Z*Magazine: 26-Jan-87 #36

From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 07/08/93-09:41:37 AM Z

From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG)
Subject: Z*Magazine: 26-Jan-87 #36
Date: Thu Jul  8 09:41:37 1993

Zmagazine          January 26, 1987
Issue 36                   
Zmag Staff:
Publisher/Editor in Chief:Ron Kovacs
Editor/Coordinator:Alan Kloza
Software Reviewer: Eric Plent

This Week in Zmag......





      PART I


   All this and more in this weeks
   edition of Zmagazine.....

....CES Feedback....................

We received a complaint from one of
our readers recently about the 
coverage we gave CES--the Consumer
Electronic's Show held in Las Vegas

The reader's gripe was that he had
already read most of what we 
published in Antic Online on Compu-

It was a valid complaint. In fact,
most of the Atari news coming out
of CES came from sources at Antic

We carried the Antic stories,
primarily, because they were the 
only Atari-related articles coming
out of Las Vegas. In addition, a 
very significant percentage of our
readership does not, for whatever
reason, use Compuserve and 
consequently would not have access
to Antic Online and their Atari

Well, without further ado, we 
reprint the letters we received on
the subject.

Forum messages: 178981 to 179642

#: 179128 S7/HOT News/Rumors
    18-Jan-87  20:00:33
Sb: #ZMAG34
Fm: Charlie Koontz 74206,3444
To: [F] Ron Kovacs  71777,2140 (X)

Okay, what are the rules?  I'm
referring to ZMAG34.JAN in DL7.
I started downloading it and then
realized the reports on the Atari
news at the Winter CES were quoted
verbatum [sic] from what I had
downloaded last week from ANTIC

Needless to say, I terminated the
download but I'm left wondering how
the ZMAG editor could allow this.


#: 179203 S7/HOT News/Rumors
    19-Jan-87  15:29:48
Sb: #179128-#ZMAG34
Fm: Ron Kovacs [Zmag] 71777,2140
To: Charlie Koontz 74206,3444 (X)

Charlie, Zmag got most if it's CES
news from Antic Online, and from
other areas.  You have to understand
that we do not pay reporters for
services. If we are to cover special
events with exclusive reports then
our offering free news to BBS
systems would no longer exist. We
have the right to use the Antic
Reports providing we give credit to
Antic and show their copyright
notice at the top of the article. My
question to you is, Did you expect
my staff to fly to Nevada and
cover the show??? All past issues of
Zmag have used Antic reports and
other material on CompuServe. There
are a great number of our readers
who do not call here, and some of
which dont access the other areas of
the network.

I am sorry if you were offended,
annoyed or whatever. We try to
provide interesting information to
all our readers.

I wish that I could provide better
information at times, but I can only
do my best with what I have. I will
publish your message and see what

Thanks for your message, and thanks
for reading this long winded reply.

               Take care,
               Ron Kovacs

#: 179208 S7/HOT News/Rumors
    19-Jan-87  18:34:28
Sb: #179203-#ZMAG34
Fm: BRUCE KENNEDY 72327,1500
To: Ron Kovacs [Zmag] 71777,2140 (X)

About a year ago, I was involved in
getting Zmag going in the Chicago
Area. I dreamed that someday the
concept would evolve just the way it
is. My original motivation, was that
I couldn't understand why everyone
should do their own birddogging on
news, and never share it. I was
concerned because there were clubs
begging for stories for their
newsletters, but members weren't
contributing. It just didn't make
sense for a club in Chicago to do
a review on a printer, and the same
effort was duplicated in Michigan.

What if every club investigated one
issue or review, and then shared?
WOW! The other factor was that so
much of BBS messages were mediocre,
but occasionally there was a real
zinger. A good response. One of
general interest to a lot of people.
Why not download the messages, and
assemble them in one place for
everyone's benefit?

Well that's the way Zmag started.
Pretty soon we had groups of Hackers
tinkering away on special programs
we could all use.  Once you
finish a program, you feel pretty
burned out, and sometimes you don't
want to go back. Well someone else
can always improve on your work, so
pretty soon we had some fabulous,
constantly evolving utilities like
Zbanner and Zread, and ReeveKey for
the keypad, and we were all better
off. Zmag became the one place you
could go and get 90% of the hot
stuff going on at ALL the local
boards.. Now, thanks to Ron Kovacs,
you can go to one place, once a
week, and get the scoop with one
download, including the Hottest
stuff on CES, courtesy of tremendous
support publications like Antic. Or

Well, fans, let's hear what you think
about ZMag and what it should be!

Bruce "Z" Kennedy now in Providence
RI and watch for some action from

....The 'Giant' Flush...............

AP Videotex              APV-291

AP 01/24 06:36 EST V0670 

NEW YORK (AP) -- The city has issued
a "bowl warning" and urged New
Yorkers to avoid a massive rush to
bathrooms during half-time or at the
end of Sunday's Super Bowl.  

Football fans should stagger their
bathroom visits during the game
between the New York Giants and
Denver Broncos, said Harvey W.
Schultz, the city's commissioner of
environmental protection.  

"If millions of New Yorkers flush at
the same time, we're not quite sure
what would happen," Schultz said

Tongue-in-cheek, he declared it
"Super Flush Sunday."  

Temporary drops in water pressure
might occur, affecting toilets on
upper floors of high-rise buildings,
said department spokeswoman Joan

"Don't rush -- and think before you
flush," Schultz urged.  

....Random Notes...................


Two years ago, USRobotics grabbed
headlines by offering operators of
computer bulletin board systems a
big discount on its 2400-baud
modems. Now the Skokie, Ill., firm
is making a similar offer with its
9600-baud units.

According to a statement from the
company, BBS sysops can purchase
the $995 Courier HST 9600-bps modem
for $495, providing they agree to
post notices on their boards that
they are using the hardware.

The statement says USRobotics is
making offer because the earlier
promotion "has helped the company
assert leadership in the 2400-bps
modem market," adding it sold
"several thousand of its
2400/1200/300-bps Courier 2400
modems to BBS operators since
starting the program in early 1985."

To qualify, a buyer must prove he
or she is operating a BBS and agree
to spread the word about the modem.
All orders must be prepaid or COD
and purchasers must add $5 for
shipping and handling.

The company also is offering sysops
discounts on its other modems --
the Courier 2400e, normally $699,
is offered for $350, and the IBM PC
plug-in board Microlink 2400,
listed at $599, is available for

For more information, contact the
company's sales department, voice
312/982-5001 or data 312/982-5092.


Commodore International Ltd. has
gone outside the industry to find
its new corporate treasurer. He is
Richard Burke, former vice president/
treasurer of St. Louis' Peabody
Holding Co., owner of Peabody Coal
Co., the nation's largest coal

Commodore Vice President Michael B.
Evans told The Associated Press
that Burke will be responsible for
all areas of treasury management at

Burke also has been vice
president/treasurer of Management
Assistance Inc., a multinational
computer manufacturing and service

            Charles Bowen
            Online Today


Hyundai, the Korean manufacturing
giant that has produced the
hottest-selling car in the US in
the past year, apparently is
pulling out all the stops to
duplicate its success in the
personal computer arena.

The $12 billion conglomerate, which
manufactures the Blue Chip line of
IBM-compatibles sold in mass
merchandising outlets, told
Computer + Software News it:

-:- Has reached an agreement in
    principle for Computer Software
    Services to market about $1
    million worth of Blue Chips to
    computer specialty stores

-:- Will introduce an XT compatible
    at this week's Consumer
    Electronics Show in Las Vegas
    and will ship an AT compatible
    by March.

-:- Has bought a "minority
    interest" in the Blue Chip
    Electronics, the Chandler,
    Ariz.-based distributor. Bob
    Schuricht, CSS sales and
    marketing manager, said his
    firm will "aggressively market"
    the Blue Chip computer
    nationwide. The unit will have
    640K RAM and DOS and will sell
    for $675.

Mass merchants are selling a 512K
unit without DOS for $699. Monitors
are not included.

"We're putting together this
package because everyone wants 640K
RAM," Schuricht said. "We're also
going to offer computer specialty
stores a margin that will allow
them to effectively compete with
mass merchants." He added that CSS
will carry the AT and XT

The AT compatible will be an 80286-
based machine selling for less than
$2,000. It will include 1-meg of
RAM, a 1.2-meg floppy disk drive
and EGA, CGA, MGA and HGA
compatibility built on the
motherboard, along with IBM Token
Ring compatibility on the

The Turbo XT will sell for $799 and
include an 8088-2 based machine
feature CGA-, MGA- and HGA-
compatibility and a single- disk
drive. Those machines will be sold
only through distributors and pc
stores, said Joe Rossi,
president/CEO of Blue Chip

Hyundai apparently bought an
unspecified position in the Blue
Chip Electronics to "make money on
the distribution side of the
business and not just as an OEM,"
said C+SN field editor David S.

"Blue Chip can use the capital and
Hyundai can use Blue Chip to
distribute other consumer
electronics such as mobile phones,"
said Rossi.
             --Daniel Janal
               Online Today


Activision Inc. has settled a class
action lawsuit filed against the
company by a group of shareholders.
As a result of the settlement, the
plaintiffs will receive $2.5
million in cash and $2.55 million
in securities. The settlement is
subject to the signing of
definitive agreements and court
hearings on the fairness of the

According to an Activision
spokesman, the settlement will not
effect the company's long-term
business or financial condition.
However, the agreement will have a
negative effect on fiscal fourth
quarter results.

Activision publishes home and
personal computer software under
the Activision, Infocom, Gamestar,
Electric Dreams and Personal Choice
         -- John Edwards
            Online Today

....Part I--What's New In VCR's

In this report, we offer you some of
the video news that came out of CES.
Since the article is too long to 
publish in its entirety, we're 
breaking it up into 2 parts. 

This week we'll cover what's new in
VCR's and Camcorders. Look for Part 
II in the next issue of Zmag.


by Marc Wielage
All Rights Reserved

This past Consumer Electronics Show
was the 19th consecutive 
gathering for your humble
correspondent, and I don't know if
it was age, cynicism, or sheer
boredom in general, but this show
has to go down as one of the most
ho-hum in history.  In an industry 
that thrives on innovation and
excitement, we've come to expect 
a least a dozen major breakthroughs
(and an equal number of 
minor ones) in each of these
biannual get-togethers, and, judging
by the similar response from fellow
colleagues and journalists, 
just about everybody I knew felt
about the same way.


The VCR arena saw fairly dull
activity at this show, except 
for the blockbuster news of "S-VHS,"
alternately known as "Super 
VHS," "VHS Super," and "VHS II." 
This announcement came at a 
special press conference on January
8th in Japan, with most U.S. 
representatives professing little or
no knowledge of this astounding
technical breakthrough.  

According to TV DIGEST, S-VHS has
"picture quality comparable to that
of a 1-inch broadcast VTR," with 430
lines of  horizontal resolution -- a
sharp improvement over the 240+
lines  available from most current
high-end VHS recorders.  JVC claims 
that the new system virtually      
eliminates luminance and 
chrominance interference
(cross-color lines and jagged edges)
as  well as tracking problems, using
a new proprietary bandwidth 
expansion technique similar, but not
identical, to SuperBeta.  A 
special video head gap of .2
microns, which is required for the 
considerably higher frequencies
being recorded on tape.  Also 
required is a new high density "improved oxide" videocassette, 
which requires a special bias switch
on the recorder.  There's no 
word as to whether this tape will be
metal particle, metal  evaporated,
or some more conventional

S-VHS will strictly be an "upward
compatible" system,  meaning that
tapes made on old VCR's can be
played on new  machines, but that
S-VHS tapes will not play on old
VCR's.  This flies in the face of
JVC's anti-Sony propoganda of a few
years ago, when the company critized
SuperBeta for not being compatible 
with older Beta machines.  

As a bold marketing step, S-VHS will
only be licensed to the original
five-member VHS member companies: 
Hitachi, JVC, Matsushita, Mitsubishi
and Sharp.  Apparantly, JVC has been
concerned about the "cheapening" of
the format by low-ball Korean 
firms, and is determined to keep a
tight rein on this new technological
breakthrough.  One insider confirmed
that those firms buying machines
from these five suppliers (including
RCA, whose OEM factory is Hitachi),
will also have these VCR's when 
they become available later on in
the year.  

In other video news, there was a
shortage of new VCR's 
compared to past shows, when there
are rarely less than 30 new 
recorders introduced.  Time and time
again, manufacturers pointed 
out that the mass-market has a
lukewarm attitude towards such 
performance features as Hi-Fi and
HQ, and is buying machines 
solely on the basis of price.  As a
result, the true innovations 
were few-and-far-between at the
Winter CES, though we found just 
a few diamonds in the rough here and

Car stereo-maker Audiovox took the
wraps off the AVP-1000 
mobile VHS player, designed to
playback videotapes in cars, 
planes, boats and trains.  The unit
features 3 speeds, auto 
rewind, and picture search, and will
be available sometime in 

Canon featured the new mid-priced
VR-HF710.  THis new machine omits
the on-screen programming from the
top-of-the-line VR-HF720, but still
boasts Hi-Fi, four heads, HQ, and an
MTS tuner.  

GE displayed six new VHS HQ
recorders, all mid- and low-
priced models designed to address
the mass-market (non-videophile)
market.  The top new model is the
9-7276 with MTS, linear Dolby,
Pro-Fect (Tech-4) heads, special
effects, on-screen programming. 

Likewise, Hitachi showed their
VT-1350 VCR with HQ, 107-channel
tuner, 3 video heads, and a new
"Touch N' View" programmable LCD
remote, which allows you to see the 
commands without the aid of
on-screen programming.  

Panasonic showed a series of
mid-priced mono machines that looked
for all the world like props from
Miami Vice.  The PV-2700 "Designer
Series" VCR's feature unusual colors
and cabinet styles, but otherwise
offer no new improvements in picture
quality or features.  

One manufacturer who did introduce a
new top of the line VCR was Sharp,
whose VC-799 has just about every
feature imaginable, including a
140-channel MTS tuner, Hi-Fi, linear
Dolby stereo, LCD remote, dual speed
search (9X CHAD HARPER5X), and remote eject.
Also provided is Sharp's unusual
"blue-screen" noise elimination 
system, which reverts to a blue
color background when the machine 
senses excessive noise when playing
back blank tape sections.  

For those who like doing things
quickly, Sharp also bowed the
VC-Q77, a 4-head VHS VCR with
digital FX and VSC, which takes 
the "Donald Duck" distortion out of
double-speed playback.  Just the
thing for watching "Dallas" in half
the time, the new Sharp VCR will be
available in May. 

Adding a new wrinkle to VHS VCR's,
Toshiba's new DX-900 features
conventional VHS recording with
digital special effects, and can
also serve double-duty as a
self-contained 14-bit PCM digital
audio recorder.  Earlier reports to
the contrary, the VCR can work as
either a conventional VCR OR a PCM
audio recorder, but not both at the
same time.  


The 8mm vs. VHS-C war is escalating,
judging by the large press
conference organized by JVC, held on
January 8th.  JVC video sales
manager Steve Isaacson sharply
criticized the fledgling 8mm format
(and rival Sony in particular) with
a phony anti-ad campaign satirizing
Sony's "Courtroom" TV commercials.  

JVC circulated a large glossy
brochure entitled "VHS: The Only 
Answer," detailing the alleged
advantages of VHS-C over other 
systems, and they also distributed a
unique brochure on the "10th 
Anniversary of VHS," including rare
glimpses of prototypes from 
the mid-70's.

Moving from the sublime to the
ridiculous, Samsung showed 
their so-called 4mm Camcorder
(actually 3.81 mm), the model SVC-
41, which uses R-DAT digital
audiocassettes as a video recorder. 

Curiously, the company refused to
demonstrate their working 
prototype at the show, claiming that
they had no DAT cassettes 
available.  Later, when we provided
them with a sample cassette, 
they again refused to demonstrate
it, admitting that two tapes had
jammed in the unit during the show. 

While the validity of the format may
be questionable, the size of
Samsung's camcorder is impressive at
8-1/2" x 4" x 5-1/3", and it weighs
a scant 2.5 lbs. (without battery). 
The SVC-41 features a color
viewfinder, a 10 lux CCD, and will
cost about $1300.

Aiwa took the wraps off a
2nd-generation 8mm camcorder, the 
CV-50 8mm, which is a lightweight
2.3 lb. unit featuring a 2" 
remote handheld monitor/controller. 
And Canon introduced the VM-E2 8mm
Camcorder, a much-improved version
of their previous model which fixes
several major ergonomic problems;
now, the "zoom-in" control is at the
front and the "zoom-out" control is 
at the rear!  Canon's camera also
features a 6X f/1.2 autofocus 
zoom lens, a flying-erase head for
perfect edits, an 8 lux CCD, and
auto white balance.  

Despite grumblings from some VHS
manufacturers, some of whom 
admitted to us that they would
rather be selling 8mm, there were 
a plethora of introductions in the
VHS-C area.  GE showed their 
9-9710 "Cam N' Cord" Camcorder,
which boasts a 7 lux CCD pickup, 
autofocus, power zoom lens, and
weighs 3.7 lbs. with the battery.  
It will sell for around $1700. 

Hitachi introduced their VM-C50A, 
a VHS-C camcorder with a 2/3" MOS
pickup rated at 10 lux, and 
also features HQ, 6X f/1.4 autofocus
zoom lens, and weighs 3.1 pounds. 
This unit is virtually identical to
RCA's CPR-100 VHS-C camcorder, and
has a list price of $1400.

JVC, the inventor of VHS-C, showed
production versions of the GRC-9 --
touted as "the world's smallest 1/2"
camcorder" at an amazing 2.2 pounds
(w/tape attery).  This
record-only model features a very
sensitive 10-lux CCD pickup and

Panasonic added a new wrinkle to the
VHS-C camcorder with their PV-100,
which they called a "High Speed
Camcorder."   This model has both a
standard 1/60 and 1/1000 second
shutter for nearly blur-free
high-speed motion analysis, making
it easy to study golf swings and
other sports activities.  However,
we noted that because the 1/1000
second shutter requires nearly 35
times more light than the regular
shutter, its usefulness will be 
mainly with outdoors shooting.  The
PV-100 features a 7 lux 1/2" 
CCD pickup with 210,000 pixels, 6X
autofocus zoom lens, auto 
white balance, and records an hour
on one battery.  Similar models
include Magnavox's Video Escort
($1900) and Quasar's VM-50 ($1800).

Perhaps the biggest innovation in
camcorders had to be with Zenith's
VM-7100 full-size VHS Hi-Fi
camcorder, which is the first we
know of to offer high-quality stereo
sound in a consumer package.  This
somewhat bulky unit features SP-only
recording, HQ, a 6X zoom lens, an 8
lux CCD pickup, and tips the scales
at 5.3 pounds.  Its list price of
$1800 seems reasonable, compared 
to similar non-Hi-Fi models now on
the market.  

Last, but never least, Sony
attempted to coax some life back 
into their ailing Beta format with
their BMC-1000K Betamovie Pro,  
a record-only camcorder featuring
the 6.0 MHz BI-S mode (along 
with the more-standard 5.6 MHz mode
for compatability with older 
machines).  The BMC-1000 features an
electronic VF 6X F/1.4 zoom, 
program indexing, date and time
stamp, and auto white balance.  
Unfortunately, this camcorder's
pickup is rated at 21 lux, which 
is considerably less sensitive than
most others now on the market, which
we found disappointing.  On the
other hand, its high quality,
high-resolution can't be
beat...until the emergence of S-VHS,
that is.  

....Capsule Reviews.................



The Avatex modem gives you
inexpensive Hayes compatibility and
reliable operation.  It operates
with a subset of the Hayes commands
that gives you virtually all the
important functions.  The Avatex
usually can be found between $79
and $129 at dealers. Atari 8-bit
users will need an 850 interface or
P:R:  Connection. $199.

E+E Datacom
1230 Oakmead Parkway #310
Sunnyvale, CA 94086.
(408) 732-1181.


The Smartmodem 1200 is the industry
standard by which all other modems
are judged. The Hayes offers solid
construction, automatically
adjustable baud rate, internal
speaker, auto-answering and
outstanding documentation.  Most
commercial modem software is
written to be compatible with the
standard set of Hayes commands.
Atari 8-bit users will need an 850
interface or P:R: Connection.

Hayes Microcomputer Products
5835 Peachtree Corners East,
Norcross, GA 30092.
(404) 449-8791.


The FX-85 offers almost every
feature conceivable in a 9-pin dot-
matrix printer.  If you want
substantially better performance
from such a printer, you'll have to
move up to a 24-pin model -- at

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