Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Electronic Home (circa 1988)

Ameritech's (late 1980s) concept video The Electronic Home envisions the futuristic world of HDTV and videophone, as well as internet-like services that allow you to make restaurant reservations (at a cartoonishly stereotypical Italian restaurant), shop for kimonos (because your shirt is made of giant playing cards), or buy a house (with your Atari joystick).

This rather primitive, closed-network system is not unlike the one we saw in the 1993 AT&T concept video, Connections. While I wasn't able to find a specific date for this video, it does use footage from the 1987 GTE concept video Classroom of the Future, so we'll call it "circa 1988" until we learn otherwise.

I'm not an expert on telecommunications law or history, so I can't give the necessary background information to understand Ameritech's motives in this video. But it's pretty clear this video was intended to influence people in power to let Ameritech (now AT&T Midwest) establish a communications network it didn't feel it was able to provide at the time. In other words, look it up and get back to me. I'm talking to you, media-tech nerds!

Previously on Paleo-Future:
Connections: AT&T's Vision of the Future (1993)
GTE's Classroom of the Future (1987)
Motorola's 2000 A.D. (1990)
Pacific Bell Concept Video (1991)
Flowers by Alice (1992)
Apple's Knowledge Navigator (1987)
Apple's Grey Flannel Navigator (1988)
Vision (Clip 1, 1993)
Vision (Clip 2, 1993)
Vision (Clip 3, 1993)
Starfire (1994)


Anonymous said...

really interesting! i enjoyed that one older man's insight about the importance of being able to use the application without knowing the science behind it. at one point in the video, the date 1989 pops up on the real estate program. maybe it's from 89?

Yaos said...

I like how unimaginative these people are. It will be TV, except with more interactivity. None of the people were even interested in what they were talking about. I also like how none of this stuff came to be, it's like they gave up once they heard about the Internet.

Just think how bad it would be if the Internet did not exist and all we had were multiple closed off systems that consisted of nothing but a few on demand videos with 24 point font next to it. This is angrying up my blood just thinking about it.

suctionhorse said...

This video and company behind it was actually very innovative! Most of this describes the modern internet search engine and high speed internet and cable service. I love the use of the Radio Shack joystick for navigation! LOL! I had one on my Radio Shack TRS-80 back in the early 80's. Good stuff!

Unknown said...

A lot of the screen mockups here look like Videotex / Minitel implementations. This similar to what the Prodigy Online Service used back in the late 80s (?) through the mid 90s, before they became an ISP. In fact, the Minitel service was introduced by France Télécom in 1982 in part to be an electronic phone book / Yellow Pages. When a user signed up and got a terminal - for free - he or she no longer received the white pages of the phone book (but still got a printed copy of the Yellow Pages.)

Unknown said...

They make the standard error that all these predictive works make: that the database of whatever - in this case real estate - would be controlled my some official body - in this case the "board of realtors" or whatever they called it. Others do the same, up to having everything controlled and accessed by the government.

alw said...

very interesting...

I think the video may pre-date the 1984 AT&T Divestiture, based on the discussion of regulations and Bellcore and Ameritech seem to be tightly integrated.

Also the use of a joystick indicates this may also be pre-Macintosh. Most people had never seen a mouse prior to the introduction of the Macintosh in 1984.

Anonymous said...

very intresting some thing some people can use.