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Introducing: AntiX, the ANTIC Switch !

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Anyone know the status of AntiX, the ANTIC switcher project?  Is it still being developed?  Would love to buy at least two if they are ready to be sold.

 

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The creator of Antix (Level42 on this forum) had some personal issues the last few months. The Antix has not been produced yet, but I still have the list of everyone who has filled out the interest form on the website. I hope his personal issues will be solved soon, so we can produce the Antix.

 

If the Antix will not be produced somehow, I will add my stack of brand new PAL & NTSC Antics to my webshop. 

Edited by Fred_M
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5 hours ago, Fred_M said:

The creator of Antix (Level42 on this forum) had some personal issues the last few months. The Antix has not been produced yet, but I still have the list of everyone who has filled out the interest form on the website. I hope his personal issues will be solved soon, so we can produce the Antix.

 

If the Antix will not be produced somehow, I will add my stack of brand new PAL & NTSC Antics to my webshop. 

Thank you for the update.  I also hope his personal issues will be solved soon.  I stand ready to make a purchase when everything is ready to go. If you do wind up putting those new ANTIC chips on your website, please let us know.  I'm sure several of us would be interested in purchasing some chips for use in various other hardware projects (1088XEL, 1088XLD, etc.).

 

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Hey guys....I’m still alive....sorry for the black-out.

 

well the personal issues are settled...(divorce, new GF and very happy now....)

However, I’m still in the process of some home improvement which is eating up most of my spare time and worse....I switched jobs which turned out not to be the best of choice...(too many hours in the evenings).

 

ANYWAY. Just when I’m about to gear up getting production done in China.....corona happened.... which i guess might slow things down.....however....I have every intention of getting some prototypes built over there, test and evaluate them and finally get them produced in numbers....so ....I’ll keep this updated....

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I'm glad to see you back @Level42 , I still want at least one, maybe two of these. I definitely know how life can get in the way of projects, and I've also been doing major renovations of the last few YEARS to my house and I'm still not done, which takes up my time to get my Atari projects finished, including the two computers I want the Antix for!

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18 hours ago, Level42 said:

Hey guys....I’m still alive....sorry for the black-out.

 

well the personal issues are settled...(divorce, new GF and very happy now....)

However, I’m still in the process of some home improvement which is eating up most of my spare time and worse....I switched jobs which turned out not to be the best of choice...(too many hours in the evenings).

 

ANYWAY. Just when I’m about to gear up getting production done in China.....corona happened.... which i guess might slow things down.....however....I have every intention of getting some prototypes built over there, test and evaluate them and finally get them produced in numbers....so ....I’ll keep this updated....

Glad to know you are staying afloat!!

 

ANTIX promises to be THE simplest and most relevant video-upgrade, in a lifetime. It will bridge Euro and US libraries together (for the most part) and will also bring a (relatively) unified user experience, across our shores.

 

It will be a must have upgrade and, different to many out there, will be a PERMANENT one, as well. Once deployed, there will never be a reason to get rid of it.

 

Brint it on!!!

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2 hours ago, Faicuai said:

ANTIX promises to be THE simplest and most relevant video-upgrade, in a lifetime. It will bridge Euro and US libraries together (for the most part) and will also bring a (relatively) unified user experience, across our shores.

Please keep in mind that AntiX will create a PAL-60 signal for displays when NTSC is selected in a PAL Atari 8-bit (quite common in Europe) and will create a NTSC-50 signal when PAL is selected in a NTSC Atari 8-bit (not so common). Without a compatible display the signal will be black and white.

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2 hours ago, Fred_M said:

Please keep in mind that AntiX will create a PAL-60 signal for displays when NTSC is selected in a PAL Atari 8-bit (quite common in Europe) and will create a NTSC-50 signal when PAL is selected in a NTSC Atari 8-bit (not so common). Without a compatible display the signal will be black and white.

 

thanks for the info., but you are stating something that is not what Antix designer has stated:

 

PAL-M **is not** NTSC-50.

 

PAL-M is based on NTSC's 525 scan-lines of vertical resolution (with a slightly different color-carrier freq.) and NTSC-50, on the other hand, it is based on PAL's 625 scan-lines vertical-resolution with 3.58 Mhz NTSC color carrier.

 

So which is really being produced by ANTIX, when outputting PAL from NTSC-Atari?:   PAL-M or NTSC-50?

 

On my end, I can show Terminal output (digital) on almost any resolution frame-adapted at any rate>= 50 Hz.... but first step is analog video-decode, and that is where the above question is key.

 

Edited by Faicuai

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11 hours ago, Faicuai said:

So which is really being produced by ANTIX, when outputting PAL from NTSC-Atari?:   PAL-M or NTSC-50?

 

It is NTSC-50. Sadly the starting post could not be edited....

 

More info on the website: http://antix.rewindgames.com/

 

On this page: http://antix.rewindgames.com/what-is-antix/ it says:

 

"NTSC territory users please note:
Like when you simply swap an NTSC ANTIC for a PAL one, AntiX does not create a normal NTSC signal. A good monitor or TV is required to get color pictures from the PAL ANTIC mode through the original composite or S-video output. This requires a TV that can handle NTSC-50 OR you can use a professional grade CRT monitor like the Sony PVM series."

 

 

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14 hours ago, Fred_M said:

It is NTSC-50. Sadly the starting post could not be edited....

 

More info on the website: http://antix.rewindgames.com/

 

On this page: http://antix.rewindgames.com/what-is-antix/ it says:

 

"NTSC territory users please note:
Like when you simply swap an NTSC ANTIC for a PAL one, AntiX does not create a normal NTSC signal. A good monitor or TV is required to get color pictures from the PAL ANTIC mode through the original composite or S-video output. This requires a TV that can handle NTSC-50 OR you can use a professional grade CRT monitor like the Sony PVM series."

 

 

 

Well, then all boils down to how the video/color decoding function (regardless of where it is located in our video path) will react to the presence of an NTSC signal with its color carrier in the right place, but a different refresh rate and vertical resolution.

 

It will be a hit or miss, and notice that some Sony PVM monitors DO NOT seem to support NTSC-50 on their Y/C inputs (!)

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On 3/8/2020 at 7:27 PM, Faicuai said:

 

Well, then all boils down to how the video/color decoding function (regardless of where it is located in our video path) will react to the presence of an NTSC signal with its color carrier in the right place, but a different refresh rate and vertical resolution.

 

It will be a hit or miss, and notice that some Sony PVM monitors DO NOT seem to support NTSC-50 on their Y/C inputs (!)

Well crap, I go looking for something to let me run PAL software, find this and now I have to decide if the various upscalers are good enough for me, or I need to track down the right model of PVM that will accept all the signals.

The problem with my 1084S, while it happily plays PAL games from the Amiga/ST, you are right in that I get gray from my PAL 600xl.

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3 hours ago, leech said:

Well crap, I go looking for something to let me run PAL software, find this and now I have to decide if the various upscalers are good enough for me, or I need to track down the right model of PVM that will accept all the signals.

The problem with my 1084S, while it happily plays PAL games from the Amiga/ST, you are right in that I get gray from my PAL 600xl.

well actually..

 

A 1084S scans at both 50hz and 60hz without issue, and when using the RGB input there's no PAL/NTSC color carrier encoding/decoding occurring at all, so it will happily work on PAL and NTSC Amigas.

 

The trouble comes when you try to use one of the broadcast video inputs - Y/C or Composite. These have the color encoded using either the PAL or NTSC standard. If you have the wrong standard of monitor, you'll get a stable picture because both models support dual scan rate, 50hz/60hz, no problem. However they only handle the color decoding of their native standard, so you'll get no color. On a normal single-format television you additionally get a rolling picture because it will only sync at 50hz or 60hz, not both.

 

Thus, an NTSC 1084S on it's composite or Y/C inputs will in fact handle an NTSC-50hz signal (PAL ANTIC in NTSC Atari; NTSC Amiga playing a PAL region game in 50hz mode) with full color, because the color carrier is still encoded in the NTSC format. But a true PAL signal will only give you black and white.

 

I have an Amiga 1200 that has a color composite output jack. On the 1084S it displays full color on that output even in 50hz mode for PAL region games because it is an NTSC Amiga, so the broadcast output chip encodes the color in the 3.58MHz NTSC standard.

 

 

Edited by rmzalbar
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Yeah, I ended up getting a PAL <-> NTSC converter box and that seems to work, I just thought it odd, since there are MANY games which won't work correctly on the Amiga and ST without first booting in PAL.  I actually thought for a long time that the A4000 had an awesome jumper you could just switch to PAL and be happy, someone told me it mucks up the timing for things so I switched it back and magically my PPC stuff started working ha!

Most of the stuff I had to do on the 8bit even remotely close to that would be the things that need Translator to work right, as they were coded for the 400/800 and they work a little 'off' on the XL/XE series.

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That is interesting. When I was a kid, I had no idea that switching the Amiga to 'PAL mode' was any different than a true PAL machine as far as timing was concerned. The issue is that the master clock frequency is slightly slower for PAL machines in order to get an even multiple of the PAL color encoder so it can sync to broadcast video. I only learned that recently, but in truth I don't recall having any problem running any games or software that way, but I suppose some things might be sensitive to that. I've heard the difference is noticeable. I do have a PAL motherboard, I should fire it up and run some games side-by-side to see if I can tell the difference.

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5 hours ago, rmzalbar said:

That is interesting. When I was a kid, I had no idea that switching the Amiga to 'PAL mode' was any different than a true PAL machine as far as timing was concerned. The issue is that the master clock frequency is slightly slower for PAL machines in order to get an even multiple of the PAL color encoder so it can sync to broadcast video. I only learned that recently, but in truth I don't recall having any problem running any games or software that way, but I suppose some things might be sensitive to that. I've heard the difference is noticeable. I do have a PAL motherboard, I should fire it up and run some games side-by-side to see if I can tell the difference.

Yeah, in my A4k with Cyberstorm PPC and Voodoo 3, Freespace would just crash until I changed that jumper back to NTSC.  A lot of games through WHDload would be complete garbage in NTSC, so I have to enable a flag in the .info file for them to autoswitch to PAL to work.  So at least that option is there.

Now on that subject, I wondered why a bideo I saw of Alley Cat on the A8 had slower music, I bet it was a PAL system.

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Right, well some games definitely won't run in the other's format, but I don't think that has anything to do with whether it's a native PAL/NTSC system or the override mode is used. Last night I did run a few games on my PAL A500 motherboard and compared them to the NTSC Amiga in PAL mode, and I couldn't detect any difference at all.

 

Yep, Alley Cat on a PAL system runs at 25 FPS instead of 30, and all of the game timing follows that. It would be neat to see the switcher get completed. I installed a VIC-II switcher on my C64, and it totally rocks.

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16 hours ago, leech said:

Well crap, I go looking for something to let me run PAL software, find this and now I have to decide if the various upscalers are good enough for me, or I need to track down the right model of PVM that will accept all the signals.

The problem with my 1084S, while it happily plays PAL games from the Amiga/ST, you are right in that I get gray from my PAL 600xl.

Well, here's the thing:

 

The trick would be to decouple the SPATIAL and TEMPORAL variables right at the analog-decoding stage, before conversion to digital. That's why it sounds more like a hit or miss (e.g only way is to try feeding an NTSC-50 signal into a 59.92/480-lines analog video port).

 

In other words, either the rendering device, or scaler or digital processor locks to the NTSC color carrier on its right place, but then somehow separates spatial resolution and vertical sync. decoding from it (e.g. it does NOT assume that, because the color-carrier is NTSC then it automatically MUST capture @ 60hz, or 480/525 lines of resolution). At the end, a digital signal needs to be delivered (as a whole) to LCD monitor which, can on its own handle a really WIDE range of formats and vertical rates, but has no idea in really how these moving parts were involved during image / stream processing. 

 

At least we know, upfront, the challenge. That's what matters.

Edited by Faicuai

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15 hours ago, rmzalbar said:

well actually..

 

A 1084S scans at both 50hz and 60hz without issue, and when using the RGB input there's no PAL/NTSC color carrier encoding/decoding occurring at all, so it will happily work on PAL and NTSC Amigas.

 

The trouble comes when you try to use one of the broadcast video inputs - Y/C or Composite. These have the color encoded using either the PAL or NTSC standard. If you have the wrong standard of monitor, you'll get a stable picture because both models support dual scan rate, 50hz/60hz, no problem. However they only handle the color decoding of their native standard, so you'll get no color. On a normal single-format television you additionally get a rolling picture because it will only sync at 50hz or 60hz, not both.

 

Thus, an NTSC 1084S on it's composite or Y/C inputs will in fact handle an NTSC-50hz signal (PAL ANTIC in NTSC Atari; NTSC Amiga playing a PAL region game in 50hz mode) with full color, because the color carrier is still encoded in the NTSC format. But a true PAL signal will only give you black and white.

 

I have an Amiga 1200 that has a color composite output jack. On the 1084S it displays full color on that output even in 50hz mode for PAL region games because it is an NTSC Amiga, so the broadcast output chip encodes the color in the 3.58MHz NTSC standard.

 

 

Huh, I did not know this about the 1084S. I was using a PAL Antic in my NTSC 1200 XL Atari until the PSU for the 1084S went out. I did a full PAL conversion to my Atari, and was expecting to use my 1084S with it when I got around to fixing it. Apparently I'll have to convert back to NTSC and use a PAL Antic again with it once I do fix it.:razz: Either that, or keep it full NTSC and change my 800 to PAL which will still be using an LCD monitor with my video converter/upscaler.

Edited by Gunstar

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I just realized that I haven't posted about this yet. It is some sad news:


There's a couple of reasons that made me decide to not start producing AntiX.

First of all, I don't have the time to build them myself. It's a LOT of work to make them because of the complicated construction. You have to solder sockets in the right order, cut away pins etc. 
Antother reason is that I wanted a single solution for all machines. However the XL's are really small under the keyboard (depending a bit on which keyboard) and making AntiX small enough to fit all would be very hard and expensive (special extra low profile sockets etc.)

Another, smaller, reason is that I feared that in the US, people might think this would "easily" work with their TVs/monitors. There was already at least some misunderstanding about what AntiX is and what it is not. In the US you'd need a pretty special kind of TV/monitor like a Sony PVM or other TV that will accept the typical "hybrid" signal.

Next is a concern. I had one ANTIC die on my own set-up. Now....this could be coincidence but it also could be not. The set-up with the stacked ANTICs generates quite a bit more heat than the single ANTIC does. The reason is that the Antic which is not in use still consumes energy.

I didn't want to get a lot of returns and people claiming failing ANTIC chips on me......

The final thing happening was talk here on the forum by I think Michael St.Pierre (is that his correct name) about a completely different solution....was it in FPGA or something similar ? Not sure, but I think that would be much more advanced, and safer.

For true hobbyists, who are willing to take the responsibility, they can still download the files from the ABBUC website as all documentation is published there (you need to be a member though).

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There is a similar project for the C64 called VicII², and indeed, it has every single one of the problems you are listing here. To get around all of the issues, they had to go with relays instead of solid state logic (in part so the power is switched) and a side-by-side board as opposed to a stack; and even with the side-by-side layout, the need for heatsinks on the ICs means that it will only fit in the taller breadbin-style models that have enough space under the keyboard. Perifractic has a great video on how they developed it and dealt with each of the challenges that is worth a look as there are a lot of parallels there.

 

The end result was a brute-force approach that turned out to be physically imposing and pretty expensive. And, of course, for North Americans we need a monitor capable of full PAL decoding, not just 50hz capable as the case would be with the Antix. I have one in just one of my breadbins and I really like having the convenience of it, but it was a little finicky to get going. Crucially, the Vic-II also handles direct RF generation, so switching and tuning the clock generator and switching the RF output also had to be done which isn't really the case with the Antic since some of those functions are on GTIA.

 

Given the expense and limitations, I could see where an FPGA Antic implementation could be the right drop-in solution in this case.

Edited by rmzalbar
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