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Questions tagged [video]

For questions regarding hardware and drivers used for video output.

74
votes
9answers
12k views

Why were CLIs typically light text on dark background, whereas GUIs typically use(d) dark text on light background?

My experience is that CLIs were typically shown with light text on a darker background. For example, the IBM PC would use white/light gray (depending on your point of view), amber or green (the latter ...
54
votes
6answers
7k views

Reason for the Amiga clock speed

The Amiga used a CPU rated for 8 megahertz, but clocked at 7.14 megahertz. What was the reason for this number? I remember it was something to do with a multiple of the frequency of the video ...
37
votes
4answers
17k views

Commodore 64 to modern TV

I've been thinking about getting a Commodore 64 machine. However, I realise there's obviously no video cables I have that will work. But when I looked online there are many people using S-Video to VGA ...
33
votes
4answers
7k views

What determines the color of every 8th pixel on the Apple II?

On the Apple II there's an interesting way to add a little color to the bitmap, since the high bit select the palette used for the three-and-a-half pixels represented by the byte. Like this: 0: Black,...
29
votes
1answer
1k views

How did the Amiga DCTV work

This is an unusual question since I'll answer it right away because it was a truly unique device and there is absolutely nothing about the technology it used on the internet. I spoke with the hardware ...
26
votes
3answers
1k views

What are the differences between a PAL and NTSC C64?

A lot of programs released for the Commodore 64 contained different software for the PAL or NTSC computer. Why did they have different versions of the hardware? Did the software have to be different ...
23
votes
9answers
5k views

Graphics chips in 1980

Suppose you were trying to build a computer with a color graphics display in 1980, you have limited engineering resources and time to market is critical, so you want to get as many of the parts off ...
20
votes
1answer
2k views

Can I hook up an Atari 8-bit computer to a flat-screen tv

I'm interested in getting an Atari 8-bit (like I had 30 years ago), but have only LCD TVs (and computer monitors). Can I hook this Atari to a flat screen TV, or do I need an analog CRT?
20
votes
1answer
676 views

When does the VIC-II read the sprite data?

This question is about the Commodore 64 and its graphics chip, the VIC-II. Imagine that on a particular scanline, the VIC-II needs to fetch 40 bytes (the background tiles) and since it's a badline ...
17
votes
4answers
4k views

What video connections were common in Europe?

What video connections were common on European TVs and monitors during the "retro" era? In the USA, first there were none on TVs (RF screw terminals only) and monitors had composite (yellow RCA, CVBS)...
16
votes
4answers
1k views

What graphical effects can be created by changing the VIC-II settings?

I read in this answer that one could create graphics effects outside the usual specifications of the hardware by changing the settings of the machine's VIC-II at specific cycles during the video ...
16
votes
5answers
987 views

Limiting factor on sprite sizes

Early consoles and home computers that were optimized for games, tended to provide sprites. From a game programmer's viewpoint, these were good to have. Of course, one always wanted more and larger ...
15
votes
3answers
2k views

With a 15 kHz video signal (240p or 480i), does VGA have any real-world advantage over S-Video?

It's difficult to find a modern LCD monitor that can display a 15 kHz signal through VGA, so I'm wondering if S-Video is just as good when displaying 240p and 480i? I've looked at screenshot and video ...
15
votes
1answer
527 views

Did the Macintosh Classic series use DMA to display video?

I'm learning more and more on how the original Macintosh series worked. I can't, however, find information in my research on how the Mac's video generator accessed the video RAM. My assumption is ...
14
votes
4answers
998 views

Did scanlines appear on the ZX Spectrum screen?

I used played Spectrum games as a child. According http://scanlines.hazard-city.de/ and http://www.zxdesign.info/vidresearch.shtml, the Spectrum 48K emitted 50Hz half-resolution full frames, instead ...
13
votes
3answers
839 views

What is going on in the overscan area of Sega Genesis games?

What is going on in the overscan area of Sega Genesis games? I noticed that different games display different things in the overscan area. I understand this was never intended to be seen. However,...
13
votes
1answer
408 views

How do Amiga “Monitor” drivers work?

A "Monitor" driver for an Amiga is a file which, when placed in DEVS:Monitors, enables additional screenmodes. The standard PAL or NTSC driver, which provides screenmodes compatible with consumer TV ...
13
votes
1answer
139 views

Videoprocessor with custom horizontal sampling

I have a variety of videoprocessors (Micomsoft Framemeister, Micomsoft SC-512N1-L/DVI, Sync Strike) to help me get the best possible RGB picture out of my retro computers/consoles. However one issue ...
12
votes
5answers
993 views

Can the wrong sync frequency really destroy a CRT monitor?

I've read in various places that an incorrect signal of the wrong refresh rate can cause physical damage to a CRT monitor, but I've never found an adequate explanation of why this is so. Is this true? ...
12
votes
6answers
1k views

Z80 and video chip contending for random access

Back in the 8-bit days, I used 6502 computers, where the story about memory access was easy to understand. RAM chips of the late seventies and early eighties could do 2 MHz (or a bit more e.g. 2.6 in ...
12
votes
2answers
606 views

Acorn Electron to VGA/HDMI?

I am aware that there are answers regarding this but they do not seem to answer it for me. A few years back I got a Acorn Electron and it works using the arial for video fine, but I would like to ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

What specific technical advance(s) allowed PCs to play “Full-screen full-motion” video?

In the early 1990s, the new buzzword for PCs was "Multimedia", and the gold standard for multimedia performance usually talked about was "full-screen full-motion" video playback. Many will remember ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

Were video chips specific to the CPU?

Modern graphics cards are essentially miniature supercomputers in their own right, with their own memory and instruction sets, but in the eighties and late seventies, a very common kind of personal ...
11
votes
1answer
201 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

Visible resolution of C64 video output, including borders

The VIC-II in the C64 outputs 320x200 pixels inside the borders. What is the full visible resolution including the borders? To clarify, I am interested in the full screen size in units of normal ...
10
votes
4answers
1k views

Did any machines alternate between two video memory banks?

If a home computer or console has two banks of memory, A and B, then the following design is possible: The video chip only connects to bank A. The CPU connects to both. During active scan line, CPU ...
10
votes
2answers
813 views

Atari Centipede Video and the GBS-8200 didn't seem to work - looking for ideas

So I ordered the GBS-8200 (It's a v4.0) and tried to use it to convert the 15KHz RGBHV monitor output to VGA. I did a direct connect to P11 with Red, Green, Blue and Hsync and Vsync and Video return ...
10
votes
1answer
305 views

VIC-II transistor count

I'm curious about the transistor count of the VIC-II, the video chip in the Commodore 64. According to http://visual6502.org/wiki/index.php?title=Chips_in_our_collection the Atari 2600 TIA chip has ...
10
votes
1answer
399 views

Why CPC464 display is less stable while reading from cassette?

Context The Amstrad CPC 464 has a very stable RGB video output. By "stable" I mean that the image on the CRT monitor does not move, wiggle, shake in any way. The electron beam draws every pixel ...
10
votes
1answer
639 views

Recommendations for high quality cheap RF demodulator

Does anyone have recommendations for a specific inexpensive RF demodulator that's higher quality than your standard VCR (and maybe a little bit smaller)? Like any old equipment floating around that ...
9
votes
5answers
1k views

How can I adapt a digital CGA/C128 signal (RGBI DE-9) to a modern monitor?

IBM's CGA and the Commodore 128's RGB video output both use a DE-9 connector. How do I adapt the CGA video output from an IBM XT 5160 or Commodore 128 to a modern monitor?
9
votes
3answers
7k views

How can I upscale the video output of a Nintendo 64 for low-latency and high quality graphics on an HDTV?

Say I want to hook up a Nintendo 64 console to an HDTV via HDMI or Component. What are my options for upscaling hardware to be able to play the system without low quality or blocky picture and with ...
9
votes
4answers
597 views

Columns of text in early microcomputers

As discussed in some previous questions here, 80-column text was established by IBM as the standard for business computing as early as the sixties, but monitors capable of displaying that resolution ...
9
votes
1answer
446 views

What was the difference between “Video Low” and “Video High” on the VIC-20?

I was reading about the Audio/Video port pinouts of the VIC-20 and I noticed that pin 4 is VID L and pin 5 is VID H meaning Video Low and Video High, respectively. I'm familiar with luma, chroma, etc....
9
votes
1answer
326 views

What was the difference between the original Video Toaster and the 4000 version?

There were two versions of the Video Toaster hardware: an original one designed for the A2000 and a later one designed for the A4000 which was suitably called the Video Toaster 4000. While I can ...
8
votes
2answers
687 views

Why did certain color combinations look terrible on the Commodore 64?

As I recall, on the Commodore 64's text mode, if you chose certain colour combinations, the letters would be badly obscured by some kind of interference which seemed to affect each character cell ...
8
votes
1answer
456 views

On the bbc-micro, a half-size mode 1 screen mode with 16 colours instead of 4 can fit in memory but can the video chip be programmed for it?

Screen Mode 2 on the BBC micro is 160 x 256 with "16"* colours. This uses up 20Kb of memory. Horizontal-rectangular pixels ( 2 x squares each). 4 bits per pixel (0-15 values for 16 colours) Screen ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Alternative to Amiga 520A Video Adapter

So I snagged a North American Amiga 500 on sale at a flea market. I purchased a DSub to VGA connector in the hopes I could get some color output. After getting strange Horizontal sync on my monitor, I ...
8
votes
1answer
401 views

How can I hook up my Acorn RISC PC 600 to a LCD monitor?

I own an Acorn RiscPC 600 which I picked up from Ebay years ago which apparently works but did not come with a monitor. I purchased a VGA to DVI connector to hook up the computer to my PC desktop ...
8
votes
3answers
496 views

Connecting an Atari 130XE to SM124 monitor

I've got an Atari 130XE 8bit computer that has Composite Video Output. Also, I've got an Atari SM124 monitor designed for the Atari ST 16-bit line of computers. If you look at an Atari 130XE packing ...
8
votes
1answer
583 views

Is there a device that will take composite video from a vintage computer and filter it so it is green or amber like the old monochrome monitors?

I know some monitors have a mono/green switch, but I'd like to do this with my 1702. If one doesn't exist, I'll probably try and make one (somehow).
8
votes
4answers
1k views

ZX Spectrum PAL Composite Video to North American Monitor

I have a Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48k. I have source a suitable power supply, and applied the Composite Video Mod to bypass the PAL analogue modulator. Unfortunately, I can get no useful output, having ...
7
votes
4answers
668 views

Video chip for hypothetical 1988 arcade game

I have a project where I aim to create a retro arcade game cabinet, the technology would be ~1988. For now I am planning to only simulate the system on my PC in order to develop the game. The ...
7
votes
2answers
369 views

Amiga Video Toaster support

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 ...
7
votes
3answers
287 views

Is it possible to have a NTSC picture 240 pixels tall, without any line being hiding by overscan?

On the NES, the system I'm most familiar with, the NTSC models produce 240 lines of video image, but the top and bottom 8 pixels are usually considered to be "hidden" due to overscan. (The actual ...
7
votes
1answer
362 views

Is it possible to chain TMS9918 chips to get better graphics?

I'm considering creating a retro system but without requiring the sacrifice of any retro machine in order to get parts. The TMS9918 chip seems the only "generic" retro graphic chip, all other chips ...
7
votes
1answer
227 views

Are there any trapdoor slot video cards for a non-tower Amiga 1200?

Are there any trapdoor slot video cards for a non-tower Amiga 1200 ? (That excludes Zorro expansion cards, PCI mediator cards and BlizzardPPC+BVision - as all of those require tower case, also ...
6
votes
6answers
925 views

What Video Chips/Video generation techniques are usable for the Z80?

I'm building a Z80 home computer and I need color graphics for it similar to other home computers such as the C64. I thought that, like Motorola or MOS, Zilog would have a peripheral chip dedicated ...
6
votes
3answers
826 views

A different kind of sprite system

Early consoles and home computers that were optimized for games, often provided sprites. From the viewpoint of a game developer, these were good to have, though one always wanted bigger sprites, to ...
6
votes
1answer
242 views

How did the original TRS-80 generate video?

I'm curious how the original (Model 1) TRS-80 generated video. I understand that an RF modulator was used but what kind of circuitry did it use to feed the RF modulator? The TRS-80 Color Computer ...