Feeds

Ghosts of Christmas Past: Ten tech treats from yesteryear

The kit we wanted but Santa never brought. Bastard.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Philips LaserVision VLP-700 (1982)

Reg Hardware retro numbers

One of the first UK players for the new LaserVision format – later to become LaserDisc – the 1982 VLP-700 has a remarkable resemblance to some of the Philips’ first top-loading CD players.

Launched with a catalogue of around 120 titles, the high price and limited range meant that – despite the vastly superior picture quality, which offered around double the number of lines of a VHS recording – the format never really took off outside Japan.

Philips LaserVision VLP-700

Source: Mike Bennett

Spinning at 1500rpm, a CAV (Constant Angular Velocity) disc stored one frame per track, allowing perfect pause and slow motion, albeit with only around 36 minutes of footage per side, compared to 55 for a CLV disc.

Later revisions added CD-style digital audio, dropped an analogue sound channel on NTSC discs for Dolby AC-3 surround sound, and eventually offered RGB output. Some players also rotated the laser to play side two, and even included teletext-compatible subtitles.

But none of that could really overcome the ease of use – or indeed the range of pr0n – offered by VHS and then DVD.

 

Sharp PC-1500 (1982)

Reg Hardware retro numbers

The ZX80 and ZX81 were small computers, but you still needed a TV set, so they were hardly mobile machines. The Osborne 1 was, though it was also a bulky beast. In 1982, Sharp's PC-1500 proved that small really could be beautiful.

This handheld computer was a mere 2.5cm thick, 20cm long and a little under 9cm deep. With a Qwerty keyboard, single-line pixel-addressable LCD and built in Basic programming, plus 2KB of RAM – make it last, you’re not getting any more for Christmas at these prices – it’s perhaps more akin to a programmable calculator than anything else, but at least you didn’t have to learn Reverse Polish to get things done.

Sharp PC-1500

Click for larger image

Expansion memory was available, together with a serial module, a printer and a cassette port for program storage – plus, of course, the obligatory warm leatherette carrying case.

Compact, clever, stylish: covetable, for sure – but really one for the rich kids to impress with, more than anything else.

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Don't wait for that big iPad, order a NEXUS 9 instead, industry little bird says
Google said to debut next big slab, Android L ahead of Apple event
Xperia Z3: Crikey, Sony – ANOTHER flagship phondleslab?
The Fourth Amendment... and it IS better
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
A drone of one's own: Reg buyers' guide for UAV fanciers
Hardware: Check. Software: Huh? Licence: Licence...?
The Apple launch AS IT HAPPENED: Totally SERIOUS coverage, not for haters
Fandroids, Windows Phone fringe-oids – you wouldn't understand
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
Here's your chance to buy an ancient, working APPLE ONE
Warning: Likely to cost a lot even for a Mac
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.