Article History

100% n00b

Channel F (console)


  1. Specifications
  2. Development
  3. Competition
  4. Tools
  5. See also
The Fairchild Channel F, also known as VES (Video Entertainment System) is a video game console released in 1976 and was the first home console to use ROM based cartridges. It is based on the Fairchild F8 CPU, invented by Robert Noyce before he left Fairchild to start his own company, Intel.

The F8 is very complex compared to the typical integrated circuits of the day, and had more inputs and outputs than other contemporary chips. Because chip packaging was not available with enough pins, the F8 is instead fabricated as a pair of chips that had to be used together to form a complete CPU. It has an 8-bit data bus and an 8-bit address bus. Shortly said, it's completely 8-bit.

The Channel F is capable of quite a full range of tones via modulation of the three stock pulse wavetones it has. However, you'll have to do that all in software.

Wikipedia gives a good overview: Wiki on Channel F

Here a few videos to give you an idea of the machine and the sound:
A review

A little history lesson and review

Reviewers say the sound is bad; up to BotB to change that opinion!


Standard Specs (1976)
* CPU: Fairchild F8 1.79 MHz [NTSC], 2.22 MHz [PAL]
* RAM: 64 bytes
* Colors: 8, only four different colors per line, unless black/white palette were chosen, then only these two colors on the whole line.
* Audio: 500 Hz, 1 KHz, and 1.5 KHz tones (able to be modulated quickly to produce different tones) played through internal speaker.
* I/O Ports: TV out
* Controllers: Two 'grip-stick' controllers attached to main unit with dedicated wires. 8 way digital movement, forward/backwards, left/right, push knob down/pull up and twist counter-/clockwise
* Media: Programmable ROM cartridges

System II Improvements (1979)
* Audio: Hardware noise reduction and audio out to TV.
* Controllers: Plug-in controllers


In case you're interested in development on the Channel F:


Channel F is used in the following formats:
- channelf


- Sleizsa
- Sleizsa Duo
- Sleizsa Trio

See also

All related Lyceum articles:
- channelf (format)