AT&T's Cutting-Edge Computer Graphics Workstation Looked Outdated Even In 1982

Before the internet as we know it came to be, there were other services that delivered news and information to homes via computers and TVs. Like AT&T's failed Viewtron system, which required content creators to shell out $US34,000 for this Frame Creation Terminal that produced crude computer graphics even by Mario Paint standards.

For that much money — which would be equal to about $US81,000 today — the system at least included a drawing tablet which let artists work more naturally. Or as naturally as an artist can work when limited to simple shapes, minimal font options, and just a 16-shade colour palette. It's no wonder the results weren't exactly digital Rembrandts, and that AT&T wasn't able to entice enough consumers to keep the service fiscally viable for longer than just fous years. [AT&T Tech Channel]


Comments

    "AT&T"

    Well there's your explanation.

    No, I think that was pretty good for '82. The crudity is down to the artist and the time they spent on it, not the tools. The tools were indeed pretty limited, but even with what they had there you could have produced some pretty amazing stuff given time and an imaginative artist.

    Crude by mario paint standards yes. But mario paint came out over a decade later.

    This is quite decent by 1982 standards - the fact that it is even displaying in colour is quite decent by 82 standards!

    This article is rubbish and the author obviously knows jack about tech

    I have to ask, was Andrew Liszewski even alive in 1982, or even seen what most computer systems were capable of in that time period?

    For comparison, the commodore 64, the best selling home computer of all time, was released in 1982. It had a colour pallette of 16 colours, and a maximum resolution of 320x200 pixels, but at this resolution you couldn't have any more then 2 colours in an 8x8 pixel cell without using some tricky programming. The main reason for the limitations on colours and resolution were memory constraints. The Commodore 64 was named because it came with 64kB (65,536 bytes, or 1/16th of 1MB, or 1/16386 of 1GB) of RAM, which was a LOT for 1982, as RAM was incredibly expensive compared to how cheap it is today.

    Now, the Commodore 64 sold like hotcakes BECAUSE it had great graphics for the time - compared to some of the other machines, such as the Apple II series.

    Comparing it to Mario Paint? WTF? Are you serious? Even the Super Nindendo was a powerhouse compared to what was commonly available in 1982, not to mention costs had come down by a heck of a lot...

    Seriously, this has to be one of the worst articles I have ever seen here on gizmodo. For shame.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now