[Coco] CoCo Video Player

Boisy G. Pitre boisy at tee-boy.com
Thu Mar 17 07:47:41 EDT 2011


It's interesting how these feats of hardware have only blossomed of late, and it is fun to speculate the impact of such a demonstration 10, 20 or even 25 years ago when the CoCo 3 first came out.  John's work on the video player definitely has that "cool" factor, and you can see that by looking at the comments on the YouTube video of his demo.

Several key pieces of technology that allowed John's player to work were either non-existent or available but out of reach for most of us back in the CoCo 3's hey-day:

1. The SuperIDE with its large CompactFlash allows John to stream video data fast enough to blit it on the screen.  Perhaps there were SCSI drives back in the late 80s and early 90s that could maintain the same data rate, but I'm not sure if they could keep up at the same rate as the SuperIDE with the controllers available back then.
2. The video software conversion tools that John used to compress and modify the original video were probably not in existence back then, although they could have been in theory.  Assuming they did exist, the hardware that they would run on would be so slow comparatively that it would make encoding unfeasible due to the inordinate amount of time it would take.

John I'm speculating a a bit on point 2, so feel free to comment more on it.

Mark and I have applied this same line of thinking to our products.  DriveWire *could* have existed years ago since it is a purely software solution, but I don't know if may PCs could do 115.2Kbps serially back then, or could even keep up if they did.

So in each of these feats, there are elements which could have existed back then, but for one reason or another, weren't ready or mature enough to use.

I think that the "excess" horsepower that current technology provides us gives us a bit of wiggle room to attempt these feats.  Today's programming languages make creation of supporting software much easier, and the plethora of tools and the horsepower of modern systems makes it much easier and quicker to experiment with ideas.

I would like to see John take this project back even further, to a CoCo 2.  More challenging since it runs at half the speed of the CoCo 3 and has nowhere near the color range.

No matter how "poorly" the video looks on a CoCo 3 or even an attempted CoCo 2, for me there is the satisfaction that, after all of these years, my all-time favorite computer, the CoCo, is working as hard as it can to do something which computers today do while barely lifting their pinkie finger... something that the CoCo was always capable of doing, it just took us as a community to find a way to make it happen.  Now we can look at our beloved CoCo and say "From day one (July 30, 1986) we knew you COULD do it.  Now almost 25 years later, you are finally doing it!"

Go CoCo!
Boisy G. Pitre

On Mar 16, 2011, at 10:21 PM, brian palmer wrote:

> Damn If that was done in the late 80's or early 90's it would be classed as revolutionary for a 8bit system no matter what the video quality was like. 
>  Steve u always seem to put down what ppl do on the coco. Shit it is a Hobby and nothing else now, I am glad to see ppl still pushing the technology. I Congratulate John on even attempting such a demo lol. I used to respect you once but lately,  not so sure now all you seem to do is pick on others doing something.
>  John was it using a stock 6809 Cpu? What would it be like using a 6309 chip and using the full 160x200x256 odd color artifacts I reckon it would be 10 times better and kick anything on any other 8bit machine to the Kerb. with the added speed and the code tweaked up I can see the picture quality and sound being very impressive for a 8bit system.
>  That's why I still say Tandy were Ass-#### and should have started selling the coco 3 with 6309 chips installed factory standard after the 6309 chip was created, we may have seen more games that pushed the limits even further lol. Plus more advanced Apps. And if it was done earlier would have seen more routines and John's Video player would be something You and others would have said was darn pretty cool lol.
>  That's my 5cents worth as People in Australia don't use 1 or 2 cents anymore, So I rounded it to the nearest full decimal currency here lmao
> Laters
> Briza
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