FACTOID # 4: Just 1% of the houses in Nevada were built before 1939.
 
 Home   Encyclopedia   Statistics   States A-Z   Flags   Maps   FAQ   About 
   
 
WHAT'S NEW
 

SEARCH ALL

FACTS & STATISTICS    Advanced view

Search encyclopedia, statistics and forums:

 

 

(* = Graphable)

 

 


Encyclopedia > Fairchild Channel F
Fairchild Channel F
Image:Fairchild_channel-f.gif
Manufacturer Fairchild Semiconductor
Type Video game console
Generation Second generation
First available August 1976
CPU Fairchild F8
Media Cartridge

The Fairchild Channel F is the world's second cartridge-based video game console, after the Magnavox Odyssey. It was released by Fairchild Semiconductor (ostensibly by their parent company though) in August 1976 at a retail price of $169.95. At this point it was known as the Video Entertainment System, or VES, but when Atari released their VCS the next year, Fairchild quickly renamed it. This work is copyrighted. ... A console manufacturer is a company that manufactures and distributes video game consoles. ... Fairchild Semiconductor introduced the first commercially available integrated circuit (although at almost the same time as one from Texas Instruments), and would go on to become one of the major players in the evolution of Silicon Valley in the 1960s. ... A video game console is a dedicated electronic machine designed to play video games. ... Although the history of computer and video games spans almost five decades, computer and video games themselves did not become part of the popular culture until the late 1970s. ... This article deals with the history of the second generation video game consoles. ... CPU redirects here. ... In computing, the F8 was an 8-bit microprocessor created by Fairchild Semiconductor. ... In a variety of electronic equipments, a cartridge (in video game terms, cart, game pack, or Game Pak) can be one method of programming different functionality, providing variable content, or a method by which consumables may be replenished. ... A video game console is a dedicated electronic machine designed to play video games. ... The Magnavox Odyssey is the first home video game console, predating the Atari Pong home consoles by three years. ... Fairchild Semiconductor introduced the first commercially available integrated circuit (although at almost the same time as one from Texas Instruments), and would go on to become one of the major players in the evolution of Silicon Valley in the 1960s. ... For the concept Atari (当たり) in the board game of Go, see Atari (go term). ... The Atari 2600, released in 1977, is the first successful video game console to use plug-in cartridges instead of having one or more games built in. ...

Contents


The Channel F console

The Channel F was based on the Fairchild F8 CPU, invented by Robert Noyce before he left Fairchild to start his own company, Intel. The F8 was so advanced for its time that the process technology of the era couldn't fit all the needed circuitry onto a single chip, and the F8 was in fact a "family" of chips that had to be wired together to form a complete CPU. The video was quite basic, although it was in color which was a large step forward from the contemporary PONG machines. Sound was played through an internal speaker, rather than in the TV. In computing, the F8 was an 8-bit microprocessor created by Fairchild Semiconductor. ... CPU redirects here. ... Robert Noyce Robert Noyce (December 12, 1927 – June 3, 1990), nicknamed the Mayor of Silicon Valley, co-founded Fairchild Semiconductor in 1957 and Intel in 1968. ... Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC, SEHK: 4335), founded in 1968 as Integrated Electronics Corporation, is a U.S.-based multinational corporation that is best known for designing and manufacturing microprocessors and specialized integrated circuits. ... A fab is a factory for producing integrated circuits. ... Pong helped bring computerized video games into everyday life. ...


The controllers were a kind of joystick without a base; the main body was a large hand grip with a triangular "cap" on top, the top being the portion that actually moved. It could be used as both a joystick and paddle (twist), and pushed down to operate as a fire button. The unit contained a small compartment for storing the controllers when moving it: this was useful because the wiring was notoriously flimsy and even normal movement could break it.


Only 26 cartridges were released for the system (typically at $19.95), despite its initial popularity. However, the games are generally detested. One reviewer described the racing game (every system seemed to have one at the time) as something like "losing a toe in an industrial accident." Cartridges for the system were big and banana-yellow, and usually featured label artwork reminiscent of the artist Peter Max. Peter Max (born October 19, 1937) is an American Pop artist. ...


The biggest effect of the Channel F in the market was to spur Atari into releasing their next-generation console that was then in design. Then named "Stella," the machine was also going to use cartridges, and after seeing the Channel F they realized they needed to release it before the market was flooded with cartridge based-machines. With cash flow dwindling as sales of their existing Pong-based systems dried up, they were forced to sell to Warner Communications in order to gain the capital they needed. Naming their system as a takeoff of the VES, when the Atari VCS was released a year later it had considerably better graphics. For the concept Atari (当たり) in the board game of Go, see Atari (go term). ... Warner Communications, formerly Kinney National Company, was the parent company for Warner Bros. ... The Atari 2600, released in 1977, is the first successful video game console to use plug-in cartridges instead of having one or more games built in. ...


The Channel F System II

 The Channel F System II
Enlarge
The Channel F System II

Fairchild decided to compete with the VCS, and started a re-design as the Channel F System II. The major changes were in design, the controllers were removable from the base unit instead of being wired directly into it, the storage compartment was moved to the rear of the unit, and the sound was now mixed into the TV signal so the unit no longer needed a speaker. This version featured a simpler and more modern-looking case design. However by this time the market was in the midst of the first video game crash, and Fairchild eventually threw in the towel and exited the market. This work is copyrighted. ... This work is copyrighted. ...


Some time in 1979 Zircon International bought the rights to the Channel F and released the Channel F System II. Only six new games were released after the release of the second system before its death, several of which were developed at Fairchild before they sold it off.


A number of licensed versions were released in Europe, including the Luxor Video Entertainment System in Sweden, Adman Grandstand in the UK, and the Saba Videoplay, Nordmende Teleplay and ITT Tele-Match Processor, from Germany.


Playing Channel F over the phone

By the use of some special circuitry, it is possible to turn voice into simple digital signals. In the 1970s, it seems someone did just this to the Channel F. The voice input could be connected to a phone line, and thus someone on a phone at the other end could make loud noises to trigger the button on a Channel F.


It appears this was employed in a TV show which aired as a locally produced show in many markets in the US (some say a human merely listened to the pows and pressed a controller button instead of a circuit doing it). There were also reports of the same kind of show airing in Australia (listings have confirmed this show airing on the RVN-AMV network in northern Victoria and southern New South Wales; there are also reports of a similar-formatted program carried by TVW7 in Perth). This show was usually called "TV Pow". It was organized as a call-in game show. A person would send a letter to say they wanted to be on the show, and the organizers would select contestants and arrange to call them during the show. The host would small talk with the contestant a while and prep them to play the game. When the host said "go", the output of a Channel F playing shooting gallery would be aired on the station. The voice of the contestant could be heard over the game, and the contestant could only activate the "fire" functionality of the game by saying a word loudly into the phone (the word "pow" was suggested and usually used).


Shooting Gallery was comprised of a target which would move down the far right-hand side of the screen at an even rate. Somewhere left of that target (it varied) would be the player's "gun". The gun looked exactly like the "bat" in Pong, although sometimes it would be turned at a 45 degree angle. When the player fired the "bullet" would come out perpendicular to the gun in the middle of the long sides.


To play TV Pow, the player would have to watch the target move down the screen on the TV station and say "pow" into the phone when he wanted to fire at the target. The system would then fire at the target. Once the target passed by the spot the gun was aimed at, the player could only wait until the target went off the bottom and came out at the top again for a fresh run.


Even in the days of all-analog production, there was significant lag in producing and transmitting a TV signal. The player would experience all this lag and it must have made playing the game somewhat more difficult.


Strategies

Perhaps due to this lag or perhaps just because most of the contestants were somewhat young and impatient, very often the player would throw any kind of ideas of timing out the window and just bark "pow pow pow pow pow" into the phone to fire as fast and as often as possible. It at times seemed like a kind of a speed contest, with the words from the fastest contestants running together.


Technical specifications

  • CPU chip: Fairchild F8 operating at 1.79 MHz
  • RAM: 64 Bytes, 2 kB VRAM (2*128*64 bits)
  • Resolution: 128 × 64 pixels, 102 × 58 pixels visible
  • Colors: eight colors (either black/white or four color max. per line)
  • Audio: 500 Hz, 1 kHz, and 1.5 kHz tones (can be modulated quickly to produce different tones)
  • Input: two custom game controllers, hardwired to the console
  • Output: RF modulated composite video signal, cord hardwired to console

In computing, the F8 was an 8-bit microprocessor created by Fairchild Semiconductor. ... MegaHertz (MHz) is the name given to one million (106) Hertz, a measure of frequency. ... This article refers to the unit of binary information. ... The abbreviation KB can refer to: Kilobyte (kB), equal to 1,000 bytes, or Kibibyte (KiB), equal to 1,024 bytes. ... This example shows an image with a portion greatly enlarged. ... An RF modulator (for radio frequency modulator) is a small device that takes an input signal and outputs radio frequency-modulated signals. ...

External links

Selected video game consoles
First generation
Magnavox Odyssey | PONG | Coleco Telstar
Early second generation
Fairchild Channel F | Atari 2600 | Magnavox Odyssey² | Intellivision
Later second generation
5200 | ColecoVision | Vectrex | SG-1000
Third generation
NES | Master System | 7800
Fourth generation
PC Engine/TurboGrafx 16 | Mega Drive/Genesis | SNES | Neo-Geo | CD-i
Fifth generation
CD32 | 3DO | Jaguar | Saturn | Playdia | PlayStation | PC-FX | Nintendo 64
Sixth generation
Dreamcast | PlayStation 2 | GameCube | Xbox
Seventh generation
Xbox 360 | PlayStation 3 | Wii
This box: view • talk • edit
  • Fairchild Channel F at OLD-COMPUTERS.COM
  • Channel F FAQ from rec.games.video.classic
  • History of the companies behind the Channel F @ Link Cable of Time
  • The MESS Project (with Channel F emulation)
  • The Dot Eaters article with a history of the Channel F and games

  Results from FactBites:
 
Fairchild Channel F (1244 words)
The Channel F was to be designed around Fairchild's own F8 microprocessor (which was actually a CPU and several support processors that all together are called the "F8").
Fairchild responded in kind by changing the name of their console to the Fairchild Channel F. However, the blocky graphics were starting to show their age already (if you can believe that) when compared against the 2600's higher resolution blocky graphics.
By 1978, Fairchild had only released 21 cartridges for the Channel F, and the consoled that had changed home gaming consoles for ever was dead after only a year and 4 months on the market.
Fairchild Channel F (186 words)
The Fairchild's Channel F (also known as the Video Entertainment System, or simply VES) was an innovative console that revolutionised the video gaming console industry.
In 1976, Fairchild was in a better position than most video game manufacturers - as a semiconductor company themselves, their system used a CPU produced by the company to cut costs.
The Channel F was released in August of that year, which unfortunately was just before Atari's release of the 2600.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

COMMENTARY     


Share your thoughts, questions and commentary here
Your name
Your comments

Want to know more?
Search encyclopedia, statistics and forums:

 


Press Releases |  Feeds | Contact
The Wikipedia article included on this page is licensed under the GFDL.
Images may be subject to relevant owners' copyright.
All other elements are (c) copyright NationMaster.com 2003-5. All Rights Reserved.
Usage implies agreement with terms, 1022, m