, but if you were using a monitor, you could get a ...
rwallace's user avatar
  • 62.8k
7 votes
2 answers
861 views

What was the title safe area on PAL TV sets?

Computers that used TV sets for display, needed to worry about the title safe area. By consensus, on NTSC sets, it was 200 scan lines, or 192 if you wanted to play it really safe. What was the ...
rwallace's user avatar
  • 62.8k
15 votes
6 answers
4k views

Did any computer allow overscan on a CRT monitor?

The issue doesn't arise on today's LCD screens, but on a CRT screen, because the edges are slightly curved, and you might not be able to be sure exactly how the individual screen is tweaked, it's not ...
rwallace's user avatar
  • 62.8k
23 votes
5 answers
4k views

What is the hex versus octal timeline?

When and why did hexadecimal representation become more common than octal for displaying and printing out multi-bit binary fields?
hotpaw2's user avatar
  • 8,277
39 votes
8 answers
14k views

Why did computer video outputs go from digital to analog, then back to digital?

While early microcomputers used analog video outputs (often to use a television as a display), higher end machines such as the BBC Micro or Commodore 128 supported a digital RGB (or RGBI) video output....
Kaz's user avatar
  • 8,176
-3 votes
1 answer
239 views

Building a Sega Genesis Classic Portable - What kind of display? [closed]

I am trying to make a portable version of a Sega Genesis Classic. (See this example on Youtube.) I'm wondering what kind of display module I would need to solder to the board for this project.
ManquX's user avatar
  • 7
35 votes
5 answers
6k views

Why did Super-VGA offer the 5:4 1280×1024 resolution?

Before the age of LCDs, PC displays almost always targeted 4:3 CRT displays. And indeed, VGA and most super-VGA modes had 4:3 aspect ratio resulting in square pixels - except the odd 5:4 1280×1024 ...
Jonathan's user avatar
  • 713
9 votes
2 answers
623 views

First computer to have interactive text on a CRT?

What was the first computer to have interactive text on a CRT ? That the text on screen responded to key-presses without significant delay . I remember seeing some very early radar-installation CRT'...
questiontype's user avatar
  • 1,061
8 votes
4 answers
9k views

Set screen resolution in DOS-only PC

I replaced a failed CRT display with a LCD panel with a VGA controller board. There is no problem with the display when the PC boots up. However, if I switch the display off then I get an 'Out of ...
user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
4k views

When did MS Windows get Dual Monitor support?

I remember one of the features I admired on the Macintosh in the late 80s was support for multiple displays. First time I saw this was on an SE/30, using the internal display along with a big external ...
Brian H's user avatar
  • 60.9k
16 votes
7 answers
5k views

Was the picture area of a CRT a parallelogram (instead of a true rectangle)?

This may seem like an absurd question at first, but I've been giving it some thought and I'm genuinely curious about the design details of these devices. I was reading an answer on an unrelated Stack ...
smitelli's user avatar
  • 1,769
21 votes
3 answers
7k views

Did arcade monitors have same pixel aspect ratio as TV sets?

It is well known that when emulating classic games on modern displays, you need to be careful not to distort the aspect ratio. Generally speaking, CRT screens were 4:3, and specific pixel aspect ...
rwallace's user avatar
  • 62.8k
14 votes
1 answer
463 views

Could suitably-written Apple-I software force bytes into the display shift register, and do modern recreations emulate that?

The original Apple I didn't use RAM to hold the contents of the display, but instead used a group of six 1024-bit shift registers to hold the display contents and a seventh 1024-bit shift register to ...
supercat's user avatar
  • 37.3k
24 votes
2 answers
3k views

Why did the original Apple //e have two sets of inverse video characters?

According to Apple II Technical notes Mouse #6, updated January 1989, In unenhanced Apple IIe computers, the alternate character set contained two sets of inverse uppercase characters. In the ...
Robert Columbia's user avatar