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35

CRTs don't have pixels, they don't work that way. Also, arcade monitors expose all the picture controls at the back so it is possible to adjust them quite extensively. Operators would have made sure that the picture was the right shape and in focus near the edges. Since the controls are all analogue and no-one bothered to measure the display geometry the ...


33

Early digital video outputs, like CGA, were not really akin to the later standards such as DVI and its follow-on's. The reason for using multiple lines to carry the different analog portions of the signal to the monitor was to prevent crosstalk interference of these signals. You can see this in the very early computers like the Commodore 64 and Atari 800 ...


25

VGA's 640x480 mode was the first to offer square pixels and an exception among all VGA modes available (320x200, 640x200, 640x350 and 720x400 for Text). Square pixels weren't the standard back then. Adding video modes in later (Super) VGA was kind of a marketing game to offer higher numbers to outpace competition. First it was Colour, like offering 640x480 ...


22

Why did the original Apple //e have two sets of inverse uppercase characters? Simple: To allow lower case inverse letters. It's all about the clever way Woz arranged the original II's single character set to save in hardware and offer additional functionality. There is only a single character set of 64 characters, showing up 4 times in 256 entry character ...


21

Before VGA was invented, CGA RGBI used 4 wires to get 16 colors and EGA used 6 wires to get 64 colors on the cable. Add 3 more for sync signals and signal ground, and this won't be an issue, simple cables and connectors exist for getting EGA's about 16.3 million pixels per second digital signals over to the monitor easily. Amiga was released. It supports 4 ...


20

Canonically in NTSC standards the drawn lines are tilted slightly so that the start of the odd field starting at the left is perfectly level with the top of the even field starting in the middle horizontally. The actual angle though is so tiny, ~0.09 degrees, that it's negligible compared to the rotation error you'd get just from the earth's magnetic field ...


20

Digital Research produced as one of their early attempts into graphical desktops (on their way to GEM) a basic portable graphics library - GSX. GSX did actually support proportional fonts, both in print and on-screen, and was included with the CP/M support in Amstrad machines running CP/M Plus. GSX was supported by two of DR's own applications, DR Draw and ...


17

Addressing the "why" part of the question - from my point of view as an assembly-code programmer on PDP-11 and VAX, the "standard" radix is most usefully chosen to match the instruction layout. PDP-11 had 8 registers and 8 operand-mode indicators. Its double-operand instruction layout was 1 bit generally byte/word indicator (b) 3 bits opcode (o) 3 bits ...


16

IIRC, the electron gun was actually installed in a position where it was rotated slightly relative to the tube, to compensate for this effect, so the scan lines did end up being horizontal.


14

Just the first (of many) example of using proportional fonts on Commodore64: https://youtu.be/k2NRlsopoOU?t=441 You couldn't really use a proportional font on the Spectrum because the colour attributes were one background and one foreground for each 8x8 square. That meant that, practically speaking, each letter had to be by itself in an 8x8 cell. ...


14

Did arcade monitors have same pixel aspect ratio as TV sets? Short answer: No, not necessarily. Long Answer: To start with, 'Title Safe Area' is an idea to define the parts of one transmission to be displayed even if any of the many receivers is maladjusted. It's nothing inherent to the TV signal or its definition, it's a safeguard against less than ...


13

Prior to DEC's PDP-1, of 1959, there would be MIT's TX-2 of 1958 - after all, the PDP-1 (and DEC itself), was a spin off of this project (and team). That said, it was only a single machine and a research project, not anything commercial available. Before that, there was the SAGE system, operational in 1958, which was used for RADAR surveillance. Images from ...


13

There are a number of tools you can use to tweak the display mode, including setting it to 640×480. The Free Software for DOS site lists a few, of which I’ve successfully used VBEHz and Text Mode in the past. SVGATextMode, as mentioned by Radovan Garabik, would also allow you to configure your display in great detail. The 720×400 mode you’re seeing is ...


13

The when and why of use of hexadecimal over octal representation is intimately tied in with where and what: the use of one over the other depended greatly on environmental factors, as well as the machine itself, with programmer preference mainly being developed by the influence of these. As Raffzahan points out, IBM 360 environments used hexadecimal from ...


12

Yes there are a lot of compensations in a CRT like: magnets counteracting background magnetic fields circuits counteracting curvature of CRT screen surface circuits counteracting different length of the beam (edges/center) "linearizations" of brightness (gamma correction) and probably much more I can not think of right now... But back to your question the ...


11

Older monitors had analog timing and, with one notable exception, were designed so that the signals presented on their inputs at any moment would fully describe the color to be displayed at that moment. The only monitors that used any sort of time multiplexing on their inputs were those that used the same analog composite color encoding methods used in ...


10

No 8-bit computer (back then) did support proportional fonts out of the box, but there where some programs on next every bitmap capable 8 bit computer, I this might as well include the Spectrum. For the Apple II support was added by Apple rather early. Already the Apple DOS Toolkit included a utility called HRCG or High Resolution Character Generator, ...


10

Back in 1986, a company called Berkeley Softworks released a GUI desktop environment called GEOS for the Commodore 64. It was later ported to the Commodore 128, the Commodore Plus/4, and Apple II. GEOS was obviously inspired by the classic Mac OS desktop. It implements all the basic elements one would expect from such environment, such as a pointer-driven ...


9

When and why That is quite close tied to the IBM /360 and its introduction in 1964. The /360 is based on the use of an 8 bit byte, 32 bit word (16 bit half word) and 24 bit address. Thus all basic memory items were multiples of 8 bit units - which are, without any remainder, best be displayed in hex. In addition displaying bytes in hex correlates well with ...


8

There is a Linux utility called SVGATextMode which can switch the resolution in text mode; there is also an MS DOS port, but you probably have to hunt for the binaries yourself. EDIT: found the binaries (no guarantee!): https://www.ibiblio.org/pub/micro/pc-stuff/freedos/files/util/user/svgatextmode/svgatextmode_1_9_16rc1-dos.tgz Read DOSPROGS.TXT inside ...


8

The first release of Windows to provide built-in support for multiple monitors, on graphics cards with appropriate drivers, was Windows 98. Support was subsequently added to the NT line with Windows 2000. Some graphics cards provided support for multiple monitors in earlier versions of Windows, at least in Windows NT 4.0 as described here (with SP3, ...


8

That question is built on somewhat weak ground. After all, most of the video formats you list as 'digital' aren't such - or at least not more as any of the analogue ones are. Just because an output like RGBI uses two levels per channel doesn't make it digital. They only feature a restricted number of signal levels. Digital signalling only started with ...


8

Minicomputers and mainframes typically used octal, as many early mainframes had word sizes that were a multiple of 3 bits, and so did some minis. Operators and engineers within those environments became used to this, so even power-of-two word size minicomputers kept using octal. Microcomputers, however, almost always had power-of-two word sizes for both ...


7

Quoting Wikipedia, it seems to be at least two factors: The availability of inexpensive LCD monitors has made the 5:4 aspect ratio resolution of 1280 × 1024 more popular for desktop usage during the first decade of the 21st century. (from here) The 1280 × 1024 resolution became popular because at 24 bit/px color depth it fit well into 4 megabytes of ...


7

Asteroids is an example of an arcade cabinet that didn’t even use raster graphics, but vector graphics. Battlezone and Lunar Lander were others. They used similar technology to the Tektronix 4000-series terminals of the ’70s, or the IBM 2250: A cathode ray fired into the back of a glass screen coated with phosphors, like in an old-fashioned black-and-...


7

The games Skool Daze and Back To Skool used proportional fonts for text on the ZX Spectrum. (source: worldofspectrum.org)


7

1280x1024@24-bit fits in 4 MiB. Why wouldn't you take extra screen space? Keep in mind that games didn't usually run in 1280x1024 at the time. Back before LCDs became the dominating screen technology, you didn't care about the "native resolution" of the display - you didn't get the ugly "one pixel is stretched over two physical pixels, its neighbour only ...


5

The screen character set on the Apple II looks like this: 00-1f: ASCII 40-5f, but inverse text 20-3f: ASCII 20-3f, but inverse text 40-5f: ASCII 40-5f, but flashing text 60-7f: ASCII 20-3f, but flashing text 80-9f: ASCII 40-5f (officially control characters, but displayed as normal text) a0-bf: ASCII 20-3f c0-df: ASCII 40-5f e0-ff: ASCII 20-3f (Apple ][/][+)...


5

Early laptop computers with LCD displays, such as the Grundy Newbrain or the Epson PX-8 were designed for displaying text. They were described in terms of the rows and columns of characters that would be displayed. These early machines prioritised wide displays (in order to show the same 40 or 80 characters per line as desktop machines), and could only ...


5

To expand further, it actually wasn't especially feasible — there is no easy solution that doesn't eliminate the interlacing. Interlacing works because the timing of the vertical retrace varies. On odd fields it is triggered so that scanning resumes at the beginning of a line. On even fields it is triggered so that scanning resumes in the middle. Because of ...


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