Another Propeller enthusiast made a pretty good write-up here:
How did the original 8-bit computers do it? Did they have access to chips that are no longer produced?
None of this required any truly unique parts (although the Signetics parts used in the Apple I are hard to find nowadays), but most hobbyists prefer something more modern than composite video. :)
Noise is a real issue -- but the main concern there is the CPU. Video generation isn't unusually noisy.
Unless you’re this guy
But seriously, you’re totally right.
Seriously though, as amusing as they are, and as much programming as I did on a 16 line by 64 character "terminal" screen, I really could never go back to that. For grins I set up an xterm that way just to experience it and yeah, it still hurts. A lot. Even the 80 character by 25 line experience (although tolerable for many things) feels so very cramped these days.
...or a VT100 main-board:
80% of these boards are "the graphics part." Dozens of chips! This is what the sibling commenters mean when they're saying that the video signal is "discrete logic" (as opposed to integrated logic.)
It'd be a bit of an ask to have a hobbyist build one of those themselves (adding an 800% complexity increase to what is otherwise a very approachable hobby project.)
I don't think the particular shift registers etc are still available but it is still possible to do it with discrete logic these days
I guess different projects have different focus and some probably don't care too much how they get video as long as it works. I've built discrete and CPLD based video circuits for my own 6502 project which is fun but took months to get working perfectly
I'm in the early stages of planning a Z80-based system. I hadn't really considered video, just serial-console I/O. Currently I'm using an arduino to emulate RAM and I/O. I'm at a stage where I can run simple programs, and have a working BASIC interpreter running on the processor.
The next step will be wiring up real RAM/ROM, along with serial I/O, making the system completely standalone.
If I ordered an Apple II replica I'd expect an apple II case and keyboard which might present IP and manufacturing issues.
Do kids want to do this? Is this mainly for geeky adults.
I’ve done a lot of retro gaming projects with my kids because I get some nostalgia, they learn how to make things, and we all get to play some games at the end. It’s fun for everyone.