A JACK OF ALL TRADES
THE NEW combined TV monitors are at best a compromise, and the Ferguson MC0l is no exception; it is a jack of all trades.
The MC0l can be used by both the Spectrum and the QL when running as a TV and as a monitor with adaptors from Ferguson. The QL adaptor is a suitable lead, code No MA17 and priced £5.85, which connects the QL RGB socket to the back of the TV. There is also a composite video socket on the MC0l which could be driven from the QL, but you would have to make your own lead for this.
To get RGB from the Spectrum, Ferguson can supply the MA20, priced £29.95, which converts the composite video output at the edge connector - which means it will only work on issue three or later - to TTL RGB. With TTL, brightness cannot be shown.
The adaptor has a through port for other add-ons, a 'green screen' switch which gives a green and black display, and a colour control for the RGB.
The TV has the normal volume, brightness, contrast and colour controls - the last two are inoperable when running RGB - plus eight push-button channel selectors. Channel seven is used for RGB, and eight for composite video. On the back are the RGB, composite video and aerial sockets with an additional earphone socket. There are no accessible positioning controls.
The TV picture is only adequate. Running the computers in this mode gives a reasonable display but, with the QL, is a little indistinct. In RGB mode the QL display is very good, but the picture is only TV-sized. When running the QL in monitor mode the edges of the picture are lost.
The Spectrum display, using the MA20 adaptor, is variable. For high definition work, such as Tasword 2, in black and white there is a slight ghosting to the right of the characters.
The MC0l is a reasonable product and, within limits, it performs well. It is not as good as separate units, but then it is considerably cheaper at £229.