9 October 2010 Posted by Fred Beckhusen History


There is a growing market for graphics systems of all kinds and complexities.  A major company in the U.S. pay-TV market had a system to provide video services for hotels and hospitals, which is controlled via a PC compatible computer at the hotel front desk.  However, the system graphics were inadequate and the system could not compete effectively within the international marketplace.

Since the company’s engineering staff had limited resources, they needed someone to take the lead in a complete re-design of the graphics system, including both the custom Color Graphics Adapters used for text and graphics generation and the central location software which controlled the screens.



MTSI engineers did a comprehensive study of the entire system, and followed up with the re-design that the company needed.  When the company began to look to the European market, MTSI was called upon to improve the overall quality of the graphics being generated.   In response to the needs of the client’s European customers, engineers specified and designed next generation equipment with high resolution graphics and a color palette of 262,144 colors. 

The graphics system was changed to allow for conversion to USA RS-170, British PAL-I, Continental Europe PAL-G and French SECAM signals (since the system is intended for TV screens, not monitors), and re-writing the communications software that interacted with the graphics controller. In addition, in order to standardize and expand the system, a PC compatible bus was used as the backplane for the graphics adapter cards instead of the custom backplane previously in use. 

The Dual Video Graphics Module (Dual-VGA) was designed to allow for the installation of up to 32 Video Graphics Adapter monitors or television sets to be installed in a single computer.  Communications are handled by a LAN card and an intelligent serial card thereby allowing for a larger number of monitors.