The "1986 Warner Cable Channel Lineup" video

Discuss the awesomeness of the Prevue Channel, Prevue Interactive, Prevue Networks/United Video Satellite Group, TV Guide Inc., etc. right here.
swest77
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Re: The "1986 Warner Cable Channel Lineup" video

Post by swest77 » Mon Jan 17, 2011 5:29 pm

AriX wrote:
swest77 wrote:All I can add to this is that the basic design of EPG's grid was patented. Ari found some stuff on this earlier, if I recall. So if this was truly done with Texscan hardware, then it must have been through a deal. Because if it were just a knock-off, they would've been sued into the ground. :)

About the jerky video, that effect is definitely an encoding issue. I've managed to cause the exact same effect with mencoder while transcoding stuff... though of course now I'm drawing a blank on exactly what I did to make it happen. :lol:
Actually, I have not found any patents relating to the EPG design. I am pretty sure that it is not patented at all, except for some aspects of the top half of the Prevue Channel (the "video promotion system").
Hmm, nope. I remember seeing it. There was a patent describing how the grid looked, how the banner bar (date | listing period time | current time) looked, etc. It even described the red/yellow/blue/green colors and so on. I clearly remember looking at the patent itself: it had crappy xerox-ish image representations of the grid and all that included in it. It's been so long now, though, that I can't remember where I saw it. Maybe a link we exchanged in some past e-mail, or that's buried in an old post here on the forum, or that I found on my own. *scratches head*
The Texscan hardware was programmable, so essentially they bought Texscans and reprogrammed them. One interesting thing I found out recently was that early early versions of the channel, without scrolling capability, ran on the Apple II and had listings delivered to them via modem. UVSG apparently bought the Apple II software and transitioned everything to a satellite and Texscan-based system, until 1985 when they transitioned to an Amiga and an Atari system. Additionally, a few years later, perhaps in the early 90s, they transitioned the Prevue Channel data feed to a 9600 baud stream, while maintaining the Atari stream (on the same transponder as WGN) at 2400.
Interesting. I thought we had determined from inspecting the ADF or talking with sources, though, that 9600 baud was only something provisions had initially been made for within ESQ; that they never got 9600 actually working before the decision was made to abandon the Amiga platform. ?

In any case, I can tell you that EPG Sr., and the black grid version of Prevue Guide, both used 2400 for sure. In fact, in one of those "backfiring Prevue Guide" videos I tossed on Youtube (from 1992 or 1993), you can see 2400 baud indicated on the diagnostics screen when it was brought up by the cable technician.

If they did actually go to 9600, then my assumption would be that it would've been part of the black grid -> blue grid upgrade process... But even there, doesn't our ADF of ESQ show it's set up for 2400 as well?

tin
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Re: The "1986 Warner Cable Channel Lineup" video

Post by tin » Mon Jan 17, 2011 7:40 pm

On the patent front, I can well believe it. There is a thing over here in the UK (at least, probably elsewhere) that all new Panasonic TV and PVRs have Guide+ rather than the older generic guide. This includes Guide+ branding and advertising (much to my annoyance my £800 TV advertises to me :evil: ). It's only rumour, (e.g) http://forums.reghardware.com/forum/1/2 ... _recorder/ as it appears Pansonic have succeded in being very tight lipped about it, but it appears to be because of Rovi (owners of guide+) have settled some patent litigation with Panasonic, and the inconvenience (IMHO) to their users is the result. Panasonic just say it's a better system, but it's not (I have a TV with and a TV without, and the without is markedly better at telling me what's on).

Also some information here (although it appears UK courts are a bit more savvy on just how much you can patent a grid of information :))
http://www.itvt.com/story/6149/rovi-app ... rgin-media

BTW I did note that even if you talk to PG at 9600 baud, 2400 baud still shows up in the diag..

AriX
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Re: The "1986 Warner Cable Channel Lineup" video

Post by AriX » Mon Jan 17, 2011 10:38 pm

swest77 wrote:Hmm, nope. I remember seeing it. There was a patent describing how the grid looked, how the banner bar (date | listing period time | current time) looked, etc. It even described the red/yellow/blue/green colors and so on. I clearly remember looking at the patent itself: it had crappy xerox-ish image representations of the grid and all that included in it. It's been so long now, though, that I can't remember where I saw it. Maybe a link we exchanged in some past e-mail, or that's buried in an old post here on the forum, or that I found on my own. *scratches head*
Ah, okay. I'm sure it's out there then, but I'm pretty sure it's not on this forum or in an email between us (unless I didn't click the link), since I don't remember seeing this and I have even looked for such a patent in the past.
swest77 wrote:Interesting. I thought we had determined from inspecting the ADF or talking with sources, though, that 9600 baud was only something provisions had initially been made for within ESQ; that they never got 9600 actually working before the decision was made to abandon the Amiga platform. ?

In any case, I can tell you that EPG Sr., and the black grid version of Prevue Guide, both used 2400 for sure. In fact, in one of those "backfiring Prevue Guide" videos I tossed on Youtube (from 1992 or 1993), you can see 2400 baud indicated on the diagnostics screen when it was brought up by the cable technician.
I'm only telling you what I've heard from the hardware guys... It's likely that it was indeed 2400 in the early 90s, and maybe went to 9600 in the mid 90s with the blue grid transition like you suggested. I don't have any proof either way, but this is just what I've heard (and given that the software clearly supports 9600 baud mode, it makes sense).

usotsuki
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Re: The "1986 Warner Cable Channel Lineup" video

Post by usotsuki » Tue Jan 18, 2011 10:51 pm

Apple ][? O_O

Now THAT's my specialty. xD

tin
Posts: 544
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Re: The "1986 Warner Cable Channel Lineup" video

Post by tin » Wed Jan 19, 2011 7:09 pm

Hehe cool, cmon let's find the apple ][ version. I have one of those as well ;-)

usotsuki
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Re: The "1986 Warner Cable Channel Lineup" video

Post by usotsuki » Wed Jan 19, 2011 10:06 pm

XD

I know the ][+, at least, just about backward and forward, gotten pretty deep into the guts of the system. Pretty nice system for its simplicity. xD Wrote an emulator that was prolly the best one around for about a year or so until AppleWin caught up. Cracked a couple eduwares a few years back, but that was simple stuff. If that Apple software can be found, I'm up to helping to tear it wide open xD

tin
Posts: 544
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Re: The "1986 Warner Cable Channel Lineup" video

Post by tin » Sun Jul 01, 2018 5:30 am

Very randomly this just came back up.

Harry McCracken posted a couple of cable TV VCR captures that show the old-school info channels running on Texscan hardware. THis is the first time I have ever seen such a channel using lowercase somewhere - THEY ALWAYS SHOUTED AT YOU! which is odd considering how much it's frowned upon on the internet these days.

Anyway the 2nd lowercase font seen in this video https://twitter.com/harrymccracken/stat ... 5043944448 matches enough for me the one that's shown in the Houston Cable Guide video. The shapes of the lowercase W and S in partiular and the fatter bottom line on most of the letters does it for me.

So once upon a time, the cable guide was on a texscan. Now the challenge is to find one ;)

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