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#1 Posted : Tuesday, July 30, 2013 6:59:40 AM(UTC)

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Joined: 3/2/2013(UTC)
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In BBOAH's database there is a few graphics products made by DJW Systems. Very little was known about the hardware and since I recently got a Horizon (Director II prototype) graphics card, I decided to find some info. So I found Dave who designed their hardware.

Here's the story:

A little history - I used to work at Amiga Centre Scotland many years ago and was involved in the development of the Harlequin board, but left and founded DJW Microsystems.

DJW microsystems used to assemble PCs and sell them but also did some custom hardware development.

The first major product we developed was the Black Box which only really got as far as the prototype stage, it was really designed to operate in the Amiga 2000 and occupied 3 slots in the case - the processor slot, a zorro slot and a PC slot (for power only). We got it operational but very buggy when we were approached by Tritec to act as distributors for us. They were interested in the Black Box, but really wanted a lower cost system and persuaded us to develop the Horizon card.

We got the Horizon working quite well (in terms of hardware), and operating as an Amiga graphics board, but in order to realise the full potential, we needed native software as the controller chip on the board is a full graphics processor (http://www.ti.com/product/tms34020a)

This is the time that we contacted Mads, initially to develop a 34020 assembler, but with a view to doing more work as well. I can't remember why this didn't work out, but the guys were really keen and great to work with - say hi from me if you are talking to them !

Around this time, the bottom fell out of the PC market and DJW microsystems was in real financial trouble, so we reached a deal with Tritiec where myself and one other guy became employees of Tritec and transferred the design to them.

The Horizon card was released and sold by Tritec as the Director-II, they never really liked the name Horizon, I don't know why, so actually, although your website lists both the Horizon and Director-II, they are actually the same card. It used to sell for around £400 from memory and we sold something like 100 of them

We also got very close to releasing the successor to the Horizon which was the Avatar.

The Horizon was zorro-II based and could display and capture RGB at resolutions up to 1024x768, but mainly video resolutions of 640x480, 702x576, 720x486 & 720x576. The 25-pin D is the video output and the 9-pin din is the capture input. The 2 DIN-41612 connectors at the top are for expansion cards which never really happened on the Horizon but we had a whole range up and running on the Avatar.

The Avatar was zorro-III based and could display HD in addition to the above modes plus it also could do image scaling and mixing on board with YUV, Y/C and composite display and capture on board too. We also had M-JPEG compression and decompression add-on cards, MPEG decode cards along with processor and video memory expansion cards.
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