Sony HBI-V1
This page was last modified 17:18, 26 May 2023 by Mars2000you. Based on work by Rderooy and NYYRIKKI and others.




The Sony HBI-V1 is a Video Digitizer cartridge, which is used for grabbing images from external video sources like a VCR, TV or VIDEO camcorder. It was released in 1989 (one year after release of the MSX2+ computers) in Japan. Due to the TV standard incompatibility most of those cartridges available in Europe were converted from NTSC to PAL by Club Gouda or others.

The cartridge includes a standard (27256) 32kB ROM with new MSX-BASIC instructions - see SonyVideo BASIC and a built-in digitizing software that can be started from BASIC with CALL DG or _DG.

The package consists of:

  • The cartridge itself
  • One RCA cable (both ends are male). Yellow connectors & black cable
  • Japanese manual
  • Utility disk
Brand Sony
Model HBI-V1
Year 1989-10-21
Region JP
Launch price ¥29,800
Package content
Emulation ROM dump made and fully emulated in blueMSX


The provided utility disk has a menu with 4 options:

This disk contains also

  • BACKUP.BAS - same version as on F1 Tool Disk II
  • 6 examples of animation or demo with digitized pictures using SonyVideo BASIC: SAMPLE.BAS - SAMPLE1.BAS - SAMPLE2.BAS - SAMPLE3.BAS - SAMPLE4.BAS - SAMPLE5.BAS
  • several pictures in screen 8 or 12



Sony HBI-V1 box
Sony HBI-V1 box (back)
Sony HBI-V1 content of box
Sony HBI-V1 cartridge
Sony HBI-V1 cartridge
Sony HBI-V1 right side
Sony HBI-V1 cartridge (back)
Sony HBI-V1 Original PCB
HBI-V1 Original PCB (underside)
Sony HBI-V1 Modified PCB
Sony HBI-V1 Modified PCB (underside)
Sony HBI-V1 Modified PCB (detail)


Sony HBI-V1 menu
Digitizing Soft
Auto Graphic Loader
Screen 8 picture (SAMPLE.BAS)
Screen 8 picture
Screen 12 picture


The original version of the HBI-V1 is meant for 60Hz NTSC, the modified version is for 50Hz PAL. As the modification is only done to the analog part of the device, the digital part remains unchanged. This causes only the top 525 lines to be digitized, since NTSC only has 525 lines, while PAL has 625 lines.

The device works as follows:

  • First the composite video signal is split into RGB (with a standard television IC) and sync (the well known LM1881)
  • The three RGB signals are send to three analog/digital converters (6 bit)
  • The digital data are then stored in 64 kB VRAM memory after being converted to YJK
  • The whole logic of capturing, converting and storing in VRAM, and the interfacing with the MSX, is performed by a OKI/Sony IC labelled MSM79V023


  • RCA (Cinch) composite video-out
  • RCA (Cinch) composite video-in

There's a switch to compensate video-output impedance when not connected. The switch is intended to enable/disable the terminator resistor on the video. A video signal is supposed to be terminated with 75 ohm. But when connecting two video devices on one video signal, the load is twice 75 ohm, which lowers the signal so that the image is less bright and also could have sync problems. So indeed the switch has influence on the brightness.

PCB modifications for PAL version

  • X101: PAL = 4.4333619 Mhz instead of NTSC = 3.579545 Mhz
  • R106: PAL = 4700 ohm instead of NTSC = 1000 ohm
  • R107: PAL = 100 ohm instead of NTSC = 1000 ohm
  • IC101 (V7020): pins 19, 20, 21 need to be cutted


Supported modes

The digitizer can be used with an MSX2 computer, but then it will only be possible to digitize in screen mode 8 with 256 colors.

On an MSX2+ or MSX turbo R, the screen 10, 11 and 12 modes can be used too. The digitizing speed is not impressive, but enough if you do not expect to see real time video. The most used screen for digitizing is the last one (12) due to the big amount of colors.

Digitizing in interlace (256×424) mode


1 N$="IMAGE"
10 SCREEN 12,,,,,3
30 _AD(0,0,0,0,0,0,1)
40 SETPAGE 1,1
50 _AD(0,0,0,0,0,1,2)
55 A$=INKEY$
60 IFA$=""THEN20
70 IFA$=" "THEN BEEP: A$=INPUT$(1): IF A$="S" OR A$="s" THEN SET PAGE 1,0: BSAVE N$+".SC1",0,&HD3FF,S: SET PAGE1,1: BSAVE N$+".SC2",0,&HD3FF,S
80 GOTO20

Program written by Trunks.

To view again in BASIC:

10 SCREEN 12,,,,,3
40 GOTO 40

For more info, see SonyVideo BASIC.

Programming in assembly

See Programming the Sony HBI-V1.