How do digital logic IC's output to a TV?

I was re-reading Walter Isaacson's book "The Innovators" this weekend, and was reading about the invention of Pong by Atari. From everything I've read, it was built using only digital logic circuits and zero programming. I also remember reading something from Steve Wozniak's autobiography how he realized he could "rapidly spin" 1's and 0's in a chip and make color output to his TV.

How does a microchip, with no traditional (modern sense of the word) programming, output text and rudimentary graphics to a television?

Looking for a nice, detailed explanation if someone has the time, or can point me to a good resource (tried googling for a while, couldn't find what I was looking for).

Thanks!

osmosis311:
From everything I've read, it was built using only digital logic circuits and zero programming.

Ridiculous. The Atari 2600 had a MOS Technology 6507 CPU 1.19MHz 8-bit processor. There was definitely code to run it as does every other major peripheral that connects to a TV (such as a game console).

http://www.pong-story.com/LAWN_TENNIS.pdf

Pong (1972) pre-dates the Atari2600 (1977) by quite a few years, and indeed it was implemented without computer chips.
There was a pong project that includes some explanations for how it works in Popular Electronics magazine (April 1976)

It somewhat assumes that you have a bit of understanding about how TVs work.
For that, I recommend Don Lancaster's "TV Typewriter Cookbook", which is Downloadable from his site It's a whole book about building a computer terminal, including keyboard, video, communications, and etc. Before microprocessors were cheap enough to use for that sort of thing...

osmosis311:
Looking for a nice, detailed explanation if someone has the time, or can point me to a good resource (tried googling for a while, couldn't find what I was looking for).

You do need to understand how analogue TVs work first.

A detailed explanation is unlikely, given the amount of time it would take, unless your paying of course.

I did build a colour graphics controller out of digital logic chips around 1980ish. It was for work, they wanted a colour graphics screen for an amusement machine. It was about the time that discrete graphic controller chips started to become available.

westfw:
There was a pong project that includes some explanations for how it works in Popular Electronics magazine (April 1976)

For that, I recommend Don Lancaster's "TV Typewriter Cookbook", which is Downloadable from his site It's a whole book about building a computer terminal, including keyboard, video, communications, and etc.

Thank you! These are exactly what I was looking for!