The Intellivision Gumbo site has been kind enough to allow me to use the images of a PlayCable flyer for this site. So, here it is! Note the prominence of the number 16 on the back page. A rather humorous error here: a 16K microprocessor? Hmm, perhaps they meant 16 bit? After all, the PlayCable itself was limited in that it could only store games up to 4K in size. This was one of the factors that led to its demise, according to the Intellivision Productions folks.
In addition to flyers, special versions of game manuals were also printed and sent to customers. To store the manuals and, presumably, overlays, a box was provided. It should be expected that some kind of service manual existed, and possibly other documentation or packaging. Anyone who finds such materials and is willing to share information or images, please send a message!
PlayCable Unit with Master Component
As mentioned previously, the PlayCable unit was modeled after the original Master Component in its appearance. It also has its own internal transformer to step down 120V AC. I haven't probed the guts of my unit yet to see what voltages it produces. Given the information from the BSRs, one can also conclude that there's a ROM containing the program loader software as well as some kind a demodulator used to decode the software data from the TV signal - similar in concept to how our cable modems work today, but without the ability to upload data.
The Question of Packaging Variants
There are two images showing what the PlayCable unit's shell looked like. Both the 'Jerrold' and 'General Instrument' units are known to exist. The Jerrold version is also the unit pictured in an Electronic Games article. The Blue Sky Rangers and the flyer shown above display the GI edition. Is one more difficult to find than the other? (Is that like asking whether a hen's incisor is rarer than a hen's canine?) Were the units packaged differently over the lifespan of the project, or in different regions of the country? Anyone with any information on the different units and logos please drop an e-mail!
Someone had to do it... Oh, what could have been! If only I had the brown ECS to have a consistent cosmetic appearance... Just imagine - add upload capabilities to the PlayCable and you could use your ECS to load and share your own programs across a network via the cassette player! Or, hook this up to the real Keyboard Component and you've even got programmatic control over the cassette! The 1149 could act as your server! Yeah!
On an unrelated note... It sure would have been cool to see the Intellivoice and ECS released in the 2609 packaging style, as the PlayCable was. Now that would look cool!
Someday, I hope to take some pictures of the guts and post them, too.
PlayCable Unit with Master Component, Intellivoice, and ECS
Not only was the PlayCable unit a nifty hardware device - it also contained software act as the program loader. Here are a few questions and theories about just what that software might have done. I hope someone out there can answer them...
Since the PlayCable channel has long since bit the dust, we can't get nice screen shots of what the game selection software looks like. (Is there a nifty emu project there?) Here are some screen shots of what you get with a PlayCable unit today. I did not hook the unit up to my cable line. As is the case with the System Changer, you get a default screen if the service isn't available.
Electronic Games Magazine, Volume 1 Number 2, 1982
The official Intellivision Lives web site's PlayCable page
The Intellivision FAQ PlayCable topic
Page last updated 19-Nov-2017 04:38:09 UTC