95

I was working in software development at the time, and this wasn't seen as a problem. Colour monitors were expensive and not usually high-quality. In PC-compatibles, the Colour Graphics Adapter (640x200) wasn't regarded as adequate to be the only display on a machine; the Enhanced Graphics Adapter (640x350) appeared the same year as the original Mac, but ...


66

The original IBM Color Graphics Adapter (CGA) for the first IBM PC introduced the "80x25 at 16 colors" text display mode for use with output to color monitors like the IBM 5153 (as opposed to output to televisions, where you'd want the 40-column mode). All later color graphics adapters (EGA, VGA, etc.) provide compatibility with that mode and that'...


63

When colour television broadcasts began (1960s, in the UK; perhaps a little earlier in North America?) there weren't any local devices that customers might want to use. Broadcast TV was the only source of images that any home user could imagine. Adding extra circuitry to handle separated R, G, B and sync inputs (with appropriate protections against overload ...


62

@user253751 and @WimC are correct, this fade is achieved by drawing a semi-transparent rectangle over the screen, but using a transparency mode where the rectangle's color is subtracted from the color of the background. The PS1 has four semi-transparency modes (search this for "Semi Transparency"). The one used here is mode 2 in which the result of ...


60

Because the human eye is less sensitive to blue colour. It's also more senstitive to green than red, so depending on the number of bits available modulo 3 : 0 : The same number of bits is used for each colour (example: 24-bit) 1 : The extra bit is accorded to the green colour, which is the one the human eye is most sensitive (example: 16-bit) 2 : The extra ...


43

The Mac was designed from the start to be a GUI-based machine so clear, high-resolution graphics were a requirement. At the same time available memory was extremely limited due to cost considerations. The original Macintosh only had 128kB of RAM of which over 21kB were used by the display. Going to even 8-bit color at that resolution would have pushed the ...


33

I imagine it being a huge downgrade for some, not to have color on the Macintosh. Macintosh games were black and white in the beginning, while Apple II had color. For back then the whole assumption of a 512x342 pixel B&W display being a downgrade from a display with an effective (*1) colour resolution of 140x192 is so strange(*2), I doubt anyone would ...


32

CRT TVs are analog devices, there is no "pixel", but the size of the spot limits the resolution of the image, as the size of silver nitrate crystals limits the resolution of photo films. Several arrangements of the colour stripes on the CRT tubes have been designed, they are a compromise between resolution, luminosity and the precise alignment of the ...


29

The ordering for the color values stems from a desire to store color palettes in memory in a way that is easily transferable to the VGA RAMDAC used in IBM (and compatible) VGA video cards. The original IBM VGA implementation made use of the INMOS 171/176 RAMDAC chip, which is used as the Color-Lookup Table (CLUT) for VGA color mode displaying up to 256 ...


28

What you're missing is that early computers didn't generate their video signals the way that modern computers do. You're probably picturing a C64 working in much the same way that a VGA adapter does: you specify a color index to RGB mapping, and a digital-to-analog converter looks up that mapping and generates appropriate red, green, and blue signal values. ...


26

How were the colors selected kind of depends on why there are only 16 of them. In short, a CGA monitor takes four bit RGBI color input which means 16 colors. Each RGB color bit turns an electron gun for that color and I bit adds intensity to all of the guns, and brown color is handled with an exception. A color monitor has three electron guns for three color ...


22

What's the reason for the limited palette size? Intuitively it would seem straightforward to e.g. have a palette of 65536 colors; it would just be a matter of having a few 16-bit registers in the video chip, easy enough even given the technology of the day. The resolution of the digital to analog conversion circuitry would need to be improved, but ...


21

Early colour TVs predated VCRs and home computers by many years. Even if it did not cost much, adding an RGB input would still be a cost for something that no one would use. However, it would have been more complex and expensive than you might expect today.


20

I think you're conflating a few issues: being in-phase with the colour subcarrier; being sampled at a rate less than or equal to the colour subcarrier; and being sampled at an integer division of the colour subcarrier. Being in-phase has exactly one effect: the artefacts on horizontal edges are consistent from one line to the next. The edges do not ...


20

Many TV designs up into the 1970s were so called live chassis designs, which used one leg of the mains input as a reference ground. This saved materials and weight - given some early color TVs used 200+ watts at 100% duty cycle, you would have needed a rather bulky and heavy transformer, given that PSMPS technology was not really mature for consumer devices ...


19

S-Video relies on colour transformation from RGB to YUV, and then takes the U and V and modulates them using a colour subcarrier. The TV has to undo all these steps in order to get the original RGB signal. If the subcarrier frequency is not in phase with the pixel clock (as will be the case if using different crystals), then moving artifacts will show up in ...


18

What is the reason only 2 bits are used for blue as opposed to red or green? Does it have to do with human perception of color or was it just an arbitrary decision? It's a combination of being practical constraint by 8 bit words (*1) and adapting this to human physiology. The human eye is most sensitive to green and red (with a little tilt toward green), ...


18

This effect happens when the luminosity curve of the image is adjusted like so: This is called gamma correction and is a fairly common feature of graphics processing software and GPUs. My research has not turned up anything to suggest that the PS1 supports this feature natively in hardware, although it can be emulated in software fairly easily.


17

The email from Bob Yannes which you linked to gives the answer: I'm afraid that not nearly as much effort went into the color selection as you think. Since we had total control over hue, saturation and luminance, we picked colors that we liked. In order to save space on the chip, though, many of the colors were simply the opposite side of the color wheel ...


15

My guess is that your VGA monitor is reporting itself as a mono monitor to the VGA card. This may be caused by the monitor being too modern for your Compaq: The VGA card expects the monitor to report its capabilities using three pins from the VGA connector, but modern monitors use I2C to report EDID information on those pins. If the impedance at some of ...


14

I believe the assumptions of the question are wrong. We did not buy the Mac to play games, it was more or less strictly a business machine. Main usage in the beginning around me was creation of printed material including illustrations. Slightly later the laser printer came along making it possible to create camera ready material inhouse. Of course, I could ...


14

In the early 80s, cost of RAM for the framebuffer was the dominant factor, closely followed by RAM bandwidth. The difference in resolution between NTSC and PAL systems is minimal in comparison to these factors (note that despite the different number of lines per field and different field rate, each technology used a very similar line rate of ~64us per line, ...


13

The pixel clock has to be fast enough to generate the number of pixels you want to display horizontally within the 56 microsecond scan line interval. At 3.58MHz, you only get about 200 pixels. This was fine for the Atari 2600 et al, which had 160 horizontal pixels, but the other systems you mentioned had higher horizontal resolution, so had to use a faster ...


13

I personally agree with all of the answers that say something like “High quality bitmapped monochrome displays beat low quality PC color/character graphics.” E.g. for things like preparing documents for publication - affordable high quality printers were pretty much only monochrome. Why prepare a document that displays colors that cannot be printed? Except....


13

There can't be a simple answer, as there are many ways to reach that effect depending on console/hardware used. Using some 'overlay' needs incredible computing power and is usually tied to rather high end 3D engines. A way simpler method is cycling/dampening the colours. Here each colour used is replaced by a dimmer variant. An effect that is already easy ...


13

Assuming PC and CGA/EGA/VGA graphics (based on your example image) As mentioned in the other answer, colors require memory which was not cheap back then. Also more memory for rendered VRAM means you need faster CPU processing and memory bandwidth. So all boils down to find a compromise between: screen resolution color depth frame rate based on biological (...


12

The pixel clock doesn't have to be the same as the color clock. In fact, it's usually higher. Remember that in a composite video signal, the chrominance information (whose resolution depends upon the color clock) is less important than the luminance information (whose resolution depends upon the pixel clock), so the color clock can be (and usually is) slower ...


12

As for why did the Apple II have color and the new Macintosh didn't? Because color wasn't as important as resolution: "Steve Jobs asserted last January [1985] that no color Mac would surface for a few years at least, until such time as a color equivalent of the LaserWriter was feasible. He contended that color wasn't that important and said the Mac ...


11

First, the Commodore 64 could do better than 320x200 in monochrome. Without any special tricks, it could display two colors per 8x8 cell at that resolution. One reason of the limited color palette comes down to how much logic you could cram into one chip. Take the Atari 800. It was able to produce roughly 128 colors (later, 256) but it actually had TWO ...


11

With all these 'or' in between and jumping between various points, requirements and conclusions, it's a bit unclear what your're looking for. If this is about most colour with least memory, then the (unofficial) modes Mode 8 and Mode 13 are your thing. Or was it a limitation of bandwidth with the 6845 chip that couldn't handle both 320 horizontal pixels ...


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