After a long day in the data mines, it’s certainly nice to come home, walk over to the movie shelf, select a movie to watch, then put it into my movie player of choice: an Atari 2600. A demonstration (40 seconds):

Moviecart’s actually been around, judging by the date on that video demonstration, for at least three years now, but is currently accepting preorders for $25. The video only uses half the screen, and has glitches and distracting horizontal and vertical lines running through it, but at they say, it’s amazing that the dog talks at all. Or in this case, that the dog can display roughly arbitrary video and sound, two things the Atari usually finds it impossible to pull off.

How is it done? With custom hardware, certainly, but even granting that there’s only so much that can be done with the VCS/2600’s display chip, the restrictive funnel through which the cart’s video must be squeezed.

After that, getting all that data to the screen is done through presenting it to the VCS/2600’s address space at the absolute limit of the system’s ability to use it. The real work is done by a processor on the Moviecart’s board, which handles reading a specially-encoded video file on a Micro SD card and doing all of the work in getting it ready for the screen, so the VCS’s 6507 processor has to do as little as possible itself.

Moviecart, from lodefmode (github)

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