Live event support
Live performance events including theater, dance, use production equipment and services such as staging, mechanicals, lighting, special effects, packaging, communications and makeup to convince live audience members that there is no better place that they could be at the moment. This article provides information about many of the possible production support tools and services and how they relate to each other. Live performance events have a long history of visual scenery, costume amplification and a shorter history of visual projection and sound amplification reinforcement; this article describes the technologies that have been used to reinforce live events. The sections of this article together explain how the tools needed to stage and reinforce live events are interconnected. Live event visual amplification is the display of live and pre-recorded images as a part of a live stage event. Visual amplification began when films, projected onto a stage, added characters or background information to a production.
35 mm motion picture projectors became available in 1910 - but which theatre or opera company first used a movie in a stage production is not known. In 1935, less costly 16 mm film equipment allowed many other performance groups and school theaters to use motion pictures in productions. In 1970, closed circuit video cameras and videocassette machines became available and Live Event Visual Amplification came of age. For the first time live closeups of stage performers could be displayed in real time; these systems made it possible to show pre-recorded videos that added information & visual intensity to a live event. One of the first video touring systems was created by video designer TJ McHose in 1975 for the rock band The Tubes using black and white television monitors. In 1978, TJ McHose designed a touring color video system that enlarged performers at the Kool Jazz Festivals in sports stadiums across the United States. 1910: 35 mm film projector 1935: 16 mm Kodachrome film projectors 1965: Sony Portapak 1/2" video tape system released 1967: Joshua Light Show 1967: Film Projector -motion picture effects Joffrey Ballet -Astarte 1968: Ant Farm Founded in San Francisco 1969: "TV Bra for Living Sculpture" Nam June Paik - Charlotte Moorman 1969: Video Free America Founded in San Francisco by Art Ginsberg & Skip Sweeney 1970: VFA -"The Continuing Story of Carol & Ferd" B&W Reality TV show display performance Skip Sweeney Video Performer 1971: VFA -"All the Video You can Eat" display performance 12 TV monitor 4 input Skip Sweeney Video Performer 1971: The Kitchen Founded in New York city by video artists Steina and Woody Vasulka 1975: "Media Burn" Ant Farm 1975: The Tubes - Live concert 6/1/75 Winterland San Francisco T.
J. McHose Video artist 1975: The Tubes - Boarding House SF "Leroy's Wedding" video recording of priest marries couple during stage show T. J. McHose Video artist 1975: The Tubes - Bimbo's T. J. McHose Video artist 1975: Kool Jazz Festival -music concerts in sports stadiums attracts young African-American male audiences 1976: Tubes Talent Hunt Boarding House San Francisco 1978: Kool Jazz Festival video reinforcement at sports stadiuontent and use LED Orbec color video touring display system T. J. McHose Video designer Mick Anger director 1980: Record Factory In store video display 1981: MTV begins cable broadcasting 1982: The Who Farewell Tour Eidophor Video Projector on 22' x 30' screen Nocturne Productions Video Truck - Paul Becher Director Nocturne builds the first 2 "Broadcast" quality portable touring systems with Hitachi cameras, Grass Valley 1600 switchers, the GE "Talaria" projector, an idiosyncratic device which requires a board operator with a wizard's license to keep it running. 1982: Nocturne systems go on the road with Journey and The Police, using a single screen over the stage center.
1983: David Bowie uses Nocturne video for the stadium dates on his "Serious Moonlight" tour. This tour was the first time a "Diamond Vision" type screen is used on a scaffold behind and above the stage for some shows, eidophor elsewhere. 1984: Tasco builds a video system and begins to compete for the touring business with Nocturne A TimeLine of Film and Video inventions is available at howOLDisit.comBy 2000 many bands tour with LED as well as DLP projection and LED video walls Live event visual reinforcement is the addition of projected lighting effects and images onto any type of performance venue. Visual Reinforcement began more than 2000 years ago. In China during the Han Dynasty, Shadow puppetry was invented to "bring back to life" Emperor Wu's favorite concubine. Mongolian troops spread Shadow play throughout the Middle East in the 13th century. Shadow puppetry reached Taiwan in 1650, missionaries brought it to France in 1767; the next major advance in Visual reinforcement for events was the magic lantern, first conceptualized by Giovanni Battista della Porta in his 1558 work Magiae naturalis.
The Magic Lantern became practical by 1750 with glass lenses. Special effect animation attachments were added in the 1830s. In 1854, the Ambrotype positive photographic process on glass made Magic lantern slide creation much less expensive. Magic lanterns were improved by the application of limelight to live stage production in 1837 at Covent Garden Theatre and improved again when electric arc lighting became available in 1880. In 1910, Adolf Linnebach invented the Linnebach lantern, a lensless wide angl
MOS Technology 6502
The MOS Technology 6502 is an 8-bit microprocessor, designed by a small team led by Chuck Peddle for MOS Technology. When it was introduced in 1975, the 6502 was, by a considerable margin, the least expensive microprocessor on the market, it sold for less than one-sixth the cost of competing designs from larger companies, such as Motorola and Intel, caused rapid decreases in pricing across the entire processor market. Along with the Zilog Z80, it sparked a series of projects that resulted in the home computer revolution of the early 1980s. Popular home video game consoles and computers, such as the Atari 2600, Atari 8-bit family, Apple II, Nintendo Entertainment System, Commodore 64, Atari Lynx, BBC Micro and others, used the 6502 or variations of the basic design. Soon after the 6502's introduction, MOS Technology was purchased outright by Commodore International, who continued to sell the microprocessor and licenses to other manufacturers. In the early days of the 6502, it was second-sourced by Rockwell and Synertek, licensed to other companies.
In its CMOS form, developed by the Western Design Center, the 6502 family continues to be used in embedded systems, with estimated production volumes in the hundreds of millions. The 6502 was designed by many of the same engineers that had designed the Motorola 6800 microprocessor family. Motorola started the 6800 microprocessor project in 1971 with Tom Bennett as the main architect; the chip layout began in late 1972, the first 6800 chips were fabricated in February 1974 and the full family was released in November 1974. John Buchanan was the designer of the 6800 chip and Rod Orgill, who did the 6501, assisted Buchanan with circuit analyses and chip layout. Bill Mensch joined Motorola in June 1971 after graduating from the University of Arizona, his first assignment was helping define the peripheral ICs for the 6800 family and he was the principal designer of the 6820 Peripheral Interface Adapter. Motorola's engineers could run digital simulations on an IBM 370-165 mainframe computer. Bennett hired Chuck Peddle in 1973 to do architectural support work on the 6800 family products in progress.
He contributed in many areas, including the design of the 6850 ACIA. Motorola's target customers were established electronics companies such as Hewlett-Packard, Tektronix, TRW, Chrysler. In May 1972, Motorola's engineers began visiting select customers and sharing the details of their proposed 8-bit microprocessor system with ROM, RAM, parallel and serial interfaces. In early 1974, they provided engineering samples of the chips so that customers could prototype their designs. Motorola's "total product family" strategy did not focus on the price of the microprocessor, but on reducing the customer's total design cost, they offered development software on a timeshare computer, the "EXORciser" debugging system, onsite training and field application engineer support. Both Intel and Motorola had announced a $360 price for a single microprocessor; the actual price for production quantities was much less. Motorola offered a design kit containing the 6800 with six support chips for $300. Peddle, who would accompany the sales people on customer visits, found that customers were put off by the high cost of the microprocessor chips.
To lower the price, the IC chip size would have to shrink so that more chips could be produced on each silicon wafer. This could be done by removing inessential features in the 6800 and using a newer fabrication technology, "depletion-mode" MOS transistors. Peddle and other team members started outlining the design of an improved feature, reduced size microprocessor. At that time, Motorola's new semiconductor fabrication facility in Austin, was having difficulty producing MOS chips and mid 1974 was the beginning of a year-long recession in the semiconductor industry. Many of the Mesa, employees were displeased with the upcoming relocation to Austin. Motorola Semiconductor Products Division's management was overwhelmed with problems and showed no interest in Peddle's low-cost microprocessor proposal. Chuck Peddle was frustrated with Motorola's management for missing this new opportunity. In a November 1975 interview, Motorola's Chairman, Robert Galvin, agreed, he said, "We did not choose the right leaders in the Semiconductor Products division."
The division was reorganized and the management replaced. New group vice-president John Welty said, "The semiconductor sales organization lost its sensitivity to customer needs and couldn't make speedy decisions."Peddle began looking for a source of funding for this new project and found a small semiconductor company in Pennsylvania. In August 1974, Chuck Peddle, Bill Mensch, Rod Orgill, Harry Bawcom, Ray Hirt, Terry Holdt and Wil Mathys left Motorola to join MOS Technology. Of the seventeen chip designers and layout people on the 6800 team, seven left. There were 30 to 40 application engineers and system engineers on the 6800 team; that December, Gary Daniels transferred into the 6800 microprocessor group. Tom Bennett did not want to leave the Phoenix area so Daniels took over the microprocessor development in Austin, his first project was a "depletion-mode" version of the 6800. The faster parts were available in July 1976; this was followed by the 6802 which added 128 bytes of an on-chip clock oscillator circuit.
MOS Technology was formed in 1969 by three executives from General Instrument, Mort Jaffe, Don McLaughlin, John Pavinen, to produce metal-oxide-semiconductor integrated circuits. Allen-Br
Digital signal processing
Digital signal processing is the use of digital processing, such as by computers or more specialized digital signal processors, to perform a wide variety of signal processing operations. The signals processed in this manner are a sequence of numbers that represent samples of a continuous variable in a domain such as time, space, or frequency. Digital signal processing and analog signal processing are subfields of signal processing. DSP applications include audio and speech processing, sonar and other sensor array processing, spectral density estimation, statistical signal processing, digital image processing, signal processing for telecommunications, control systems, biomedical engineering, among others. DSP can involve linear or nonlinear operations. Nonlinear signal processing is related to nonlinear system identification and can be implemented in the time and spatio-temporal domains; the application of digital computation to signal processing allows for many advantages over analog processing in many applications, such as error detection and correction in transmission as well as data compression.
DSP is applicable to static data. To digitally analyze and manipulate an analog signal, it must be digitized with an analog-to-digital converter. Sampling is carried out in two stages and quantization. Discretization means that the signal is divided into equal intervals of time, each interval is represented by a single measurement of amplitude. Quantization means. Rounding real numbers to integers is an example; the Nyquist–Shannon sampling theorem states that a signal can be reconstructed from its samples if the sampling frequency is greater than twice the highest frequency component in the signal. In practice, the sampling frequency is significantly higher than twice the Nyquist frequency. Theoretical DSP analyses and derivations are performed on discrete-time signal models with no amplitude inaccuracies, "created" by the abstract process of sampling. Numerical methods require a quantized signal, such as those produced by an ADC; the processed result might be a set of statistics. But it is another quantized signal, converted back to analog form by a digital-to-analog converter.
In DSP, engineers study digital signals in one of the following domains: time domain, spatial domain, frequency domain, wavelet domains. They choose the domain in which to process a signal by making an informed assumption as to which domain best represents the essential characteristics of the signal and the processing to be applied to it. A sequence of samples from a measuring device produces a temporal or spatial domain representation, whereas a discrete Fourier transform produces the frequency domain representation; the most common processing approach in the time or space domain is enhancement of the input signal through a method called filtering. Digital filtering consists of some linear transformation of a number of surrounding samples around the current sample of the input or output signal. There are various ways to characterize filters. Linear filters satisfy the superposition principle, i.e. if an input is a weighted linear combination of different signals, the output is a weighted linear combination of the corresponding output signals.
A causal filter uses only previous samples of the output signals. A non-causal filter can be changed into a causal filter by adding a delay to it. A time-invariant filter has constant properties over time. A stable filter produces an output that converges to a constant value with time, or remains bounded within a finite interval. An unstable filter can produce an output that grows without bounds, with bounded or zero input. A finite impulse response filter uses only the input signals, while an infinite impulse response filter uses both the input signal and previous samples of the output signal. FIR filters are always stable. A filter can be represented by a block diagram, which can be used to derive a sample processing algorithm to implement the filter with hardware instructions. A filter may be described as a difference equation, a collection of zeros and poles or an impulse response or step response; the output of a linear digital filter to any given input may be calculated by convolving the input signal with the impulse response.
Signals are converted from time or space domain to the frequency domain through use of the Fourier transform. The Fourier transform converts the time or space information to a magnitude and phase component of each frequency. With some applications, how the phase varies with frequency can be a significant consideration. Where phase is unimportant the Fourier transform is converted to the power spectrum, the magnitude of each frequency component squared; the most common purpose for analysis of signals in the frequency domain is analysis of signal properties. The engineer can study the spectrum to determine which frequencies are present in the input signal and which are missing. Frequency domain analysis is called spectrum- or spectral analysis. Filtering in non-realtime work can be achieved in the frequency domain, applying the filter and converting back to the time domain; this can be an efficient implementation and can g
Data General was one of the first minicomputer firms from the late 1960s. Three of the four founders were former employees of Digital Equipment Corporation, their first product, the Data General Nova, was a 16-bit minicomputer. This used their own operating system, Data General RDOS, in conjunction with programming languages like "Data General Business Basic" they provided a multi-user operating system with record locking and built-in databases far ahead of many contemporary systems; the Nova was followed by the Supernova and Eclipse product lines, all of which were used in many applications for the next two decades. The company employed an original equipment manufacturer sales strategy to sell to third parties who incorporated Data General computers into the OEM's specific product lines. A series of missteps in the 1980s, including missing the advance of microcomputers despite the launch of the microNOVA in 1977, the Data General-One portable computer in 1984, led to a decline in the company's market share.
The company did continue into the 1990s, was acquired by EMC Corporation in 1999. Data General was founded by several engineers from Digital Equipment Corporation who were frustrated with DEC's management and left to form their own company; the chief founders were Edson de Castro, Henry Burkhardt III, Richard Sogge of Digital Equipment, Herbert Richman of Fairchild Semiconductor. The company was founded in Hudson, Massachusetts in 1968. Edson de Castro was the chief engineer in charge of the PDP-8, DEC's line of inexpensive computers that created the minicomputer market, it was designed to be used in laboratory equipment settings. Many PDP-8s still operated decades later. De Castro, convinced he could do one better, began work on his new 16-bit design; the result was released in 1969 as the Nova. Designed to be rack-mounted to the PDP-8 machines, it was smaller in height and ran faster. Announced as "the best small computer in the world", the Nova gained a following in scientific and educational markets, made the company flush with cash, although Data General had to defend itself from misappropriation of its trade secrets.
With the initial success of the Nova, Data General went public in the fall of 1969. The Nova, like the PDP-8, used a simple accumulator-based architecture, it lacked general registers and the stack-pointer functionality of the more advanced PDP-11, as did competing products, such as the HP 1000. The original Nova was soon followed by the faster SuperNova later by several minor versions based on the SuperNova core; the last major version, the Nova 4, was released in 1978. During this period the Nova generated 20% annual growth rates for the company, becoming a star in the business community and generating US$100 million in sales in 1975. In 1977, DG launched; the Nova series plays a important role as instruction-set inspiration to Charles P. Thacker and others at Xerox PARC during their construction of the Xerox Alto. In 1974, the Nova was supplanted by the Eclipse. Based on many of the same concepts as the Nova, it included support for virtual memory and multitasking more suitable to the small office environment.
For this reason, the Eclipse was packaged differently, in a floor-standing case resembling a small refrigerator. Production problems with the Eclipse led to a rash of lawsuits in the late 1970s. Newer versions of the machine were pre-ordered by many of DG's customers, which were never delivered. Many customers sued Data General after more than a year of waiting, charging the company with breach of contract, while others canceled their orders and went elsewhere; the Eclipse was intended to replace the Nova outright, evidenced by the fact that the Nova 3 series, released at the same time and utilizing the same internal architecture as the Eclipse, was phased out the next year. Strong demand continued for the Nova series, resulting in the Nova 4 as a result of the continuing problems with the Eclipse. In 1977, Digital announced the VAX series, their first 32-bit minicomputer line, described as "super-minis"; the first products would not ship until February 1978. This coincided with the aging 16-bit products.
Data General launched their own 32-bit effort in 1976 to build what they called the "world's best 32-bit machine", known internally as the "Fountainhead Project". When Digital's VAX-11/780 was shipped in February 1978, Fountainhead was not yet ready to deliver a machine, due to problems in project management. DG's customers left for the VAX world. Soon afterwards, Data General launched a hyperactive 32-bit effort based on the Eclipse. A 32-bit project named "Fountainhead" was underway. References to "the Eagle project" and "Project Eagle" co-exist. Eagle was Data General's response to the February 1978 delivery of the first VAX. By late 1979, it became clear that Eagle would deliver before Fountainhead, igniting an intense turf war within the company for shrinking project funds. In the meantime, customers abandoned Data General in droves, driven not only by the delivery problems with the original Eclipse, but the power and versatility of Digital's new VAX line; the Eagle Project was the subject of Tracy Kidder's Pulitz
An analog computer or analogue computer is a type of computer that uses the continuously changeable aspects of physical phenomena such as electrical, mechanical, or hydraulic quantities to model the problem being solved. In contrast, digital computers represent varying quantities symbolically, as their numerical values change; as an analog computer does not use discrete values, but rather continuous values, processes cannot be reliably repeated with exact equivalence, as they can with Turing machines. Unlike machines used for digital signal processing, analog computers do not suffer from the discrete error caused by quantization noise. Instead, results from analog computers are subject to continuous error caused by electronic noise. Analog computers were used in scientific and industrial applications where digital computers of the time lacked sufficient performance. Analog computers can have a wide range of complexity. Slide rules and nomograms are the simplest, while naval gunfire control computers and large hybrid digital/analog computers were among the most complicated.
Systems for process control and protective relays used analog computation to perform control and protective functions. The advent of digital computing made simple analog computers obsolete as early as the 1950s and 1960s, although analog computers remained in use in some specific applications, like the flight computer in aircraft, for teaching control systems in universities. More complex applications, such as synthetic aperture radar, remained the domain of analog computing well into the 1980s, since digital computers were insufficient for the task. Setting up an analog computer required scale factors to be chosen, along with initial conditions—that is, starting values. Another essential was creating the required network of interconnections between computing elements. Sometimes it was necessary to re-think the structure of the problem so that the computer would function satisfactorily. No variables could be allowed to exceed the computer's limits, differentiation was to be avoided by rearranging the "network" of interconnects, using integrators in a different sense.
Running an electronic analog computer, assuming a satisfactory setup, started with the computer held with some variables fixed at their initial values. Moving a switch released the holds and permitted the problem to run. In some instances, the computer could, after a certain running time interval return to the initial-conditions state to reset the problem, run it again; this is a list of examples of early computation devices which are considered to be precursors of the modern computers. Some of them may have been dubbed as'computers' by the press, although they may fail to fit the modern definitions; the south-pointing chariot, invented in ancient China during the first millennium BC, can be considered the earliest analog computer. It was a mechanical-geared wheeled vehicle used to discern the southern cardinal direction; the Antikythera mechanism was an orrery and is claimed to be an early mechanical analog computer, according to Derek J. de Solla Price. It was designed to calculate astronomical positions.
It was discovered in 1901 in the Antikythera wreck off the Greek island of Antikythera, between Kythera and Crete, has been dated to circa 100 BC. Devices of a level of complexity comparable to that of the Antikythera mechanism would not reappear until a thousand years later. Many mechanical aids to calculation and measurement were constructed for astronomical and navigation use; the planisphere was a star chart invented by Abū Rayḥān al-Bīrūnī in the early 11th century. The astrolabe was invented in the Hellenistic world in either the 1st or 2nd centuries BC and is attributed to Hipparchus. A combination of the planisphere and dioptra, the astrolabe was an analog computer capable of working out several different kinds of problems in spherical astronomy. An astrolabe incorporating a mechanical calendar computer and gear-wheels was invented by Abi Bakr of Isfahan, Persia in 1235. Abū Rayhān al-Bīrūnī invented the first mechanical geared lunisolar calendar astrolabe, an early fixed-wired knowledge processing machine with a gear train and gear-wheels, circa 1000 AD.
The castle clock, a hydropowered mechanical astronomical clock invented by Al-Jazari in 1206, was the first programmable analog computer. The sector, a calculating instrument used for solving problems in proportion, trigonometry and division, for various functions, such as squares and cube roots, was developed in the late 16th century and found application in gunnery and navigation; the planimeter was a manual instrument to calculate the area of a closed figure by tracing over it with a mechanical linkage. The slide rule was invented around 1620–1630, shortly after the publication of the concept of the logarithm, it is a hand-operated analog computer for doing division. As slide rule development progressed, added scales provided reciprocals and square roots and cube roots, as well as transcendental functions such as logarithms and exponentials and hyperbolic trigonometry and other functions. Aviation is one of the few fields where slide rules are still in widespread use for solving time–distance problems in light aircraft.
Mathematician and engineer Giovanni Plana devised a Perpetual Calendar machine which, though a system of pulleys and cylinders and over, could predict the perpetual calendar for every year from 0AD to 4000AD, keeping track of leap years and varying day length. The tide-predicting machine invented by Sir William Thomson in 1872 was of great utility to navigation in shallow waters, it used a system of pulleys and wires to automatically calculate predicted tide levels for a set period at a particular location. The di
The Commodore 64 known as the C64 or the CBM 64, is an 8-bit home computer introduced in January 1982 by Commodore International. It has been listed in the Guinness World Records as the highest-selling single computer model of all time, with independent estimates placing the number sold between 10 and 17 million units. Volume production started in early 1982, marketing in August for US$595. Preceded by the Commodore VIC-20 and Commodore PET, the C64 took its name from its 64 kilobytes of RAM. With support for multicolor sprites and a custom chip for waveform generation, the C64 could create superior visuals and audio compared to systems without such custom hardware; the C64 dominated the low-end computer market for most of the 1980s. For a substantial period, the C64 had between 30% and 40% share of the US market and two million units sold per year, outselling IBM PC compatibles, Apple computers, the Atari 8-bit family of computers. Sam Tramiel, a Atari president and the son of Commodore's founder, said in a 1989 interview, "When I was at Commodore we were building 400,000 C64s a month for a couple of years."
In the UK market, the C64 faced competition from the BBC Micro and the ZX Spectrum, but the C64 was still one of the two most popular computers in the UK. Part of the Commodore 64's success was its sale in regular retail stores instead of only electronics or computer hobbyist specialty stores. Commodore produced many of its parts in-house to control costs, including custom integrated circuit chips from MOS Technology, it has been compared to the Ford Model T automobile for its role in bringing a new technology to middle-class households via creative and affordable mass-production. 10,000 commercial software titles have been made for the Commodore 64 including development tools, office productivity applications, video games. C64 emulators allow anyone with a modern computer, or a compatible video game console, to run these programs today; the C64 is credited with popularizing the computer demoscene and is still used today by some computer hobbyists. In 2011, 17 years after it was taken off the market, research showed that brand recognition for the model was still at 87%.
In January 1981, MOS Technology, Inc. Commodore's integrated circuit design subsidiary, initiated a project to design the graphic and audio chips for a next generation video game console. Design work for the chips, named MOS Technology VIC-II and MOS Technology SID, was completed in November 1981. Commodore began a game console project that would use the new chips—called the Ultimax or the Commodore MAX Machine, engineered by Yash Terakura from Commodore Japan; this project was cancelled after just a few machines were manufactured for the Japanese market. At the same time, Robert "Bob" Russell and Robert "Bob" Yannes were critical of the current product line-up at Commodore, a continuation of the Commodore PET line aimed at business users. With the support of Al Charpentier and Charles Winterble, they proposed to Commodore CEO Jack Tramiel a true low-cost sequel to the VIC-20. Tramiel dictated. Although 64-Kbit dynamic random-access memory chips cost over US$100 at the time, he knew that DRAM prices were falling, would drop to an acceptable level before full production was reached.
The team was able to design the computer because, unlike most other home-computer companies, Commodore had its own semiconductor fab to produce test chips. The chips were complete by November, by which time Charpentier and Tramiel had decided to proceed with the new computer; the product was code named the VIC-40 as the successor to the popular VIC-20. The team that constructed it consisted of Yash Terakura, Shiraz Shivji, Bob Russell, Bob Yannes and David A. Ziembicki; the design and some sample software were finished in time for the show, after the team had worked tirelessly over both Thanksgiving and Christmas weekends. The machine used the same case, same-sized motherboard, same Commodore BASIC 2.0 in ROM as the VIC-20. BASIC served as the user interface shell and was available on startup at the READY prompt; when the product was to be presented, the VIC-40 product was renamed C64. The C64 made an impressive debut at the January 1982 Consumer Electronics Show, as recalled by Production Engineer David A. Ziembicki: "All we saw at our booth were Atari people with their mouths dropping open, saying,'How can you do that for $595?'"
The answer was vertical integration. Commodore had a reputation for announcing products that never appeared, so sought to ship the C64. Production began in spring 1982 and volume shipments began in August; the C64 faced a wide range of competing home computers, but with a lower price and more flexible hardware, it outsold many of its competitors. In the United States the greatest competitors were the Atari 8-bit 400, the Atari 800, the Apple II; the Atari 400 and 800 had been designed to accommodate stringent FCC emissions requirements and so were expensive to
The Atari 2600 sold as the Atari Video Computer System or Atari VCS until November 1982, is a home video game console from Atari, Inc. Released on September 11, 1977, it is credited with popularizing the use of microprocessor-based hardware and games contained on ROM cartridges, a format first used with the Fairchild Channel F in 1976; this contrasts with the older model of having dedicated hardware that could play only those games that were physically built into the unit. The 2600 was bundled with two joystick controllers, a conjoined pair of paddle controllers, a game cartridge: Combat, Pac-Man; the Atari VCS launched with nine low-resolution games in 2 KiB cartridges. Disagreements over sales potential of the VCS led Bushnell to leave Atari in 1978; the system found its killer app with the port of Taito's Space Invaders in 1980 and became successful, leading to the creation of third-party game developers, notably Activision, competition from other home console makers such as Mattel and Coleco.
By the end of its primary lifecycle in 1983-4, the 2600 was home to games with much more advanced visuals and gameplay than the system was designed for, such as scrolling platform adventure Pitfall II: Lost Caverns, which uses four times the ROM of the launch titles. Atari invested in two games for the 2600, Pac-Man and E. T. the Extra-Terrestrial, that would become commercial failures and contributed to the video game crash of 1983. The 2600 was shelved as the industry recovered, while Warner sold off the home console division of Atari to Commodore CEO Jack Tramiel; the new Atari Corporation under Tramiel re-released a lower-cost version of the 2600 in 1986, as well as the Atari 7800, backwards compatible with the 2600. Atari dropped support for the Atari 2600 on January 1, 1992, after an estimated 30 million units were sold over the system's lifetime. Atari was founded by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney of which their first major product was Pong in 1972, one of the first successful arcade games.
It transitioned Pong into a home console version by 1975, helping to pit Atari against Magnavox, the only other major competitor for home consoles at the time. Bushnell recognized that this approach to home consoles has a drawback in that because it used custom logic burned onto the circuit board, it was limited to only one game and any variants, would require consumers to buy another console to play a different set of games. Further, while they could continue to take games they had created for arcade machines to home consoles, this development step cost at least US$100,000 and time to complete, once on the market, had only about a three-month shelf life before being outdated, making this a risky move. In 1974, Atari had acquired Cyan Engineering, an electronics company founded by Steve Mayer and Larry Emmons, both former colleagues of Bushnell and Dabney from Ampex, started Atari's Grass Valley Think Tank, where they were involved with coming up with new ideas for arcade games. Based on Bushnell's concern about single-game consoles, the Grass Valley team started working on how to achieve a home console with multi-game support.
Mayer and Emmons recognized that to achieve a home console with multiple game functionality, they would need newly-invented microprocessors within the console, but at that time, such microprocessors cost US$100–300, far outside the range that their market would support. In September 1975, Chuck Peddle of MOS Technology had created a low-cost replacement for the Motorola 6800, the MOS Technology 6502, which they introduced at the 1975 Wescon trade show in San Francisco. Mayer and Ron Milner attended the show, met with Peddle, invited Peddle to Cyan's headquarters to discuss using MOS's microprocessors for a game console. Mayer and Milner had been able to negotiate purchase of the 6502 chips for US$8 a piece, sufficient to begin development of a console. Through their discussions, Cyan and MOS decided that the better solution would be the MOS Technology 6507, a more restrictive but lower-cost version of the 6502. Cyan and MOS arranged to bring in Synertek, a semiconductor manufacturer whose co-founder, Bob Schreiner, was good friends with Peddle, to act as a second source for the 6507.
By December 1975, Atari hired Joe Decuir to help design the first prototype around the 6502, codenamed "Stella", the name of Decuir's bicycle. A second prototype had been completed by March 1976 with the help of Jay Miner, able to squeeze an entire wire wrap of equipment making up the Television Interface Adaptor, sending graphics and audio to the television display, into a single chip; the second prototype included the 6507, the TIA, a ROM cartridge slot and adapter, each cartridge holding a ROM image of a game. Believing that "Stella" would be a success, Bushnell acquired the entire Grass Valley Think Tank and relocated them into Atari's new headquarters in Sunnyvale, California by mid-1976, putting Steve Mayer in charge of the project. Bushnell feared that once this unit was released, competitors would try to copy it, preemptively made arrangements with all integrated chip manufacturers that had interest in the games market to deny sales to his competitors. Fairchild Semiconductor introduced its Fairchild Channel F home console in November 1976, which included ROM cartridge technology, beating Atari to the market.
The company lacked the funds to do so. Bushnell had considered taking Atari public but instead decided to sell the company to Warner Communications for US$28 million, subsequently Warner provided around US$100 million to Atari, allowing them to prioritize and fast-track Stella. By 1977, the product had advanced far enough to brand it as the "Atari Video Computer System" and enga