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Questions tagged [display]

For questions regarding the display formats of retrocomputers.

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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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
2 votes
2 answers
970 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 '...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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. ...
34 votes
9 answers
42k views

How can you connect an Amiga 500/600/1000/2000 to a modern monitor?

I have an Amiga 500 that I'd like to get up and running again, but the 1084 monitor with which I used to use it has flyback transformer issues. What options are available to hook it up to a modern ...
6 votes
3 answers
2k views

Why not SCART for early color monitors

By the early eighties, it was starting to be considered desirable for computers to have color monitors. Home computers often made do with a TV set and accepted the consequent low resolution, but ...
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&...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
21 votes
12 answers
7k views

640x480 color display in 1980

I'm working on an alternate history story in which the protagonists, Silicon Valley computer entrepreneurs, are trying to release a graphical workstation in 1980, with the capability of displaying ...
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 ...
19 votes
8 answers
4k views

CP/M in fewer than 80 columns

The standard for business computing in the seventies and eighties was 80 columns, and CP/M was primarily for business computing, so it's unsurprising that CP/M typically ran in 80 columns. For example,...
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, ...
24 votes
2 answers
5k views

Blue and yellow stripes on the screen when loading from tape on ZX Spectrum

When loading a program from tape on ZX Spectrum you could see those blue and yellow stripes around the splash screen. I might be mistaken but I believe those were even sometimes used for quite ...
6 votes
2 answers
545 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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
2 votes
2 answers
2k views

Timeline of progressive scan CRT resolutions

In chronological order of roughly1 increasing total pixel count (world record style), please list progressive scan raster CRT monitors (not vector monitors) that were in production (not prototypes). ...
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 - ...
28 votes
25 answers
4k views

Which computers had redefinable character sets?

My first computer was an Exidy Sorcerer, bought in the late '70s. It featured a full keyboard including lower case, on screen text of 64 B&W characters by 30 rows, 2 MHz z-80 processor, up to 48 ...
2 votes
1 answer
284 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 ...
29 votes
8 answers
3k views

Proportional fonts on 8-bit computers

Many 8-bit computers had video systems that provided tiles, and when these were available, they were the obvious ways to display text. However, some 8-bit computers such as the ZX Spectrum and ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
14 votes
1 answer
1k views

Why did the Ataris have such clear displays?

Anyone that's seen an Atari 400/800 next to a VIC-20 or C64 will know what I'm talking about - the Atari display was much, much sharper. It had a similar advantage over the Apple II, and I seem to ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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?
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
9 votes
2 answers
1k views

Spectrum clones 512x192 mode usable text resolution

The original ZX Spectrum has a resolution of 256x192, for 32x24 text. Some later clones add a 512x192 mode. The most obvious thing to do with that is try to display 64x24 text. According to https://en....
-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?
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 ...
-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.
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 ...