The F18A Video Enhancement Board
Retro Computing on the TI-99/4A can be a blast from the past for many of us, but nothing can ruin the experience faster than blurry, distorted or snowy images. Were we really going to dump hundreds of dollars into re-acquiring old equipment, as well as the cool new toys coming out, only to view a crappy picture over some lousy old TV or monitor? Heck NO, and we didn't have to, because as many of us in the community learned, before it was discontinued, Matthew Haggarty came to our rescue with the truly affordable F18A Video Enhancement board.
UPDATE --- 02/02/2019 ---
At one point, among Atari Age users, the F18A was the most used video output device for the TI-99/4A. After being discontinued, the 9918 has regained that spot as more new users have entered the TI community. Of course, the F18A MK2 will probably change that again after it's release.
There were so many reasons to get one of these video upgrades, some of the most obvious were:
1) Crisp and sharp video
2) Ability to use modern HDTV's and computer monitors
3) Ease of installation
4) Reasonably priced
However, there were more not so obvious reasons as well:
With age, numerous TI systems developed different video issues, the F18A card fixed all of these problems without the owners having to waste literally hours, days or weeks trying to diagnose and identify the specific video chip at fault. They also avoided the hassles of removing the old broken components. Since this is a socketed device, it was a fix even a newbie with no soldering skills could perform.
It was only advertised as a functional 9918 replacement, but quite frankly, it had a few tricks up it's sleeve that went above and beyond a crisp, clean, and flicker free picture. This board had HUGE additional benefits that many people, myself included enjoy...
...80 COLUMN MODE...
Yep! The F18A displays 80 columns in programs like the Multiplan, BOOT, 4A/DOS, Force Command and the Tursi modified BA-Writer and many more. With the sheer number of F18A's out in the wild, it had become the de-facto standard. I'm hoping more stuff becomes available for it's replacement in the coming years.
Here are a few screenshots taken from my system....
The attached PDF file below contains all the known programs to currently take advantage of the F18A's 80 column mode or enhanced graphics capabilities. (As of 1 January, 2015)
You can download a few of the major 80 column compatible programs << HERE >>
This was the #1 upgrade for the TI-99/4A. Everyone gained from this device, from the lowly newbie or returning user with only the basic console, to the rabid TI zealot with a totally over-blown and radically expanded system. As we wait patiently for the F18A MK2,
Another Atari Age user, Vectrex Roli made a neat little You Tube video about this card, take a peek here...
*** UPDATE -- 09/21/2016
If you want to use this device on a modern flat screen TV that only has an HDMI connector << CLICK HERE >> for more information about VGA to HDMI converters.