Feeds

Ghosts of Christmas Past: Ten tech treats from yesteryear

The kit we wanted but Santa never brought. Bastard.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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.

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Will.i.am gets CUFFED as he announces his new wristjob, the PULS
It's got four KILOWATTS of something, apparently
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
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...?
Jaguar Sportbrake: The chicken tikka masala of van-sized posh cars
Indian-owned Jag's latest offering curries favour with us
iPhone 6 shunned by fanbois in Apple's GREAT FAIL of CHINA
Just 100 Beijing fanbois queue to pick up new mobe
The Apple launch AS IT HAPPENED: Totally SERIOUS coverage, not for haters
Fandroids, Windows Phone fringe-oids – you wouldn't understand
Here's your chance to buy an ancient, working APPLE ONE
Warning: Likely to cost a lot even for a Mac
Is living with Dolby Atmos worth the faff?
Subtle, naturalistic ambiance – perfect for Transformers 4
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.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.