Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 56 / JANUARY 1985 / PAGE 10

80-Column VIC?

I own a VIC-20 which I use with a TV set. I have seen ads for monitors with 40 or 80 columns. If I were to buy one of these monitors, would my VIC-20 display 40 or 80 columns? If so, would it change the screen memory?

Allen Murphy

Unfortunately, changing the display format of your computer isn't that simple. A video monitor or TV displays exactly what the computer tells it to display. The VIC generates a video signal for a picture consisting of 23 rows of characters with 22 charac­ters per row, and 22 characters is what you see no matter whether you send that signal to a TV, a monochrome monitor, or a color monitor. The 40- or 80-column figure you mention is only the manufac­turer's rating of the number of characters per row that the monitor is capable of displaying clearly—a measure of the resolution of the monitor.

A monitor that gives a good 80-column display should give an exceptionally crisp 22-column dis­play when connected to a VIC. To actually get an 80-column display, you'd have to use one of the 80-column video adapter boards available for the VIC. The adapter would indeed change screen memory, and you'd probably be disappointed to learn that lit­tle of your favorite software would work with the 80-column adapter.