Old Microsoft MSX standard?

From: Hans Franke <Hans.Franke_at_mch20.sbs.de>
Date: Mon Jan 4 06:46:27 1999

> > While reading some late-1984 Byte mags, I came across a description of
> > the Microsoft MSX computer standard. Implemented mostly by Japanese computer
> > manufacturers, an MSX computer is CP/M based with 32k of RAM, a cassette
> > port, RF modulator, and cartridge slots for expansion. I picture a Z80-based
> > VIC-20 or C64, although not in that physical form.

> IIRC it was a 'standardised' home computer. It was a Z80A + standard
> sound chip + standard video chip (I forget which ones) + standard
> microsoft basic in ROM. The idea was that software or peripherals from
> one machine would work on all of them.

Also a disk format, but not CP/M but rather MS-DOS alike.
At the first moment when I saw it back then, I thought
'clever MS - they try to sell DOS 1.0 again'.

Basicly the complete structure was well definded. All kinds
of hardware posibilities where fixed by MS. If one agrees
on an open 8-Bit home computer standard, MSX was a real good

The situation could be compared to the NEC/Tandy/Olivetti
handheld family - kompatible Units with diferent flavour.

In Japan dozends of companies designed their own system
acording to the standard or sold one as OEM. A lot of
Companies tried to get on the bandwagoon, sspecialy some
camera manufacturers, which lead to the nice fact, that
most MSX systems in Germany where sold by foto shops rather
than computer shops (And I still think the Yashica YC-64
is the most beautifull homecomputer ever build), and since
this kind of stores is used to thing in years rather than
week of selling, they have been available quite a long time,
and pretty mutch time and displayspace to develop. Without
the C64, I think the MSX would have been #1.

> I remember going to a presentation in 1985 given by people from 2 of the
> companies who made MSX machines. We got them to try each other's
> cartridge software. At least one machine (and IIRC both of them) failed
> to run the other company's software properly....

Letmeguess: one was a SectraVideo ?

In fact, with an exception of SpectraVideo (which later on also
offered a CP/M add on instead of MSX-DOS) all systems where
pretty interchangeable, so you could select the flavour you
like ands still runn all Soft.

> The physical form of 'A C64 or VIC20' wasn't too far from the truth. It
> was built into a keyboard-like case and plugged into your TV for video
> output.

Most, but some units, like one 'high class' MSX from Sony had
a seperate Keyboard, and looked more like a slim line PC.
Ther also had been a wide variety of add ons, starting from
cheap (music) keyboards up to MIDI in/out for 'real' synts, and
from still video digitizer and subtitle engines up to real time
video manupilation and real time frame grabbers.

And thake a look at http://www.msxnet.org/


Ich denke, also bin ich, also gut
Received on Mon Jan 04 1999 - 06:46:27 GMT

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