Vintage computers and video game systems, as well as other consumer devices, often offer more than one video output option. Composite and S-Video are two of the most common options. Let’s look at composite vs S-Video, and why one is better than the other.
S-Video separates the video signal into two components, the chrominance (color) and luminance (brightness), where composite transfers them both on a single wire. Separating the two gives a clearer picture, though the difference depends on how the circuit is implemented.
Being the best doesn’t make you the market leader. Being cheapest doesn’t either. What I’ve heard is that it’s usually the cheap enough, good enough solution that wins. But even that is an oversimplification. Here’s how market penetration can be achieved.
Someone asked in a vintage computer forum recently what the correct monitor would be to use with a VIC-20. Commodore never sold a white monitor the same color as the VIC. Its first color monitor was the 1701, which matched the C-64. If you want a period correct Commodore VIC-20 monitor, you have a couple of options.
The VIC-20 will work with any composite monitor or television with RF or composite inputs. But there is one monitor that arguably looks more “right” than the others.
Was the Macintosh a failure? I’d call it a late bloomer more than I’d call it a failure. But in the mid 1980s, industry analysts were calling it a failure. Here’s why, and how it survived.
Analysts in the mid 1980s considered the Macintosh a failure because its sales were disappointing. It took the platform several years to come into its own, and of course, no one would call it a failure today. It was the machine that was supposed to usher in the future, and it took a while for that future to arrive. Read more
I defiantly celebrated the 25th anniversary of Windows 95 by buying myself an Amiga 500. That relic from 1987 did everything Windows 95 did, and it ran an operating system that first appeared on the market 10 years before Windows 95. It was easily 10 years ahead of its time. But it flopped. Here’s why Amiga failed.
There wasn’t any single thing that brought Amiga and its parent company, Commodore, down. If anything, the Amiga is a cautionary tale of how good engineering won’t save you if you get everything else wrong.
The Commodore 1570 disk drive was an odd, short-lived product from Commodore in 1985. Like many things Commodore did that year, it solved an inventory problem for them, but can leave people scratching their heads today.
The Commodore 1570 looks like a mashup between the 1541 and 1571 drives, and that’s exactly what it is. It’s a fast 1541 designed for the Commodore 128.
AST Research was a high-flying brand in the early 1990s, but faded in the second half, making it a somewhat obscure 1990s computer brand. Their computers had a good following in the first half of the decade and they were generally high quality. But financial problems sunk the company in 1999 and an effort to revive the brand failed in 2001.
AST Research shifted from making add-on cards in the 1980s to making entire PCs in the 1990s, but as PCs shifted to commodity parts under price pressure, AST failed to adapt. This led to a rapid decline in market share and the once-popular mass market PC brand disappeared from store shelves.
The Amiga 1080 monitor was the original monitor Commodore supplied with the Amiga 1000 in 1985. It’s one of only two monitors that featured the Amiga branding with the Amiga checkmark logo. Its picture quality is very good, but the monitor sometimes behaves oddly. You can fix the odd behavior. I’ll tell you how, and I also tracked down the elusive pinout for this monitor.
Atarisoft was a short-lived publishing venture from Atari, makers of the iconic 2600 game console and 800/XE/XL line of 8-bit computers. As consumer interest shifted from game consoles to computers, Atari sought to bolster its fortunes by publishing software for those computers. The results were mixed.
Atarisoft allowed Atari to make some short-term profits, but in the long run it may have hurt sales of their own computers. The titles Atarisoft published had been exclusive to Atari systems, so publishing them for other systems robbed Atari of system exclusives.
These kinds of blog posts have a way of coming back and biting me, but I’ll write it anyway. Are old Tandy computers worth anything? The answer, of course, is they are. But how much they are worth depends on what the computer is, whether it works, and how complete it is.