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Encyclopedia > Atari Video Music


The Atari Video Music was introduced in 1976 and designed by the initiator of the home version of PONG, Robert Brown. The idea was to create a visual exploration that could be implemented into a Hi-Fi stereo system. Basically, it was the same concept that is used in many computer-based media players by adding constantly evolving visual effects, but, think Atari 2600 pulsing to the beat of music instead. The Atari Jaguar used the same engine for their visualizer when an audio CD was inserted. As the legend goes, when Atari was on tour promoting the device, a Sears Rep asked what they were smoking when they invented it. With that, a technician stepped forward holding up a lit joint. Devo used one as a background in the video for "The Day My Baby Gave Me A Surprise". Sadly, this unit never gained enough popularity and was in production for only a year. PONG helped bring computerized video games into everyday life “Pong” redirects here. ... High Fidelity is also the title of a book by Nick Hornby and a film directed by Stephen Frears, based upon Hornbys book. ... The Atari 2600, released in October 1977, was the first successful video game console to use plug-in cartridges instead of having one or more games built in. ... The Atari Jaguar was a video game console introduced to the U.S. market in November 1993 against the Sega Genesis and the Super Nintendo Entertainment System as a powerful next generation platform. ... Devo (pronounced DEE-vo or dee-VO, often spelled DEVO or DEV-O) is an American rock group formed in Cleveland, Ohio in 1972. ...


The Video Music hooked up to a t.v. with the same kind of Rf Switch that the Atari 2600 used. The other hook ups were left and right RCA jack inputs that hooked up to an audio amplifiers RCA outputs. To keep up appearances with other Hi-Fi components of the time, the face was a brushed metal plate and wood panel sides. The unit consists of 5 potentiometer knobs and 13 push buttons. The way the audio generates the visual is in basic form a diamond in two parts. The outer part is the left audio channel while the right is the inner part. The knob controls were as follows: A panel of four RCA jacks, and three RCA (cinch; phono) plugs of various quality RCA jack in PlayStation 2 An RCA jack, also referred to as a phono connector or CINCH/AV connector, is a type of electrical connector which is commonly used in the audio/video market. ...

  • Gain - 2 knobs controlling the left and right audio input signals strength.
  • Color - 1 knob controlling. from a rainbow of colors to a solid color.
  • Contour - 2 knobs controlling the left and right audio input signals visual representations shapes from soft to geometric.

The push button controls were as follows:

  • Power - Turns unit on and off.
  • Shape (solid) - Any imaged that is displayed will be solid
  • Shape (hole) - One stereo channel controls the outside with a hole in the center controlled by the other stereo channel.
  • Shape (ring) - Both stereo channels will represent 2 outline shapes that retain their thickness with the pulse of the music
  • Shape (auto) - The system automatically cycles at random between the different Shape settings as well as the next 8 buttons:
  • Horizontal 1 - Displays 1 generated image.
  • Horizontal 2 - Displays 2 horizontal generated images
  • Horizontal 4 - Displays 4 horizontal generated images
  • Horizontal 8 - Displays 8 horizontal generated images
  • Vertical 1 - Displays 1 generated image
  • Vertical 2 - Displays 2 vertical generated images
  • Vertical 4 - Displays 4 vertical generated images
  • Vertical 8 - Displays 8 vertical generated images

The last 4 buttons had an auxiliary function when the "Auto" button was pushed. In this mode, the last 4 buttons represent Solid, Hole and ring. When the unit is in auto, it will retain the shape of one of those three shapes. The 4th button is "Auto All". This sends the entire unit into automatic mode.


http://www.atarihq.com/dedicated/videomusic.php http://www.atarimuseum.com/videogames/dedicated/videomusic/videomusic.html



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