Spectravideo Microcomputers

Spectravideo SV 328 (c1983)

Spectravideo- A Brief Background

Harry Fox and Oscar Jutzler (two Swiss clock/watch makers who had moved to North America in the 1950s) made the SVI-318 (see photo below) and introduced it on the market. It was not a very big success, so in 1983 they asked Kazuhiro Nishi (also known as Kay Nishi) the head of ASCII Microsoft Japan, to help them redesign their computer.

Kay Nishi agreed to help them, on the condition, he could base his MSX standard on the SVI design that he would do. He then supplied the BASIC which is very close to the MSX-BASIC and remodelled the keyboard and expanded the RAM from 32k to 64k and released it as the SVI-328.

THE MSX Standard

Once upon a time, Bill Gates wanted to break into the Japanese computer market. He tried to set up a standard, called MSX, so that different brands could swap software and components. Each computer would be compatible with the others, but could include special features of its own. Many of the MSX computers had special music hardware and could be hooked up to piano-type keyboards. One American company, SpectaVideo, decided to join the Japanese companies. Before it actually produced any real MSX compatible computers, it produced 2 wonderful quasi-MSX 8-bits computers, the 318 and the 328.

The 318 had a chiclet keyboard with built in joystick and 32K RAM. The 328 had a real keyboard and 64K RAM. Both computers ran off a Zilog Z80 chip. Both had 32K worth of BASIC in ROM, which resulted in one of the finer versions of BASIC ever produced. They also had good sound and graphic ability, although the graphics were not quite as good as a C64. My 328 has a tape drive. Disks drives were also available. In the end, the Japanese MSX standard never caught on.

Information and Spectravideo 328 photo courtesy of Tom Carlson and the Obsolete Computer Museum.

See their impressive site online at: www.obsoletecomputermuseum.org


Spectravideo SV 318 (1983)

Photo courtesy of VINTINTED

The Spectravideo, made in 1983, had 32K RAM, and utilized the Z80A microprocessor.  





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