Note: This site is The History Of PC Video.
As far as I know, TheHistoryOfMacVideo.com was still available
for registration, along with Amiga, etc. Somebody should do something with those,
while somebody's still around that remembers that stuff and has some around.
If you couldn't put it in a standard PC or AT or clone, you won't find much
detail here, except for historical reference. This will be a mess for a while,
as I'm focusing on getting the information up here first. Then I'll be able to figure out how to organize it.
- Brian Brazda
In The Beginning...In 1984, EPICenter (Electronic Photography and Imaging Center) was established by AT&T to manufacture graphics boards. The first product produced was called the VDA (Video Display Adapter), which had a resolution of 256x200 with 256 simultaneous colors out of a 32k color palette. At the time, it competed with the CGA (16 colors) from IBM. The second product was the ICB (Image Capture Board) with 256x200 and 32k colors. EPICenter and AT&T were now into the realm of video graphics - video capture, manipulation, and output to tape or NTSC monitor. EPICenter was purchased by EPICenter employees from AT&T in 1987 and renamed Truevision. The original PC and PC-XT had a processor speed of 4.77 mHz. Many "turbo PC-XT" clones would run at 8 mHz, but the VDA had trouble with the higher bus speed, so you had to keep them at 4.77. The best tweak was to replace the 8088 with an NEC V20 which had faster math operations. Math co-processors were scarce and expensive. The first reliable (and most popular) hard drive was the 20MB Seagate ST-225 with an ST-506 MFM interface, a 3600 rpm spin rate and a 65 ms average seek time. Data transfer was theoretically 625k bytes per second, but the mechanics made that impossible. In actual practice, it took about 1/4 second to load a full frame 51200 byte image. The original AT ran at 6 mHz. Many original ATs were overclocked to 8 mHz by replacing the crystal with a $2 part, until IBM released the official 8 mHz version in 1986.
The missing element was a way to combine live video and PC graphic output. Around 1988, Panasonic introduced the WJMX-10, a digital A/V mixer for an MSRP of $2400. This mitigated the need for genlocking systems, workstations, and switchers costing a hundred times as much. It was only VHS resolution, but finally PC-based video production was practical at a desktop price.
There was a time when this was true.
That was generally true when this cartoon was
published in 1989, unless the PC had a VDA or ICB.
The video below was produced on such a PC in 1986, three years BEFORE.