A few weeks ago I finally got around to buying an Arduino microcontroller board. There's no doubt this is the easiest way to get into microcontrollers for beginners and all of the software and hardware designs are open source, how cool is that? Pretty quickly I found a video output library for the Arduino and have been experimenting with that as it would make a great basis for a retro video display. I wanted to see about building a standalone video generator that would connect as a module to other microcontrollers via either RS232 or maybe as a slave I2C device. I purchased a DIY Arduino kit for 8 GBP on eBay, basically just an AT MEGA 328 microcontroller with the serial bootloader pre-loaded and a USB-to-TTL RS232 adaptor. This is it breadboarded and almost ready to connect to a video monitor, except I had unexpected problems with compiling the TV-OUT sketch (script, program) on my Linux workshop machine. It worked okay on Windows, so I'll need to investigate this further.
UPDATE - Got the AT328 programmed and running the TV Out demo sketch sucessfully.
I'm writing this post on a Scroll Essential 7" tablet running Android 4.0 and a neat little case/keyboard to speed up the typing. Total cost, under 100 GBP.