July 03, 2020, 06:20:27 AM

Recent Posts

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Local Forecast / Re: "The WeatherSTAR" - Waking up the old beast...
« Last post by curtjr4 on June 23, 2020, 11:27:35 AM »
Great stuff, thanks for sharing! How did you get the animated background to work?
I just played the looping background into the unit and manually called the text pages by controlling the OMCW (Output Mode Control Word), which affects all units simultaneously. The OMCW is global, meaning each STAR in the field would respond to it at the same exact time. It can control things such as the ad crawl, enabling or disabling the background on the lower portion (LDL) or upper portion of the screen, the solid line between the LDL and the upper portion of the screen, local commercial insertion, etc.

Now, it is possible to automate this. The OMCW could just switch the video source from satellite input to local input, however animated backgrounds aren't really much of a priority to me. I'm more interested in using the local input for a working replica of the radar product at some point.
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Local Forecast / Re: "The WeatherSTAR" - Waking up the old beast...
« Last post by twcclassics on June 22, 2020, 08:13:50 PM »
Great stuff, thanks for sharing! How did you get the animated background to work?
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Local Forecast / Re: the Real WeatherSTAR 4000 Lives again.
« Last post by techknight on June 22, 2020, 07:52:53 PM »
Yea, the 4000 was entirely upgradeable over satellite, it was also volatile. so if the power was cycled, Poof everything was gone. All of it. So it had to redownload it all from the satellite.

The 3000, and Jr had the software in ROM, which unfortunately was non-upgradable unless they send new ROMs or new boards.

Anyways, since the 4000 runs at 8Mhz, I had to crank the GCC optimizer up all the way to 3 just to squeeze any ounce of performance out of it. But hey, it works.
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Local Forecast / Re: the Real WeatherSTAR 4000 Lives again.
« Last post by twcclassics on June 22, 2020, 07:43:12 PM »
The thing to keep in mind with these older WeatherSTAR units is they are essentially "dumb". They are just character generators that can be addressed over satellite... I hope that makes sense. It's not an in-depth explanation, and there are a lot of technicalities -- but that's just a dumbed down example of whats going on behind the scenes.

Yes, that does help explain things. I assumed that if you were able to get one working, it would work pretty much the same as it did when it was at TWC. I didn't know you could customize it that much. It also explains what Mike told me about how whenever they wanted to update the graphics, they had to either ship new hardware or have the cable operators download the update from the satellite. Which explains this somewhat cryptic message that aired in early '92:

https://twcclassics.com/view.php?file=4000-change92
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Local Forecast / Re: the Real WeatherSTAR 4000 Lives again.
« Last post by techknight on June 22, 2020, 07:37:25 PM »
Well maybe I am interpreting it incorrectly, it just felt like a debbie-downer type response. Anyways.. I digress....

I don't know any of the original guys unfortunately, and ive tried getting in touch with them but nobody is willing to respond. Maybe they all just want to forget TWC entirely, Which I cant blame, it was just a job to those guys.

Mike was the only one who did respond, but he was the graphics designer and didnt really know too much about the under the hood operations unfortunately.

If I could get the 3 wishes type questions answered from the original under the hood programmers, I have some open-ended questions and issues I have with framebuffer operations/hardware that I would love to have answered. but ya know, doubt itll happen.

Anyways, so I had to go it alone and totally reverse engineer the 4000 back down to a schematic diagram for each board, just so I could understand what was going on. Plus, I needed to reverse engineer and dump the PAL logic. I even tried cracking the FPGA bitstream but that got me nowhere since the reverse engineering script for the XC2018 was based off of the XC2064 and has bugs. Doesnt work properly as the XACT output was wrong.
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Local Forecast / Re: the Real WeatherSTAR 4000 Lives again.
« Last post by twcclassics on June 22, 2020, 07:27:34 PM »
Anyways, I noticed you like to nitpick at this stuff. Any particular reason as to why?

I'm a programmer, so I find this stuff really interesting. I've asked Mike (the guy who programmed the 4000 for TWC) a lot of questions too.
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Programming and Graphics / Re: AMHQ Early Cannned????
« Last post by TV Shows Fan on June 22, 2020, 06:06:58 AM »
The 6AM hour is now AMHQ Early.
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Programming and Graphics / Re: AMHQ Now Extended Until 10e/9c
« Last post by TV Shows Fan on June 22, 2020, 06:05:46 AM »
The 6AM hour is now AMHQ Early.
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Everything Else Classic TWC / New Content from 1996 on my YouTube
« Last post by Lightning on June 21, 2020, 11:32:39 PM »
Old content I new I had and have been looking for, for a long time, from 1996, is up on my YouTube channel. Not all the videos are uploaded yet, but they (along with content from 2003) should be completed by the end of the week. Jodi Saeland is one of the OCMs in this content.
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Programming and Graphics / AMHQ Now Extended Until 10e/9c
« Last post by Jaden on June 21, 2020, 11:06:52 PM »
AMHQ is now extended another hour once again until 10am Eastern for the first time since 2015. I find it an interesting move, but I have no idea what that means for AMHQ Early. To me it sounds like them cutting back on Live programming more, but that could just be me.
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