[Download] Sneak Prevue Software

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LocalH
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Re: [Download] Sneak Prevue Software

Post by LocalH » Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:14 pm

Unfortunately, if there are currently errors on the actual floppy disks, we may be stuck without further specimen. As best as I can tell, sts is not correctly decompressing on execution, and I've certainly not been able to decompress it any other way.

AriX
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Re: [Download] Sneak Prevue Software

Post by AriX » Wed Apr 24, 2019 10:23 pm

I guess I'll have to hook back up to my Amiga and see if it's possible to get a good dump of sts. However, my guess is that it's a separate mechanism and isn't necessary for operation of the Sneak Prevue software. I think we should at least try to make progress on the LaserDisc player connection and see if that helps.

As we've been discussing on Discord, the LaserDisc player used in the Sneak Prevue was the Pioneer LD-V8000. I happen to have one (a unit that came from a Sneak Prevue installation, too), which you can see here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/arixr/589 ... 108567806/

We should be able to emulate the LaserDisc player to get the software to progress further, but because the Amiga only had one serial port, it seems that UV put cards with additional serial ports into their Sneak Prevue Amiga hardware. So we might need to figure out how to emulate one of those cards (perhaps the A2232 or UVSerial.device) or patch the binary to use a different device.

As I teased on Discord, I have made some finds on a recent trip to Tulsa, and I have something pretty sweet to share which should shed some light on how it's supposed to work. Stay tuned.

AriX
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Re: [Download] Sneak Prevue Software

Post by AriX » Wed Apr 24, 2019 10:32 pm

I think we've referenced this page before, but somehow I missed the link... Check it out!

https://www.bigbookofamigahardware.com/ ... aspx?id=54
And select "Download Diagrams of Operation, JPG (English)"

Some neat info (also attached for posterity)!
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LocalH
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Re: [Download] Sneak Prevue Software

Post by LocalH » Wed Apr 24, 2019 10:40 pm

Ok, so here's a full SnoopDos log (maybe a bit too verbose, but meh) until the point where it Gurus. It does appear to be opening both serial.device (the A2232 device) as well as oldser.device as two of the last things it does before the log stops, which seems correct given that diagram (serial.device would control the LD player, and oldser.device the insertion switcher). Thus, all video is always going through the UVGEN card, even during local insertion.
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tin
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Re: [Download] Sneak Prevue Software

Post by tin » Thu Apr 25, 2019 5:06 am

So again very briefly on several subjects... cos this is interesting but work calls :(

That doc is interesting because it explains better the crazy flyleads coming out of the Serial port connectors we saw moons ago with the initial pictures of hardware. The serial port on the Amiga is still used primary to receive data from the otherwise disconnected demod card, but clearly an "on air" signal is sent back on one of the pins to signal to the Amiga when the Insertion kit is working and playing.

I think it might be important to get one of those leads now to see what pins are involved - @AriX do you have one with your setup(s)?

The port on the add on serial card is used only to control the laserdisc player as I thought. They finally run out of ways to camp more stuff on the one serial port :D

I don't think the video insertion parts is mandatory even for Sneak, I am guessing a lot, but I think it's only for the cable operators that decided they wanted to insert their own video into the sneak channel, much as we know could be done for Prevue Guide.

Fortunately quite some time ago i got hold of a LD-V8000 but I doubt I'll actually be able to get hold of a laserdisc for it, and very very much not the right one for the playlist in the files on the disk images. I'm wondering if it might be possible to emulate very closely with something like Daphne http://www.daphne-emu.com/site3/index_hi.php

There's a guy selling A2232s on Amibay, has several. I've asked for a couple.
http://www.amibay.com/showthread.php?85 ... ight=A2232

Here's a good guide to the serial card that I'm pretty sure will come in useful http://www.amigaunix.com/doku.php/a2232 . The thing I quickly note from this is the standard serial.device dev provides access to the built in serial ports AND the 7 on the card. I noted that the config that the current disk image uses refers to unit 3 which would be port 2 on the A2232, which is not how the guide says to connect it. Not sure this makes any difference if there's no serial card, but the existence of the cbm.ini and uv.ini suggests it might be possible to direct it to use any other kind of card that adds another serial port. I guess maybe...

Finally seems that the A2232 is not yet emulated in WinUAE. I might ask Toni Wilen if he minds taking a look.

LocalH
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Re: [Download] Sneak Prevue Software

Post by LocalH » Thu Apr 25, 2019 12:04 pm

I'd have to check again when I get to my PC, but using a virtual serial port tool called "com0com" (which creates com port pairs that program can use to communicate) and a low level terminal emulator that I found (that I forget the name of, possibly "RealTerm"?), I only ever saw three lines light up on the system serial port, but no data was ever transmitted (trying different baud rates). Given that this was only ever used to control the LD player, the baud rate of any of the data streams is probably irrelevant (and not connected to the serial port in question, anyway)

AriX
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Re: [Download] Sneak Prevue Software

Post by AriX » Thu Apr 25, 2019 12:35 pm

I know very little about hardware emulation, but I wonder if this could be useful? https://github.com/mamedev/mame/blob/bf ... ro/a2232.c

Also, wanted to note as mentioned on Discord: I believe "vd" (the name of the Sneak Prevue binary) stands for "video disc". That's because the first version of Sneak Prevue (which was instead called "sp") ran on tapes instead of LaserDiscs.

By the way, I also heard recently that ESQ stands for "EPG Esquire". Probably some sort of codename for Prevue Guide. If we had an EPG Sr. disk, I'm guessing the binary would be called EPG.

AriX
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Re: [Download] Sneak Prevue Software

Post by AriX » Sat Apr 27, 2019 3:40 pm

Tried it on my real Amiga and it fired right up! Now it sits on the "Stand by" screen (unless I go into the diagnostics menu). Probably need to get it some data.
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PajamaDarkness
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Re: [Download] Sneak Prevue Software

Post by PajamaDarkness » Sat Apr 27, 2019 3:55 pm

AriX wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 3:40 pm
Tried it on my real Amiga and it fired right up! Now it sits on the "Stand by" screen (unless I go into the diagnostics menu). Probably need to get it some data.
Awesome!!
PajamaFrix
Prevuing since 2015.

theartofdanger
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Re: [Download] Sneak Prevue Software

Post by theartofdanger » Fri Nov 01, 2019 6:23 pm

AriX wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 3:40 pm
Tried it on my real Amiga and it fired right up! Now it sits on the "Stand by" screen (unless I go into the diagnostics menu). Probably need to get it some data.

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Holy crap! That's awesome to see it work on a physical Amiga!

I loaded the salvage disk provided by LocalH and got about the same as he did in WinUAE.

Any progress on how this is coming along by chance?
Adam -- Fan of Prevue Guide/TV Guide Channel

[Insert something witty here]

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