Fairchild Channel F
The Benefits Of Fairchild Channel F
The Fairchild Channel F is the world’s second cartridge-based video game console, after the Magnavox Odyssey. It was released by Fairchild Semiconductor (though ostensibly by their parent company) in August 1976 at the retail price of $169.95. At this point it was known as the Video Entertainment System, or VES, but when Atari released their VCS the next year, Fairchild quickly renamed it.
The Channel F was based on the Fairchild F8 CPU, invented by Robert Noyce before he left Fairchild to start his own company, Intel. The F8 was 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 was instead fabricated as a pair of chips that had to be used together to form a complete CPU. The video was quite basic, although it was in color which was a large step forward from the contemporary Pong machines.