So a ZX Spectrum is a 30 year old computer. To gauge how much memory this thing has in today’s world is quite remarkable. Basically less than 1 second of an MP3 would it into its teeny memory banks. Many would say this is completely useless. What could you do with that? Its processor speed is also a miniscule fraction of what computers are doing today. A single chip churning away at 3.5mhz looks like an ant in today’s 3000mhz multicore systems. As for graphics? Don’t get me started there, A 15 colour 256×192 screen isn’t going to get you very far is it?
But, despite its age, and its severe limitations this baby can play video! Here is mine playing a very recent episode of South Park!
Ok so you may have noticed a few things.. It looks a bit naff, it sounds a bit naff and what is that circuit board hanging out of the back of it? The Spectrum can only play video as long as you have an expansion? Right.. OK.. so the Spectrum can’t play video then because you have to add something to it!
The expansion in question is the very excellent DivIDE. It is an IDE interface that allows attaching large storage. Because yeah, you’re going to load a video file off a cassette tape! The DivIDE is streaming the video file into the spectrum which is playing it with its own hardware! So its just a storage medium, the spectrum is doing all the muscle really not that!
The software in question is DivIDEo which you can get here: http://divideo.zxdemo.org/
And here is another video the spectrum has done. (Sorry for the song – but whizzy on for the simpsons intro)
Why oh why would we want to do this? Why would someone today spend time making this? Well you either get it, or you don’t. If you’re asking the question and feeling puzzled by all this. You don’t get it.