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Advancements in technologies made obsolete before they were perfected IOTL

Thande

Brexit Out Now, Funk Soul Brother
Published by SLP
#81
I've discovered the world of retro technology reviews on YouTube, send help already I'm thinking £250 to assemble your own component HiFi seems very reasonable.
You too, huh?

I think the problem with getting things like Laserdisc to catch on is that, for whatever reason, society in the 1950s-2000s included a fervent audiophile minority who (somehow) had sufficient disposable income to invest in more and more advanced hi-fi equipment, but the corresponding videophile group was much smaller. Nobody obsessed over setting up a home cinema and watching movies at home with the best quality setup possible and so on, or rather few people. My dad did know someone with a Laserdisc player and discs, but he got it when a department store in Doncaster had realised they weren't selling and sold off the players and discs very cheaply. At the time it was very technologically impressive, but not in a way that made people actually want to buy it.

Incidentally, those Youtube videos led to me discussing with another mate of my dad's about how he'd bought a home 8-track player (which didn't really catch on in the UK) but kept taking it back to the shop because it always worked in the showroom, but never at home. This is it (albeit his is in better condition) and don't the aesthetics strike you as having coming back around with modern Bluetooth speakers?

1547234950493.png
 

Artaxerxes

A song of dire emotes
#82
You too, huh?

I think the problem with getting things like Laserdisc to catch on is that, for whatever reason, society in the 1950s-2000s included a fervent audiophile minority who (somehow) had sufficient disposable income to invest in more and more advanced hi-fi equipment, but the corresponding videophile group was much smaller. Nobody obsessed over setting up a home cinema and watching movies at home with the best quality setup possible and so on, or rather few people. My dad did know someone with a Laserdisc player and discs, but he got it when a department store in Doncaster had realised they weren't selling and sold off the players and discs very cheaply. At the time it was very technologically impressive, but not in a way that made people actually want to buy it.

Incidentally, those Youtube videos led to me discussing with another mate of my dad's about how he'd bought a home 8-track player (which didn't really catch on in the UK) but kept taking it back to the shop because it always worked in the showroom, but never at home. This is it (albeit his is in better condition) and don't the aesthetics strike you as having coming back around with modern Bluetooth speakers?

View attachment 7953
If you look at 2001 it is basically where Apple stole its aesthetic and a lot of 50s and 60s sci fi is like that as well.

All white, and smooth with curves, and it just works.

Though if your like me you grumble over the works part because your used to more control to do things your way.
 

RyanF

Abbot of Unreason
Published by SLP
Location
Falkirk
#83
You too, huh?

I think the problem with getting things like Laserdisc to catch on is that, for whatever reason, society in the 1950s-2000s included a fervent audiophile minority who (somehow) had sufficient disposable income to invest in more and more advanced hi-fi equipment, but the corresponding videophile group was much smaller. Nobody obsessed over setting up a home cinema and watching movies at home with the best quality setup possible and so on, or rather few people. My dad did know someone with a Laserdisc player and discs, but he got it when a department store in Doncaster had realised they weren't selling and sold off the players and discs very cheaply. At the time it was very technologically impressive, but not in a way that made people actually want to buy it.
A good point, and unlike music where there was a culture of enjoying it at home with friends where there were attempts to make it the next best thing to hearing it live there wasn't the same number of people willing to do the same for films. Perhaps on the available technology in televisions there wasn't much of incentive to watch them on home video rather than television. And in the UK the potential for no adverts isn't much of an advertisement when there's two channels playing old films without adverts quite frequently.

Incidentally, those Youtube videos led to me discussing with another mate of my dad's about how he'd bought a home 8-track player (which didn't really catch on in the UK) but kept taking it back to the shop because it always worked in the showroom, but never at home. This is it (albeit his is in better condition) and don't the aesthetics strike you as having coming back around with modern Bluetooth speakers?
I see what you mean, need to chuck those switches of course. This has struck me as the biggest difference in appliances from decades gone past and the present. I know, I know touchscreens and such; but even where a device does have buttons they seem so much more flimsy. Just another aspect of planned obsolescence I suppose.
 

Thande

Brexit Out Now, Funk Soul Brother
Published by SLP
#84
A good point, and unlike music where there was a culture of enjoying it at home with friends where there were attempts to make it the next best thing to hearing it live there wasn't the same number of people willing to do the same for films. Perhaps on the available technology in televisions there wasn't much of incentive to watch them on home video rather than television. And in the UK the potential for no adverts isn't much of an advertisement when there's two channels playing old films without adverts quite frequently.
An important point (as pointed out on another of those Youtube channels) is that nobody bought a VCR (VHS or Betamax) with the intention of buying home movies, which were prohibitively expensive (and never really stopped being so). It was marketed almost exclusively as a time-shift device so you didn't miss the sports or the evening film when you were out. Video rental changed that a bit later, but for something like the first decade(?) of VCR proliferation, it would be pretty rare for people to go out and buy or rent a tape and come home and play it (unless perhaps if it was illicit material).

I see what you mean, need to chuck those switches of course. This has struck me as the biggest difference in appliances from decades gone past and the present. I know, I know touchscreens and such; but even where a device does have buttons they seem so much more flimsy. Just another aspect of planned obsolescence I suppose.
This also started with the soft-touch buttons thing in the 80s - at the time I suppose the idea was it seemed more civilised to not have to press hard on a control physically connected to a mechanical part. (Though it's interesting that all combination CD and cassette players all seem to have a second set of physical buttons for the tape rather than trying to do both with the same soft touch controls).
 

RyanF

Abbot of Unreason
Published by SLP
Location
Falkirk
#85
An important point (as pointed out on another of those Youtube channels) is that nobody bought a VCR (VHS or Betamax) with the intention of buying home movies, which were prohibitively expensive (and never really stopped being so). It was marketed almost exclusively as a time-shift device so you didn't miss the sports or the evening film when you were out. Video rental changed that a bit later, but for something like the first decade(?) of VCR proliferation, it would be pretty rare for people to go out and buy or rent a tape and come home and play it (unless perhaps if it was illicit material).
Yes, as mentioned I think the only way anything like LaserDisc could catch on is if they were somehow able to break into the rental market before videos. You'd need to format to be in a caddy though or something equally hardy, which goes back to it's initial development.

This also started with the soft-touch buttons thing in the 80s - at the time I suppose the idea was it seemed more civilised to not have to press hard on a control physically connected to a mechanical part. (Though it's interesting that all combination CD and cassette players all seem to have a second set of physical buttons for the tape rather than trying to do both with the same soft touch controls).
The decline of Western civilisation can be traced to the development of the soft touch button. What was perhaps seen as inconvenience might now be seen as offering more reliability and a tactile pleasure.

Amongst the many videos I have watched recently one described the Video High Density (or maybe it was CED) as having perhaps the most satisfying way of inserting and ejecting a home video format; the tactile and auditory sensation of inputting the large caddy and the beep to tell you it had extracted the disc. Then inserting the empty caddy afterwards to have it ejected. Another video from a different channel compared a VHS and Betamax VCR saying that the latter won out on the build of the device citing the button factor as well as the sprightly way the top loading machine offers it's loader - "It seems to say 'Good day, sir. May I take your video?' Whereas the VHS one pops up like a maniac screaming 'Just give me the video already!'"
 

Thande

Brexit Out Now, Funk Soul Brother
Published by SLP
#86
This is kind of the opposite of what this thread is asking for, but one fascinating thing I was just finding out about was that RCA wanted to make an LED flatscreen television as early as the 1970s, but was always stymied by how hard it is to make blue LEDs (to the point that the people who perfected them won a Nobel Prize for it in 2014).
 

RyanF

Abbot of Unreason
Published by SLP
Location
Falkirk
#87
Having further trawled the depths of YouTube I find myself wondering what if the component model of HiFi systems had caught on in other entertainment mediums.

I'm particularly thinking about games consoles here. In the early 90s it seemed like that was the direction things were going in with Sega releasing the Sega CD and Nintendo working on an equivalent with Sony that never panned out (for Nintendo that is, Sony did very well out of it).



Has to be said that both the Sega CD and 32x, along with most of the other accessories and peripherals, largely failed to make a dent in the market. Could it have been otherwise? The Sega CD was announced almost concurrently with the Sega Saturn, and many wondered why they should fork out the (considerable) cost for the former when the latter was just around the corner. Developers were of the same mindset, with precious few games released compatible with the Sega CD (and the 32X for that matter - both add-ons were hampered somewhat in performance by the bottleneck that was the existing consoles capabilities). If the development of the Saturn can be pushed back that might allow for the Sega CD to find it's footing.

What of Nintendo? If their deal with Sony went ahead then the Nintendo Playstation combining ROM cartridges and CD-Roms might have become a reality. Or perhaps with the success of the Sega CD the 64DD (Nintendo 64 Disc Drive) can make a breathrough?


What might this mean for 2019? Could the component model be kept up? Might I see before me a Nintendo console taking ROM cartridges, sitting atop a Sony/Nintendo disc drive, connected to a motion sensor, connected to a docking station for a handheld, connect to a charging station for controllers, connected to a separate hard drive, all connected up to a modem?
 

Thande

Brexit Out Now, Funk Soul Brother
Published by SLP
#88
Having further trawled the depths of YouTube I find myself wondering what if the component model of HiFi systems had caught on in other entertainment mediums.

I'm particularly thinking about games consoles here. In the early 90s it seemed like that was the direction things were going in with Sega releasing the Sega CD and Nintendo working on an equivalent with Sony that never panned out (for Nintendo that is, Sony did very well out of it).



Has to be said that both the Sega CD and 32x, along with most of the other accessories and peripherals, largely failed to make a dent in the market. Could it have been otherwise? The Sega CD was announced almost concurrently with the Sega Saturn, and many wondered why they should fork out the (considerable) cost for the former when the latter was just around the corner. Developers were of the same mindset, with precious few games released compatible with the Sega CD (and the 32X for that matter - both add-ons were hampered somewhat in performance by the bottleneck that was the existing consoles capabilities). If the development of the Saturn can be pushed back that might allow for the Sega CD to find it's footing.

What of Nintendo? If their deal with Sony went ahead then the Nintendo Playstation combining ROM cartridges and CD-Roms might have become a reality. Or perhaps with the success of the Sega CD the 64DD (Nintendo 64 Disc Drive) can make a breathrough?


What might this mean for 2019? Could the component model be kept up? Might I see before me a Nintendo console taking ROM cartridges, sitting atop a Sony/Nintendo disc drive, connected to a motion sensor, connected to a docking station for a handheld, connect to a charging station for controllers, connected to a separate hard drive, all connected up to a modem?
That's a very interesting comparison. It always struck me that the Sega model seemed a bit doomed for the reasons you mention, yet as you say, people were used to doing it for hi-fi and at the time would often turn up their noses at all-in-one models as being jacks of all trades and masters of none.
 

RyanF

Abbot of Unreason
Published by SLP
Location
Falkirk
#89
That's a very interesting comparison. It always struck me that the Sega model seemed a bit doomed for the reasons you mention, yet as you say, people were used to doing it for hi-fi and at the time would often turn up their noses at all-in-one models as being jacks of all trades and masters of none.
You've probably seen this video, but it mentions offhand how the first model of the Sega CD looks like a HiFi when combined with the Mega Drive.
And it really does, especially with the circular design on top looking like a top loading CD player, the volume control for headphones on the left, and the Compact Disc logo plastered on the front.


I think a combination of factors, not least of which the Nintendo/Sony deal falling through so the competition weren't doing that anymore, led to a lack of commitment to the Sega CD and later the Sega 32X. The entrant of a new player in the console world in the shape of Sony in some way compelled Sega to put all their eggs in the Saturn basket, and we all know how that turned out. Certainly Nintendo were still considering a component disc drive add-on for the N64 so the idea didn't completely disappear, but PlayStation was setting the standard now and they did not seem to have much interest in that sort of thing.

If the SNES-CD goes through then there might already be some buzz for the Sega CD in being another thing on which the two systems will be competing. With Sony's efforts focused on their hybrid console, Sega might still be looking to Nintendo as their main competition and going into the mid-90s more effort might be put into the Sega CD and 32X as transitional elements - with no PlayStation on the horizon and Nintendo presumably in no rush on their next console it's certainly possible some of the effort that went into rushing the Saturn out might go to the add-ons. By the time the next consoles do come the concept of component set-ups and transitional consoles would already be a thing rather than a historical curiosity.


Another possibility for a home component system is television/home cinema. Instead of having a set-top box, potentially with DVR, and a completely separate media player there could exist such a set-up these are broken down with the option to combine. I could have a set top box receiver for aerial, cable, or satellite; a separate DVR for timeshifting, a blu-ray or equivalent player, and even an amplifier feeding to speakers or a sound bar. Be difficult with the way Sky/Virgin etc. work in the UK to include a receiver and Sky leading the way with DVRs led to the idea of them being bundled with set top boxes becoming the norm, but it's a possible niche market that never developed. Even going back earlier there might have been cable set-top boxes in the 90s modular with VCRs, then once DVD players come in they might become another component as opposed to OTL where the notion was always to bundle both VHS and DVD into a single unit.