108 votes
Accepted

How was it back then in 1984, when the Apple II had color, and the new Macintosh didn't?

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 (...
John Dallman's user avatar
  • 13.2k
70 votes

What causes that "organic fade to black" effect in classic video games?

@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 ...
scurest's user avatar
  • 791
70 votes

Why did old IBM-PC-compatible computers only have 16 colors available?

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 ...
ssokolow's user avatar
  • 6,765
65 votes

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

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 ...
Toby Speight's user avatar
  • 1,678
60 votes
Accepted

Why does 8 bit truecolor use only 2 bits for blue?

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 ...
Bregalad's user avatar
  • 1,866
49 votes

How was it back then in 1984, when the Apple II had color, and the new Macintosh didn't?

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....
Alex Hajnal's user avatar
  • 9,350
38 votes

How was it back then in 1984, when the Apple II had color, and the new Macintosh didn't?

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 ...
Raffzahn's user avatar
  • 223k
34 votes

Which 8 bit computer could display the most colors?

Considering only 8-bit CPUs, I think the answer is the Fujitsu FM-77 AV40, which can display any 64,000 colours from a palette of 262,144 with a 320×200 resolution (the 64,000-colour limit is tied to ...
Stephen Kitt's user avatar
32 votes
Accepted

Square pixels and TV output

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 ...
Grabul's user avatar
  • 3,657
29 votes
Accepted

Why BGR color order

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 ...
Brian H's user avatar
  • 60.8k
29 votes

Limiting factor on early color palettes

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: ...
Mark's user avatar
  • 8,576
26 votes

Why did old IBM-PC-compatible computers only have 16 colors available?

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 ...
Justme's user avatar
  • 32.1k
23 votes

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

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 ...
badjohn's user avatar
  • 2,024
23 votes

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

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 ...
rackandboneman's user avatar
22 votes
Accepted

Limiting factor on early color palettes

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 ...
mcleod_ideafix's user avatar
22 votes

Which 8 bit computer could display the most colors?

The Game Boy Colour allowed for 32768 colours (https://gbdev.io/pandocs/Palettes.html). With 8 palettes of 4 colours available, that's 32 colours on screen at once. The palette data can be updated ...
rhellen's user avatar
  • 321
21 votes
Accepted

Why not one pixel per color clock?

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 ...
Tommy's user avatar
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20 votes

Why does the C64 have the following palette?

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 ...
Stephen Kitt's user avatar
20 votes
Accepted

What is the most accurate way to map 6-bit VGA palette to 8-bit?

The most accurate way of course depends on what is the purpose. No way is perfect and there is no one true method for all purposes. First of all, how the VGA works, is that it used the INMOS G171 ...
Justme's user avatar
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19 votes
Accepted

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

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 ...
mcleod_ideafix's user avatar
18 votes

Why does 8 bit truecolor use only 2 bits for blue?

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 ...
Raffzahn's user avatar
  • 223k
17 votes

What causes that "organic fade to black" effect in classic video games?

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 ...
user's user avatar
  • 15.2k
16 votes
Accepted

My Compaq Presario CDS 633 outputs color in Windows 3.1 but not in DOS. How can I get color in DOS?

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 ...
mcleod_ideafix's user avatar
16 votes
Accepted

Ideal resolution for color computer on NTSC

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 ...
mcleod_ideafix's user avatar
16 votes

How was it back then in 1984, when the Apple II had color, and the new Macintosh didn't?

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 ...
ghellquist's user avatar
15 votes

What is the most accurate way to map 6-bit VGA palette to 8-bit?

Justme detailed some of the reasons that the exact conversion method probably doesn't matter. Another reason is that you are probably going to interpret the 8-bit output according to the sRGB standard,...
benrg's user avatar
  • 1,957
15 votes

Which 8 bit computer could display the most colors?

The Amstrad CPC plus range of Z80 machines could display 4096 colours at the same time.
Mark Williams's user avatar
14 votes

How was it back then in 1984, when the Apple II had color, and the new Macintosh didn't?

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 ...
Krazy Glew's user avatar
14 votes

Ideal resolution for color computer on PAL/SECAM

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 ...
occipita's user avatar
  • 2,357
14 votes

Why was the VIC-II restricted to a hard-coded palette?

We can of course only guess why, but with a fixed palette, it only needs to implement the circuits you need to get the 16 predesigned colors based on the color index. Cheaper, faster, and they were ...
Justme's user avatar
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