Strange peripherals… the videoprinter

Printing graphics from games onto paper was always a bit of a hassle with the Commodore 64 (and with all other computers for that matter back in the 80s/90s).  Mostly, printing some in-game graphics or screenshots usually involved pressing a “freeze” button on a cartridge like the Final Cartridge III and then printing the picture on a 24-pins matrix printer.  The picture looked OK, but was not “picture perfect”.

For those lucky enough to own a scanner, importing holiday snaps was a time-consuming process, as the photo first had to be imported into the C64 and then printed on the matrix printer… with again the same not so picture perfect result.

This was the case, till in 1992 Mitsubishi released the CP50E Videoprinter.  This printer simply connected to the video port of the C64 and to the monitor and made printing screenshots from games a whole lot easier.

You just had to press the built-in freeze button and then… print.  After about 2 minutes you had the picture in your hand.  But that was not all: the printer allowed you to adjust the contrast, sharpness and colors of the picture and even had the option to print 24 screens on one single output as well as create some nice overlay effects.

The CP50E was also ideally suited for the transfer of your photos to paper as it had numerous ports such as Super-VHS, video, and RGB in- and outputs, allowing for a direct transfer without the need to scan the pictures.

The quality of the photos was great as the printer operated on a proprietary thermal image transfer mechanism, using image loaders that each contained 12 or 50 photo papers (each photo costing roughly 90 cents).

The cost of the printer itself was given the technological features contained in it quite reasonable compared to professional photo transfer equipment of those days, coming in at roughly 2000 Euro.

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2 Responses to Strange peripherals… the videoprinter

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Strange peripherals… the videoprinter | A Commodore Geek's Blog --

  2. Very cool :D

    This can be replicated (but not replaced) nowadays with a TV tuner and a color laser (or ink) printer. I still can’t imagine that kind of machine is easily replicated, even today.

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