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from AEO magazine, Volume 4, Issue 9
||| Catbox Review ||| By: Travis Guy / | \ GEnie: AEO.MAG Delphi: AEO_MAG ----------------------------------------------------------------- I've found a whole new way to play Jaguar - with the CatBox from Black Cat Designs. Before, I've had my Jag hooked up to my old 19" RCA TV through an RF connection. The picture was clear, sharp, and the sound was great. While I have seen Jaguars hooked up to stereos and non-RF televisions, I had never played one extensively. But when my CatBox arrived (with an adaptor to allow me to connect to my old 1040ST's SC1224 monitor), I was able to start seeing and hearing my games in a whole new fashion. //// What Is It? The CatBox is a stainless steel box that connects to an Atari Jaguar via the Jaguar's DSP & AV Out bus edges, and provides industry standard connector jacks for S-Video, RGB and composite video; Left and Right channel stereo RCA jacks; two 1/8" stereo headphone jacks (with volume adjust); RS-232 and "CatNet" networking ports, and a pass-through Jaguar DSP bus, so other devices can be daisychained. Inside the CatBox are two PCBs with the support electronics to drive old Atari/Amiga era RGB monitors, and to properly do everything else that is asked of it. It's a very solid piece of engineering. If you're buying CatBox to drive an RGB monitor, contact Black Cat to make sure your monitor type is supported. (It should support a scan rate of 15.75kHz.) There are two jumpers on one of the PCBs inside the CatBox which a user could set for certain monitor requirements. Furthermore, a monitor cable adaptor may be required. (I had to have my SC 1224's brightness increased slightly, but it was well worth the time... nothing provides a sharper Jaguar display, than an RGB monitor.) There's two red LEDs that can been seen through holes drilled into the top of the CatBox. They both light up when the Jaguar is powered up, and I'm told that when networked, the LEDs will flicker on and off similar to a modem's Receive Data and Transmit Data LEDs. The CatBox has no external power needs or supplies. All power that it uses is drawn from the Jaguar. A nice, neat solution. //// Network Now For The Future Networking. A future step that the video game industry will have to take. CatBox supports RS-232 devices (if a game will support it, you can connect a standard external modem to the RS-232 port), CatNet (another networking possibility that uses twisted-pair telephone cable to daisychain connect multiple Jaguars), and a place to connect future DSP-port devices. I don't have another copy of Doom to test networking with myself, but I've spoken to several third-party developers who swear by CatBox for their network tests. //// Final Ratings Title: CatBox Networking: CatNet, RS-232 and DSP Designed by: Black Cat Designs Video: RGB, SVideo, composite Marketed by: ICD, Inc. Available: Now MSRP: $69.99 Audio: L/R RCA, 2 headphone Of the three "computer port" games that appeared earlier this spring for Jaguar (Cannon Fodder, Syndicate, and Theme Park), all experience some "muddiness" of text when viewed through RF output. Not so when played on my lowly Goldstar SC1224 monitor through CatBox! Crisp, clear graphics. (I didn't even know that the starfield in Tempest 2000 wasn't made of =white= stars, till I saw it through CatBox!) Audio-wise, the stereo jacks work perfectly. (If you only connect one jack to your amplifier, CatBox will sense this and supply both channels of audio through the one jack. Nice, Tom!) The amplified headphone jacks on the CatBox are a =perfect= touch - nice, clean, loud stereo. Control and use are a snap. Just make sure your Jaguar is on a solid, flat surface and that it won't be jarred during play - doing so could possibly interrupt the Jaguar/CatBox connection. Overall, this product earns five stars across the board, and the shortest AEO Jaguar review on record! There's nothing else to say, CatBox is a perfect addition to your Jaguar, and a definite "buy."
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