Talk:Home computer

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IBM PC really no home computer[edit]

"The list below shows the more popular and/or historically significant home/personal computers (and computer ranges) of the 1980s and their initial year of release." and you've removed the IBM PC. WTF? -Tagishsimon

The original PC (incl PC-XT, PC-AT) was no home computer; for that its price point was set far too high for the absolute majority of consumers. And the PCjr was a flop, so neither does that machine warrant a mention in this article. I therefore removed the PC image (misleading for illustrating the category 'home computers') as well as its list entry in ==Notable home computers==. Not until the advent of consumer-friendly priced PC clones in the (mid-to-)late 1980s were PCs particularly relevant as home computers. BTW, another illustration should be found. --Wernher 00:15, 8 May 2004 (UTC)
Is that evidence-based or your POV? --Tagishsimon
Thanks for your trust in my seriousness. ;-\ :-) It is quite evident from historical sources that the PC was priced to be, and indeed intended as, a business tool; the word 'Personal' was more an indicator of IBM's perceived market segment in the business world (i.e. single business employees/executives wanting to have the advantage of their own local spreadsheet/word processing tool) rather than the sense of ordinary people using it at home. And lo and behold, because IBM wanted in on the home market, they launched the PCjr.
That said, one should perhaps write something in the article about the distinction between home computers and business-oriented personal computers... --Wernher 00:27, 8 May 2004 (UTC)
In fact, such an indication was already in place in the intro text, but I tacked on a mild disclaimer regarding the PC and its many offspring, just in case. --Wernher 01:22, 8 May 2004 (UTC)
You know what the old IBM PCs are good at these days? Being boat anchors. --Robo-Jesus
Keep in mind that the standard config for a original IBM PC was more like a home computer, however. It have no floppy, only casette tape, and have CGA graphics.
It was a home computer, at least it intended to be one. They were just so expensive to make in the USA, and they were "built like a tank." To keep IBM from loosing money (Which they did. Alot!), they had to sell them at really high prices that only businesses could afford.
My conclusion, put it back on the list, but give a brief description on what I said. 03:49, 17 July 2006 (UTC) Alexzero77
My conclusion - i took it out again. the IBM PC and the Macintosh 128k have no place in a list of home computers, end. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 69.125.110.223 (talk) 18:38, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Computer list needs to be concise[edit]

Just to give a rationale for my revert of User:65.87.129.55's recent modifications to the "Notable home computers" list: the list is meant as a quick reference to the most common/notable home computers, and, as such, does not need to give more that a bare essence of characteristics of each machine. The interested reader will get the details by visiting the articles. --Wernher 00:48, 4 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Follow-up regarding my pruning of the computer list of 25 Sep 2005 (check the diff to see the removals) :

I boldly commented out all the previously listed Japanese computers except the MSX, which was marketed more or less worldwide, and had some popularity outside its home market, especially in certain countries. It also represented the novel concept, in home computing, of attempting to establish a cross-vendor standard platform for several manufacturers to adopt (the latter presumably having to pay royalties to MS & ASCII).

If there are weighty reasons to reinstate one or more of the other Japanese computers into the list, arguments should be held forward for that case. One point might be that the Japanese home market is quite large (125m+ people), and as such should count more than smaller single countries. However, there is also a large number of home computers made in the more-populated U.S. which have not been included. --Wernher 16:15, 25 September 2005 (UTC)

Odyssey entry should be restored[edit]

I think that the Odyssey entry should be restored. Just by being the first attempt at a home gaming device it owns its place on the notable consoles list. And I did also disagree with the editor when he said it was "too early to have an impact". It was indeed because it was a very early release that the Odyssey had any impact after all. It was a key factor for the development of the video-game industry, and had great impact in the development of the Atari system, mainly because of patents owned by Magnavox due to it´s early realease of the Odyssey. Loudenvier 08:30, 24 October 2005 (UTC)

OK, well argued; I take your point. See my recent reinstatement of the Odyssey item. --Wernher 17:03, 24 October 2005 (UTC)
I´ve added a little more on patent info. It´s still concise. I thought it would be good "instant" information to show on the entry that patents affected such ones as Mattel, Nintendo, etc. By the way I´m not interested in Odyssey, I´ve never saw one. I was born in 1976, and I did not even knew of its existence (I´ve played an Odyssey2 in the 80´s, but that´s another story). But since I´m interested in retrogamming (I was a game developer for the MSX, here in Brazil) and computer and console history, I think that everything that seems important to the industry should be present in wikipedia.

Apple ][ really no home-computer either? (perhaps we should (de)promote IBM-PC to home-computer too)[edit]

Quoting Apple II article:

  • The Apple II was one of the most popular personal computers of the 1980s
  • The original retail price was $1298 with 4KB of RAM and $2638 with 48KB of RAM.
  • The Apple II was the first computer that most people had ever seen, and it was affordable for middle-class families. Its popularity enabled the entire computer game market; the educational software market; a boom in the word processor and computer printer market; and the absolute "killer app" for business: VisiCalc, the first spreadsheet. VisiCalc alone sold many Apple II's to many business people. On the other hand, the success in the home market inspired the creation of many other inexpensive home computers such as the VIC-20 (1980) and Commodore 64 (1982), which through their significantly lower price point introduced computers to several million more home users (grabbing some of Apple's market share in the process).

Quoting IBM-PC article:

  • Although not cheap, at a base price of $1,565 it was affordable for businesses

I think that the Apple II only had any impact in the home-computing area because there were no other options at it´s time. When the PC was realeased, although techically supperior and around the same price range, there were lot´s of other actual home-computers on the market. The IBM-PC was affordable for the middle-class, it was only not worth it. I think there should be some clarification on this matter in the article. It´s my opinion that the Apple II was a personnal computer that happened to have some impact in the home computer scene (or that it even helped starting it). It was not a home-computer per se. Loudenvier 15:17, 25 October 2005 (UTC)

The Apple ][ had a major impact for three reasons: it had a color screen, it had expansion slots, and it had a low cost disk drive. Anarchist42 20:53, 25 March 2006 (UTC)

The TRS-80 which was priced at $595 and had the most number of software titles available till 1980. Alatari 20:48, 27 July 2007 (UTC)

TRS-80 and Atari 400/800[edit]

It's odd that the TRS-80 which was priced at $595 and sold 100k units and was the most successful machine from 1977 to 1981 only being seriously competed with by Atari sales is neglected in these articles. The success of the Apple ][ marketing program to schools and the number of children growing up with them seems to have paid off. Alatari 20:45, 27 July 2007 (UTC)

Reason for the blanking[edit]

Remember the replacement of the whole article with just one sentence? That was because I took "Home computer" literally.

Time frames[edit]

From what I understand you say the apple II is the first home computer in 1977. On the "history of computing hardware" they say "The MITS Altair, the first home computer, was featured on the cover of Popular Electronics for January 1975. It was the world's first mass-produced personal computer kit"

I'm not sure if this is due to a disagreement in what a home computer is. I thought it should be highlighted though.

Thanks

MarkeyC

Outright Mediocrity[edit]

Tnis article needs a complete re-write . —Preceding unsigned comment added by 62.1.227.70 (talkcontribs)

Thanks for the input. What, exactly, is wrong with it? — Frecklefoot | Talk 15:11, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

Article seems outdated[edit]

The current text of the article could have been written in the early 90's. There doesn't appear to be any information on the last two decades of computing. Is there a reason for such omissions? --Android Mouse 05:17, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

Since home computers were a phenomenon of the late 80s, there are no omissions since "the last two decades of computing" only concern personal computers. Anarchist42 18:29, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
I didn't believe there was a distinction between the two. From the Personal computer article, "Personal computers are also known as microcomputers and home computers." Perhaps a merge is in order? Or a more appropriate distinction between the two? --Android Mouse 18:54, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
There is a big difference between the two and the articles should not be merged. Better naming could help, however. Most people don't know that home computers were home PCs from the '70s to the early '90s. — Frecklefσσt | Talk 19:57, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
So what is the actual difference between a home computer and a personal computer? From the Home computer article: "They are also known as personal computers." Both articles seem to indicate the terms are equivalent. --Android Mouse 20:02, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
If we define the Personal Computer without regard to price or portability but which has resources dedicated to a single user then the two articles would deviate significantly. Where do you suggest we take the definitions of 'Home Computer' and 'Personal Computer' from? Alatari 21:05, 27 July 2007 (UTC)
From everything I've read, Personal Computer is defined with regards to price and portability[1]. I'd personally like to see some citation or reference indicating that the terms actually have different meanings and feel the articles should state the difference(s) more clearly. The last sentence of the lead section basically states that the terms are essentially the same and only a matter of preferance:
"Use of the term "home computer" largely died out at the end of the decade (in the U.S.) or in the early 1990s (in Europe). This was due to the rise of the IBM PC compatible personal computer (the IBM PC and its clones are not covered in this article), and the consequent preference for the term "PC" rather than "home computer.""
--Android Mouse 21:33, 27 July 2007 (UTC)
Some of the early meanings of 'Personal Computer' were akin to Leela's wrist computer. Casio tried to define it with their Casio PB-80/100[2]. Where do you get your information of the usage of 'home computer' being dead. I still call this computer a home computer to differentiate from the one I have at work. And I'm not alone... I need to figure out who put that last comment into the article. It probably should be struck. Alatari 21:42, 27 July 2007 (UTC)
>>Where do you get your information of the usage of 'home computer' being dead.
The lead section of the article. --Android Mouse 21:48, 27 July 2007 (UTC)
I'll strike that section. People calling their computers 'microcomputer' is rare and maybe on;y us older people use that term but home computer seems to be alive and well. I'll research this further. Combining the 3 articles Microcomputer, Home Computer and Personal Computer will be major endeavor and not sure it's worth it. Alatari 22:30, 27 July 2007 (UTC)
I'm not doubting it will be a major endeavor, but I think in the long run it will be worth it. Having multiple articles on the same subject is a duplication of efforts at best. --Android Mouse 23:57, 27 July 2007 (UTC)


the three terms are very different and no merge should happen. Microcomputer = Altai, IMSAI, pre 1977. Home computer = C64, Atari 800XL, ST, Amiga, 1977-1989, Personal Computer = Wintel, Mac, 1989- —Preceding unsigned comment added by 69.125.110.223 (talk) 18:44, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
You could say that a home computer is a personal microcomputer marketed to home users. And you'd be right. You couldn't have a home computer or low-cost personal computer unless it was a microcomputer. The terms overlap. Debate. Show your work. Only write on one side of the paper. --Wtshymanski (talk) 17:17, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
the terms become more precise. narrower definitions override broader ones and excise meaning out of the preexisting matrix —Preceding unsigned comment added by 69.125.110.223 (talk) 17:54, 19 May 2008 (UTC)

Home Computer's 'death'[edit]

It is very unclear that the usage of the term 'Home Computer' is dead. I still use it to refer to the machine not at work and I don't mean the game console or the laptop. I mean the desktop personal computer. It is possible once computers start controlling the house as in Eureka's sheriff's bunker the 'Home Computer' article will take on new meaning. Pulled: (Use of the term "home computer" largely died out at the end of the decade (in the U.S.) or in the early 1990s (in Europe). This was due to the rise of the IBM PC compatible personal computer (the IBM PC and its clones are not covered in this article), and the consequent preference for the term "PC" rather than "home computer." ) Alatari 22:37, 27 July 2007 (UTC)

Merge with Personal computer article[edit]

I'm proposing this article be merged with the personal computer article. I haven't seen a citation that clearly distinguishes between the two terms. If you do believe there is a clear distinction then please provide a citation-- as currently both articles indicate the terms are interchangeable. --Android Mouse 06:08, 6 August 2007 (UTC)

Oppose: The term home computer refers to consumer computers of the early era, from the late 1970s to the early 1990s. The term personal computer (often abbreviated PC) refers to current-era computers. The term "home computer" has fallen out of wide use because PCs are widely used in homes and at places of business. If this isn't clear in the article, portions should be re-written to make this distinction clear. — Frecklefσσt | Talk 12:59, 6 August 2007 (UTC)
Also Oppose. There was a decided split in marketing between the Atari/Commodore/Timex type machines and the expandable desktop computers which typically cost a decimal order of magnitude more. True, very many people used IBM PC, XT type machines as "home computers" but these had far more capabilities than the typical 6502 hooked up to the family TV. The "home computer" segment only disappeared when the business-type machines finally got really cheap, too; while you could easily build a "home computer" type machine to sell for around $100, there's no more reason to do so (no money to be made!)--Wtshymanski 14:49, 6 August 2007 (UTC)
Oppose: as stated above, home computers are historic, whereas personal computers are contemporary. Anarchist42 17:21, 6 August 2007 (UTC)

The problem is, the personal computer article essentially covers everything in the home computer article but more. I'll also point out again the Home computer article states "They are also known as personal computers." The fact that the term 'home computer' has largely fallen out of use and been replaced by the term pc indicates that there is little difference between them. --Android Mouse 18:25, 6 August 2007 (UTC)

Oppose: Of course the term home computer has dropped out use, the low end home computers have been replaced by the low cost IBM Personal Computer descendant. That doesn't change the history of the 1970s and 1980s. -- SWTPC6800 03:02, 7 August 2007 (UTC)
So why does the personal computer article cover the history of the 1970s and 1980s? If the articles remain seperate, wouldn't it make more sense to have the personal computer article not cover the pre IBM PC era beyond a brief summary? Gutting the majority of the "Computers at home" section in the PC article and adding the {{main|Home computer}} template to that section would make the distinction between the two more clear. The "Pre-IBM-PC personal business computer systems" section in the PC article also seems out of place if the articles remain seperate. --Android Mouse 03:46, 7 August 2007 (UTC)
Of course the 'pedia shouldn't have redundant information when possible. The best way to avoid this is by having brief descriptions and links to main articles as you describe. The information from the "computers at home" should probably be merged into this article and the text in that article be shortened to a brief overview with the template directing readers to this article. But the two articles, in their entirety, should not be merged.
Also, I find it disturbing that the articles say that "home computers" are sometimes called "personal computers". We just stated above that they are not the same thing. Let's get our terminology right and get it in the articles. Just my $.02... — Frecklefσσt | Talk 14:16, 7 August 2007 (UTC)
That sounds good. Consistency is key. I'll move down the merge tag to the "computers at home section". --Android Mouse 18:42, 7 August 2007 (UTC)
Actually, you just did the opposite of what I suggested. I said the information from the personal computer article should be merged into this one. You did it the other way around. But we should clarify that "home computer" means something distinct from "personal computer". They are often used interchangeably. But we need to clarify that when we talk about "home computer", we mean something very specific. — Frecklefσσt | Talk 19:38, 7 August 2007 (UTC)
>>I said the information from the personal computer article should be merged into this one.
Which is why I removed the merge tag from the Home comptuer article and moved the tag down to the "Computers at home" section in the PC article. --Android Mouse 19:50, 7 August 2007 (UTC)
The way the tag is worded, it makes it sound like you want to merge the home computer contents into the "Computers at home" section: It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Home computer. It's worded ambiguously. My bad, I guess, for jumping to conclusions. But the tag's wording isn't exactly clear. — Frecklefσσt | Talk 20:08, 7 August 2007 (UTC)
Oppose Like I stated above the term 'Home Computer' is soon to be changing as a machine which controls the functions within a home. 'Personal computer's are ones that can go with a person anywhere. Merging the two articles would create a great deal of future editing hassles. We need to just clarify that the terms have been interchangeable in the past. Alatari 13:10, 8 August 2007 (UTC)
What's your opinion of the partial merge idea as outlined in the last few comments above yours? --Android Mouse 23:03, 8 August 2007 (UTC)
I'd like to see all the history in the articles updated into Timeline of computing disambiged by decades and smaller increments into the 1990's and later for the sheer number of innovations. The section in Personal Computer on Computers in the Home does seem to fit in with Home Computer article although the sections about the DataPoint 2200 and various items from the Blinken lights timeline do belong in the Personal Computer History. The later sections which refer to PDA's Tablets, Desktops, etc. those are all personal computer devices and should be the article's focus. Whereas all the information on the 1960's and 70's machines could be pushed to the individual machines' articles to avoid making the Personal Computer article seem outdated and archaic.
BTW, I don't understand how to fix the timeline template to make it more readable. Anyone direct me to resources on picking it apart would be thanked heartily. Alatari 10:17, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
If these terms mean anything at all, then "home computers" are a subset of "personal computers". The "home computer" of the '70s and '80s was not an MS DOS computer or PC-Clone, often had better graphics and sound than "office" personal computers of the period, had much less expandability, no networking, and was slightly differentiated from a dedicated "game console" by having some kind of readily user-accessible programming (short of burning EPROMs) (at least an alphanumeric keyboard), mass storage and printing capabilities, which a game console would not have. Still deserves to be two separate articles - put the PDAs and such in with "personal computer" but the "home computer" phenomenon deserves recognition - there's umpety-million Commodore 64s still showing up at garage sales today. Tons of overlap on all sides, of course- there was business software written for C64s and lots of people played games on XTs at home (and at work) - but as a class, the "home computer" was a distinctive type of hardware and market - aimed (I suspect) at parents who were supposed to think that the kids needed a computer at home, but who could not afford to buy an XT. The "personal computer" article *must* include background at least back into the 1960s precisely because the generation born since 1981 think IBM invented the personal computer. They gotta know the context! You can get a catalog of the newest gigahertz toys off any news stand - that's trivial and rapidly obsolete anyway - but historical context is rare and the ideal thing for Wikipedia to document. --Wtshymanski 18:30, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
Support I mainly support the merge because there is a gradual evolution of computers since they were introduced as consumer items. Even looking back, drawing a distinction is hard. Was the Mac significantly different from the Apple II? Was the Apple II different from a Commodore 64? Yes, some used TVs, not monitors, and some used tapes for storage, but monitors and TVs are again becoming interchangeable, and tapes are still used for backup (interestingly, due to price, the same reason they were used in the 80s). Reading through the Home computer article, it's mostly lists, not actual content, so that alone suggests we merge and link to lists. At the very least, the term "Home computer" isn't specific enough for the article. 100% OR, but I think most people would think their PC is certainly a "Home computer." Someone above claimed there was a distinction between the two. Please cite a source. While it isn't the OED, Websters treats them as synonyms[3]. 69.12.143.197 01:33, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
But at different times "home computer" has meant different things. If it was hooked up to the family TV and a cassette recorder, that is quite a different entity than a Wintel box that Junior does his homework on. --Wtshymanski 19:19, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
Oppose The home computer was a cultural phenomenon of the late 1970s and the 1980s. It was not the same thing as the PC/Mac we take for granted today. Clean up if needed, but keep the article. Scolaire 12:31, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
Comment Could someone state the difference between the two and find a source for it?69.12.143.197 16:43, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
Why is this so hard? Home computer is use in the home Home Computer and possibly will be a new synonym for domotic computers Domotic Computer and personal computers include devices that can be taken anywhere and is expanding to include cell phones, PDAs, etc Personal Computer Def. #3 Alatari 02:45, 23 August 2007 (UTC)
But if you happen to have a VAX 750 at home, that doesn't make it a "home computer" either. More than one VAX is living out its declining years in some enthusiast's basement but they were NEVER intended as a "home computer". Walking on my hands doesn't make my mittens boots, either. --Wtshymanski 19:19, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

Merge with History of computing hardware (1960s-present)[edit]

Merge with History of computing hardware (1960s-present). This article mainly discusses the history of a particular era of computers (70's - 80's), vs. the concept of a home computer. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Cander0000 (talkcontribs) 04:12, August 21, 2007 (UTC).

Oppose The home computer was a cultural phenomenon of the late 1970s and the 1980s. It was not the same thing as the PC/Mac we take for granted today. Clean up if needed, but keep the article. Scolaire 12:31, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
Question: Why are there two merge debates going on simultaneously? Scolaire 12:31, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
Because more than two articles can be merged? The history article can be an overview with references to the various segments. --Wtshymanski 19:23, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
Strongly Oppose - the home computer phenomenon deserves its own article. Think of all those terrified parents out there turning to William Shatner and Bill Cosby to get advice on educating their children. Computers used to be the wave of the future, don't you know? --Wtshymanski 19:23, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
Taking off the tag - it's been weeks. --Wtshymanski 18:49, 20 September 2007 (UTC)

What I mean by a home computer[edit]

Here's what I think this article should be describing:

A personal microcomputer that:

  • Must have a low first cost (i.e., less than a $1795 Osborne or Mac).
  • Works (or can work) with a TV as output - this means 40 col text, usually.
  • Usually color pixel-addressable graphics.
  • Sound, usually more than a single square wave beeper.
  • Often a joystick interface.
  • Often uses cassette tape (only) for mass storage.
  • Optional expandability for things like floppy disks or better video.
  • Might have a ROM cartridge slot.
  • Must have an alphanumeric keyboard.
  • Must have some user programmability short of taking out the soldering iron and EPROM burner (usually some stunted version of BASIC), usually a ROM BASIC, sometimes a cartridge.
  • Sold to consumers with some notion of educational use, some game playing, recreational programming, personal productivity (of the checkbook-balancing, letters-to-Grandma, homework assignment, recipie box replacment, church group mailing list level).
  • Must have both games and word processors available as software.

Some instances:

  • VIC 20 or Commodore 64 - Heck, yes. If I had to pick a definition it would BE the C64. Though there was a business-targeted suitcase portable C 64.
  • Osborne 1 - Definitely not. No graphics, no TV output (usually), no sound, way too costly ($1795 at introduction). Yes, you could use it at home. You can also use a VAX at home if you have room for it.
  • IBM PC - Not really, even with a CGA card. Too costly.
  • IBM PC Jr - Would have been (a successful home computer), at about half the price. Certainly addressed at the home market. And you can take disks to the office and use them!
  • Commodore Amiga - Way more capable than a C64 - but the price point was eventually there. Just as some homes are nicer than mine, some home computers are much nicer than mine.
  • Anything with Microsoft Windows - Sorry, that's what *replaced* the home computer.

It's not crisply defined so discussions as to if the Binford 6100 was or was not a "home computer" are profitless. But there were tens of millions of these things sold so it's an important bit of computing history. Don't merge! --Wtshymanski 19:45, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

General guidelines are good, but how are you differentiating Home Computers from PCs? 171.71.37.207 20:40, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure you can. How is it useful to make the distinction? A home computer is by any reasonable definition a "personal computer" in the sense that a person can afford to buy it and it is used by one individual at a time. All home computers that meet most of my criteria above are "personal computers", too. The IBM PC wasn't really targeted at the "home computer" market since it was too costly, although like the Commodore 64 it could be configured with composite video output and a cassette recorder. There were some time-sharing experiments back in the '60s where the happy homeowner would use a Teletype terminal to dial-up a "shared" mainframe system; that would be about the only case I could dream up of a "home" computer (in the sense of being used by people for non-business, household uses, even if it was located miles away in an air-conditioned dinosaur pen) that wasn't a "personal" computer. --Wtshymanski 00:07, 28 August 2007 (UTC)
these guidelines are good ones, but I think three others are even more important to define a true home computer
  • The availability of a BASIC interpreter as standard, included with every system. So the user could start learning to program immediately.
  • A strong design effort to optimize the computers video and sound capabilities, especially for the support of video games or other entertainment purposes.
  • Geared toward connection to a TV set (using a composite video or RF output) rather than to an expensive dedicated monitor. So the user did not have to buy a monitor but could use his home TV.
Mahjongg 14:27, 20 September 2007 (UTC)
Exactly. If you were thinking of a stereotypical home computer of this period, it would have BASIC and be hooked up to a TV set, and would have some kind of color graphics and sound. Of course, always with minor exceptions - there was at least one home computer marketed with FORTH in ROM, for instance, and I don't doubt there were other minor variants. Anyone born since 1981 has no idea how pervasive these were in the late '80s and early '90s - your child was going to be a hobo if you didn't buy Cosby's or Shatner's box, which was much cheaper than the IBM PC sitting on Dad's desktop in the office. --Wtshymanski 18:49, 20 September 2007 (UTC)
I'd also add 'incompatible with everything else' to the list. I don't think anyone who wasn't THERE realizes how segmented everything was back then. Each 'platform' was its own world. We didn't even have the concept of a platform because every make of computer was necessarily incompatible with every other make - that was just the nature of computers... if a computer was 'compatible' that meant IBM. Business computer, no games. Yawn.

Premature FA nomination[edit]

How can an article be seriously considered for FA if it has no references? Get the references in first, *then* nominate for FA. FA status is supposed to indicate some of Wikipedia's best work. --Wtshymanski (talk) 17:53, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

This was indeed a premature FAC nomination; I have archived it at Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Home computer/archive1. A better first step would be peer review. Good luck! Maralia (talk) 20:47, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

Personally I would be disgusted if this article was ever a featured article - the entire premise is flawed. A home computer is a machine sold with the home user in mind - a modern PC fits the bill. You don't start adding fluffy characteristics onto the definition to force the definition to fit your idea of what a home computer should be. "Early home computers" or "vintage home computers" maybe, but this article is not about home computers. CrispMuncher (talk) 21:10, 14 September 2008 (UTC)
That is -your- definition, maybe you are too young to remember but there was a time when nobody would confuse a Wintel PC with a home computer, and -everybody- knew what a home computer was, and it wasn't just a "computer that was sold with the home user in mind", but had a clearly defined meaning, the same meaning this article carries. The later misuse of the term for PC's is an anomaly at best, almost nobody uses the term, as its still gives people the impression you are talking about a Commodore 64, that or a Home automation system, lets use the generally accepted meaning for this term, not the misused meaning that now very rarely is used. Computers for personal use (at home or anywhere else), are Personal Computers. Not "home computers". Mahjongg (talk) 01:01, 15 September 2008 (UTC)
No. I remember these machines clearly, starting with the Altair. If you look at contemporary attitudes to these machines it bears little resemblance to what is being asserted here. Now consider the Mega PC - would you honestly suggest that that was not a home computer? But it doesn't fit in with the definition presented here. What about just about any modern machine that is bundled with a 5.1 speaker setup? On the flip side the Amstrad PCW series and to a lesser extent the BBC were never aimed squarely at the home market, but they have much in common with these machines. I don't doubt people's enthusiasm for these machines of a certain era, indeed I occasionally pull out my Altair or one of my Spectrums even today - they each have a certain charm. And yes, they do have fundamental differences with Wintel machines - Wintel is after all a single platform and you will notice similar differences comparing them to Alphas, Sparcs or whatever.
Do not misplace enthusiasm and nostalgia with the existence of a clearly defined category. It is not acceptable to draw up an artificial drawbridge to only include the machines that are of interest to a particular community if no other clear dividing line exists. The dividing line here is the subject of debate on this very page - the motivation is clearly to find a definition that includes the machines that a certain community feel should be included while excluding machines that same community do not feel fit. That is inherently POV and has no place in an encyclopedia.
As a final note, consider a web search for "home computer". The results you get are PCs aimed at the home market. That isn't a "misused meaning that now very rarely is used" - it is prevalent, and that meaning has now had currency for longer than the entire "home computer" era. CrispMuncher (talk) 18:25, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
I did a web search for "home computer", before I even made my first reply, just to check if I was "too nostalgic" in my thinking, the first five entries were for "eighties home-computers", the kind this article is about, and the sixth was for a home automation computer. In fact all other entries up-to the 19th entry were for either real (classical) home-computers, of for security systems. Yes the term is sometimes used for PC's, but I still think that most people first think about the older systems when the term "home-computer" is used, not at a PC for home use. Most people will still simply use the term PC for a modern computer that is used at home, the term "home-computer" is certainly not prevalent over PC's, and if a PC is designed specifically for home use, it is mostly marketed as a "media center PC". So if the choice must be made to contribute the title home-computer to either classic home computers or PC's I still think the title should go to classic home-computers, not to PC's. The term has historical importance, and you simply cannot claim that it hasn't, and that we are just "adding fluffy characteristics onto the definition". That the term, as time went on and home computers started to acquire "PC like" facets, became more difficult to define, as the dividing line between home-computers began to blur, does not mean that for a decade or so the term was perfectly understood, and had a much higher level of importance to the people that used the term then, than the same term that is used now to describe something differently. The modern term of home computer is much less important than the classic term. Mahjongg (talk) 00:27, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
I think the article is only necessary and useful if it talks about the origins of the lunatic idea that a consumer could actually use a computer in his or her home. Anything talking about the waves of Windows boxes you can pick up today is going to be dull. It's a bit like talking about the "personal automobile" - the Model T was a revolution, but the 2009 Ford Focus is just another car. There are better venues than an encyclopedia for reviewing this week's crop of hot new video boards. That sort of information is ephemeral and isn't significant to anyone except on the brutally low level of "Will this card run this particular game ?" Why did anyone think people needed a computer in the home? What were the limitations of home computers? What was the great video game bust and how did that affect consumer acceptance? How did the availability of cheap home computers actually affect people's lives? Was the home computer successful in spreading computer literacy? Brute facts we can get from Google, we need analysis. I wish I could find some good scholarly writing on this. For example, I've been re-reading my old BYTEs and it's amazing how little thought was given to what it all meant, especially after BYTE evolved into "We review the hot new Windows compatible mouse-pads" type of magazine. It's a kick watching old '60s TV and films and seeing the tape reels going around...nobody identifies tape reels with computers any more. An encyclopedia needs more perspective than "Computer Shopper". --Wtshymanski (talk) 17:32, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I wholeheartedly agree with your sentiment, it would be an absolute shame if this article was just about PC's that are marketed for home use. I also still think that if they do use the term for that use they are trying to cash in with old sentiments that still surround the concept of a "home computer". The same reason why "Commodore" as a brand name still exists. It's a good idea to delve deeper into the psychology of the phenomenon of the "home computer". As a side-note, I have an extensive Library of old computer magazines, and still have all the copies of Byte Magazine from Volume 2 no1 (the fist one that was Published in the Netherlands) to the very last one, and also have many copies of other US and British magazines, like "creative computing". I also was pained how Byte magazine detoriated from a Technical magazine to a "Windows magazine" type of magazine. Reading these old magazines is indeed very special. Mahjongg (talk) 18:20, 28 September 2008 (UTC)

Unclear sentence[edit]

I removed this sentence from the article:

In Europe the British made systems like the BBC Micro, Sinclair's ZX81 and Spectrum, and the Amstrad/Schneider CPC were much more popular than in the USA, Only surpassed by the C64.

because it is unclear. Does it mean that the BBC Micro, the Z81, the Spectrum and the Amstrad/Schneider sold more units than other systems sold in the US? Or that they were more popular with Europeans than they were with Americans, but didn't necessarily sell more total units? And was the C64 better than all those systems in Europe or the US? It needs to be clarified. It also really needs a reference. — Frecklefσσt | Talk 11:40, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

I think you knew all the answers to your own questions already. The British systems were much more popular in Europe than in the US, and the popularity of these British systems (especially the Spectrum) was only overshadowed by the C64, for example the Atari systems weren't that popular as they were seen to be overly expensive. Ill try to construct the sentence again, and ill try to find a reference (or two). Mahjongg (talk) 15:04, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Oh, and I'm sorry if my sentences are a bit construed, its true that I write rambling prose in my own native language, let alone in English. Thanks for smoothening it up a bit. Mahjongg (talk) 22:31, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

The Home Computer "Revolution"[edit]

It textually says "Before long, a backlash set in—computer users were "geeks", "nerds" or worse, "hackers"." I think that using the word "worse" can be despective to the hacker community. --Threpwood (talk) 01:37, 2 September 2008 (UTC)

they like it —Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.193.194.181 (talk) 03:51, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

This section looks like original research. It reads more like an essay than an article. David Delony (talk) 18:45, 16 November 2009 (UTC)

Please don't delete the section! All it needs is more references...but I've found it hard to find references that stand back from the product reviews and look at the big picture. For example, my collection of old BYTEs is much less useful than I had thought - some of the early '70s editions do talk a little about why anyone would want a computer in the house and what it would do, but toward the end of BYTE's run it was just reviewing mouse pads and nattering about the current decimal revisions of mass-market software. There's got to be some scholarly writing out there we can plagiarize research and stiffen up this section of the article. --Wtshymanski (talk) 14:42, 17 November 2009 (UTC)

Image question[edit]

An anonymous user, who seems to be also editing this article legitimately, has been removing Kc85-3.jpg from this article, claiming that it misrepresents the appearance of a home computer. I've been reverting said user, but I'd like some input on the image. Any thoughts? Bart133 t c @ How's my driving? 21:10, 6 September 2008 (UTC)

Well, I read the KC 85 article and it sure seems to be aimed at the home market, though of course in the GDR it might not have been as readily available to consumers as, say, a C64. It used a TV for output, cassette storage, BASIC in ROM - sounds like a home computer to me. I think it's appropriate to describe it as a "glimpse behind the Iron Curtain" because it shows a parallel trend on both sides - in spite of the vastly different command economy system, there was still a demand and need perceived for a "home"-type computer. --Wtshymanski (talk) 04:40, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
Agreed it is definitely a home computer, although it looks very different from western systems. I also agree that this fact should be reflected in the text below the picture, perhaps something with "east-block systems looked very different" Mahjongg (talk) 09:17, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

About sales figures[edit]

I have checked this article because I was looking for figures on sales of different home computer models, and I have just found that there were just but a few numbers available, and what is worse, without any reference. So I just would like to expose the question here, since I found I could rely on a number like 17 million units for C64, which I guess that makes sense, but on the other side I wonder how come the figure is just 5 million for MSX computers. Does it include the whole line-up of models up to Turbo-R or just the first generations? Do the numbers refer to the western markets or do also include the home market of Japan and even secondary Asian markets such as Korea with the Daewoo rip-off models? I am not sure about the figures -again, that's how I reached here on the first place- but I have my doubts about the MSX figure for the reasons exposed above, and I think that the data should be contrasted or either removed. Thank you for your attention. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 89.131.65.190 (talk) 13:24, 27 November 2008 (UTC)

I think this number refer to the total number of all MSX machines produced, regardless of the model and standard iteration. Then it looks reasonable -- after all, it was a huge hit in Brazil, where MSX'es were used as a business machines right through most of the 90-es, and, IIRC, were even produced locally. Soviet Union bought immense numbers (tens, or even hundreds of thousands) of customized Yamaha-made models for its educational program, and some other Eastern European countries followed suit, it was hugely popular in Netherlands as well -- no, 5 million pieces doesn't strike me as an unreasonable number. I don't have references on hand (and, frankly, isn't really interesting in finding it), but someone surely has, so I believe that we should leave it, just put a request for sources. --Khathi (talk) 09:11, 24 March 2009 (UTC)

Missing Pages[edit]

  As I read the Linux article, it seems in order.

But, when I go to Print Preview, pages 5 and 8 are blank. If I try to print them, they remain blank. Why does this happen?

Thundermist04167 (talk) 12:46, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

You are making no sense, it seems you are not even talking about this article as it not even has the word Linux in it. Anyway this seems to be a browser issue, nothing to do with Wikipedia. Please refrain from asking questions that do not help improve the article. Mahjongg (talk) 16:31, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

Keyboard types[edit]

We shouldn't confuse the type of keytop with the switch mechanism. Some keyboards were made of individual switches soldered to a board, with separate keycaps (one ancient terminal I dismantled used magnets in each key and a reed switch for each button). Most keyboards are membrane-type, with two sheets of plastic printed with flexible conductors, pressed together to make contact. If you're on a slightly more posh machine, you'll have a keytop that presses on the membrane; if the designers were aiming at cheap and cheerful, instead you'll be pressing your fingers on a plastic sheet that is the top side of the contact membrane. I've never dismantled a PC Jr or any of the Atari machines; were their "chicklet" keytops operating discrete switches, pressing on membranes, or using those detestable carbon buttons that get oily after a few months and cause you to throw the remote control at the wall? All original research, citations would be useful (product reviewers would have commented on this sort of detail in the day). --Wtshymanski (talk) 16:41, 21 December 2010 (UTC)

Reading Chicklet keyboard makes me think I may be mistaken. Also see Keyboard technology. --Wtshymanski (talk) 22:48, 21 December 2010 (UTC)

The "Home Computer Revolution" section[edit]

"In the late 1970s and early 1980s, from about 1977 to 1983, it was widely predicted [24] that computers would soon revolutionize many aspects of home and family life as they had business practices in the previous decades.[25] Mothers would keep their recipe catalog in "kitchen computer" databases and turn to a medical database for help with child care, fathers would use the family's computer to manage family finances and track automobile maintenance. Children would use disk-based encyclopedias for school work and would be avid video gamers. Home automation would bring about the intelligent home of the '80s. Using Videotex, NAPLPS or some sort of as-yet unrealized computer technology, television would gain interactivity. The "personalized newspaper" (to be displayed on the television screen) was a commonly-predicted application. Morning coffee would be brewed automatically under computer control. The same computer would control the house lighting and temperature. Robots would take the garbage out, and be programmed to perform new tasks via the home computer. Electronics were expensive, so it was generally assumed that each home would have only one multitasking computer for the entire family to use in a timesharing arrangement, with interfaces to the various devices it was expected to control.

“ The single most important item in 2008 households is the computer. These electronic brains govern everything from meal preparation and waking up the household to assembling shopping lists and keeping track of the bank balance. Sensors in kitchen appliances, climatizing units, communicators, power supply and other household utilities warn the computer when the item is likely to fail. A repairman will show up even before any obvious breakdown occurs.


Computers also handle travel reservations, relay telephone messages, keep track of birthdays and anniversaries, compute taxes and even figure the monthly bills for electricity, water, telephone and other utilities. Not every family has its private computer. Many families reserve time on a city or regional computer to serve their needs. The machine tallies up its own services and submits a bill, just as it does with other utilities.[26]

—Mechanix Illustrated, November 1968 edition

All this was predicted to be commonplace sometime before the end of the decade, but virtually every aspect of the predicted revolution would be delayed to later years. The computers available to consumers of the time period just weren't powerful enough to perform any single task required to realize this vision, much less do them all simultaneously."

Well of course home computers of this era could do some of these individual things. If in doubt, read TRS-80#Software applications. This section may need to be re-written.--Asher196 (talk) 15:41, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
I don't know about that. I don't imagine too many people were "pressing PLAY on tape" to retrieve the pineapple upside down cake recipe in 1983 - you forget just how truly terribly stinking awful these "home computer" were. Home computers of 1983 were about as practically useful as "personal automobiles" prior to Ford. By the time you'd tricked out a TRS 80 model X, Y or Z to the point where it could actually do these things with less trouble than pencil and paper, you'd spent $3000 in 1983 money, taking out of "home computer" territory and well into "nutjob computer hobbyist" country. --Wtshymanski (talk) 19:32, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
Maybe you were not around in 1983 but I was. My first home computer bought circa 1983 cost £150 and it was certainly capable of many useful tasks. It was certainly not the cheapest on the market by any means - that could be had for less than £100. At least the software did not have all the unnecessary bloat and useless features that seems to be so mandatory today. DieSwartzPunkt (talk) 12:14, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
So how did you retrieve your recipes in 1983? "Useful" is an elastic term; what a nutjob computer hobbyist considers "useful" is not what normal human beings consider useful. A 1983 machine is about as useful today as it was in 1983. --Wtshymanski (talk) 16:21, 22 October 2012 (UTC)
What any of us find useful today isn't helpful to this article. What I do see is a source reference (Mechanix Illustrated) that is wholly inappropriate as a base for the decades the article is described. If you note, that referenced magazine is from November 1968, before even the Intel 4004 had been invented! And yet it is still being used to describe computers and technology in this article made almost twenty years later! The whole section is just a plain and simple mess. Just a mess. 67.139.40.166 (talk) 08:06, 23 October 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Did a significant number of people find the process of plugging the computer into the TV, going into the drawer of cassettes and pulling out the one marked "Pineapple upside down cake recipe", pressing "Play" on the cassette deck and waiting 2 1/2 minutes for the first 40 character-wide-screen to come up *useful*? That's what you got for £150 in 1983. This wasn't useful in any era; aside from video games there was little that an early 1980's home computer did that couldn't be done better with a box of file cards and a typewriter. The MI article describes the wonderland that awaited us - the actual delivery, as so often is the case, took quite a bit longer. --Wtshymanski (talk) 14:49, 23 October 2012 (UTC)

Apparently you didn't look at the link I provided. the TRS-80 Model I computer offered a floppy disk system and a 5MB hard drive, so no, you were not limited to a tape drive. Also "A full suite of office applications were also available, including the VisiCalc and As-Easy-As spreadsheets and the Lazy Writer, Electric Pencil and Scripsit word processors." These were available between 1977 and 1983.--Asher196 (talk) 22:31, 23 October 2012 (UTC)
The Model 1 didn't have a hard drive, that didn't come out till years later for the Models II and III (and added $1500 to your $595 computer plus $300 expansion interface, plus a table full of wires and power supplies.) Adding even a single-density floppy drive to the Model 1 more than doubled the cost, since you also had to add an expansion interface. You wound up with a system that was worth a few months' disposable income in 1983 and was not a typical "home" computer purchase as we understand it today. The point in the article is still valid, a 1980's "home" computer was so limited that it was nearly useless for anything but games. --Wtshymanski (talk) 21:16, 24 October 2012 (UTC)
The hard drive and floppy drives were available before 1983. I only supplied the Model I page link for general reference. It is your opinion that those early home computers were "nearly useless". Unless you can provide a reliable source backing up that opinion, then this section should not be stating " The computers available to consumers of the time period just weren't powerful enough to perform any single task required to realize this vision...."--Asher196 (talk) 01:22, 25 October 2012 (UTC)
I could provide several links to back up my claim that early home computers were useful. Here is a link regarding VisiCalc, first available in 1979. http://www.trs-80.org/visicalc/Asher196 (talk) 01:27, 25 October 2012 (UTC)
Agreed even such a simple program as Electric Pencil revolutionized writing, no more Tipp-Ex needed! Looking back and saying that what was available at the time was "useless" is seeing things from a modern perspective, not the contemporary one. Mahjongg (talk) 13:41, 25 October 2012 (UTC)
"The public thinks computers are useless... There is a general feeling that the home computer was a fad and that there really is no practical purpose for a computer in the home" - Commodore Magazine, Sept. 1987 [4] According to Asher's link, VisiCalc is useful for "solving problems such as sales projections, income taxes, financial ratios, engineering changes, and many more." Of these, only one is remotely useful in home use. It cost $250 at introduction - adjusted for inflation that's $577.75, pretty expensive for something that's only useful once per year.— Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.184.250.4 (talk) 03:05, 12 January 2013 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── We're now at the stage of loudly repeating ourselves. By the time you'd purchased all the crap you needed to make a TI-99 or C-64 or TRS 80 Model 1 actually *useful*, you'd spent a couple of months pay, making the "home computer" the second most expensive object in the household after the family car with vastly less daily use. Not surprisingly, very few people did this. The £150 ( say, US $300) 1983 box referred to above was only good for games and didn't even have a dedicated screen - which meant that to play "Centipedes" on it you had to take over the family TV. So, even at the time these things flourished, very few people found "use" for them as anything other than games consoles or fancy desk calculators. You couldn't even *print* anything without spending a fortune on some shaky printer that would not have competed with a 1920's Underwood for quality of type impression.

Contrast this with the 1960's vision of an information appliance that would keep your files, record your appointments, regulate your house temperature, etc. - this is still leading-edge costly stuff today as far as home automation goes and would have been ludicrous in 1983. You couldn't look up a bus timetable with a 1983 home computer (that wasn't ludicrously expanded) - how often have you checked, oh, say, movie show times? Could you have done that with the $300 1983 "home computer". No. Did anyone do income tax on a 1983 home computer? Not without spending a fortune on expansion boxes, disk drives, printers, cables, and software. You bought a computer in 1983 out of curiosity and teh desire to say "I have a computer", maybe to play some games or learn a little about programming; most people didn't buy it to file their record collections or keep their photo albums on. --Wtshymanski (talk) 14:32, 25 October 2012 (UTC)

I must remind Wtshymanski that the Apple IIe came out in 1983, which (without spending a "fortune") could do all the things that you mentioned (and HowardSoft Tax Preparer software for the platform wasn't very expensive either)... 67.139.40.166 (talk) 07:46, 26 October 2012 (UTC)
If I could have bought an Apple IIe for $300 in 1983, I might have done so. I'd still have to buy a tabletop full of floppy drives, power supplies, a printer, a monitor, etc., running the total cost up over a month's pay. Yes, there were some capable machines that could do useful tasks in 1983, but they were priced away above the "come-on" pricing of so many home computers of that era. --Wtshymanski (talk) 14:00, 26 October 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I recall a user group meeting I attended where we all tried to help one gentleman who was trying to keep a name and address list for his club on an Osbonre 1 with dual floppy drives - unluckily, his group had just enough members ( in one city!) that the contact data could not fit in the available memory, and the best we could come up with was to split the membership up by first letter of last name over multiple floppy disks. And this was on a CDN $2200 machine that came *with* *two* floppy drives. He needed a hard disk, but the only thing available in that era was a $2500 add-on to a $2200 machine that instantly made it a piece of furniture, no longer portable. This was around 1982 or so. --Wtshymanski (talk) 14:17, 26 October 2012 (UTC)

CD-ROM and large scale changes[edit]

According to CD-ROM, the drives were available in 1985, and the Grolier encyclopedia was available on CD-ROM in 1986. Please stop trying to change history.--Asher196 (talk) 04:18, 12 January 2013 (UTC)

The drives available in 1985 used SCSI interfaces and cost ~$700. They were not home computer peripherals. Please stop trying to change history. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.184.250.4 (talk) 04:22, 12 January 2013 (UTC)
It doesn't matter what they cost. All computer equipment was expensive in 1985.--Asher196 (talk) 04:28, 12 January 2013 (UTC)
No, you're wrong. A C64 cost $150. Grolier sold their encyclopedia bundled with a Philips CD-ROM drive 'for IBM PCs and compatibles only' for $1495 [5] The (text-only, not multimedia) disk alone cost $199 [6] — Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.184.250.4 (talk) 04:36, 12 January 2013 (UTC)
You are making my point for me. A computer doesn't have to be "cheap" to be a "home computer". The article as you have edited it makes the reader think that this technology wasn't available in the home in the 1980s, when by your own admission it was.--Asher196 (talk) 04:47, 12 January 2013 (UTC)
A home computer was/is a strictly defined market segment, an IBM PC does not fall within it, and neither does a $1495 encyclopedia. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.184.250.4 (talk) 04:52, 12 January 2013 (UTC)
Of course IBM PCs and compatibles were "home computers". "PC" stands for "personal computer". See IBM Personal Computer.--Asher196 (talk) 14:14, 12 January 2013 (UTC)
Personal Computer as in not a timeshared minicomputer. IBM PC was not a home computer.

If you actually read the link to IBM Personal Computer, you will see that the IBM PC and Home Computer are synonymous.--Asher196 (talk) 18:33, 12 January 2013 (UTC)

On IBM's own web site,http://www-03.ibm.com/ibm/history/exhibits/pc25/pc25_birth.html "On August 12, 1981, at a press conference at the Waldorf Astoria ballroom in New York City, Estridge announced the IBM Personal Computer with a price tag of $1,565. Two decades earlier, an IBM computer often cost as much as $9 million and required an air-conditioned quarter-acre of space and a staff of 60 people to keep it fully loaded with instructions. The new IBM PC could not only process information faster than those earlier machines but it could hook up to the home TV set, play games, process text and harbor more words than a fat cookbook.

The $1,565 price bought a system unit, a keyboard and a color/graphics capability. Options included a display, a printer, two diskette drives, extra memory, communications, game adapter and application packages — including one for text processing. The development team referred to their creation as a mini-compact, at a mini-price, with IBM engineering under the hood. The system unit was powered by an Intel 8088 microprocessor operating at speeds measured in millionths of a second. It was the size of a portable typewriter and contained 40K of read-only memory and 16K of user memory, as well as a built-in speaker for generating music. Its five expansion slots could be used to connect such features as expanded memory, display and printing units and game "paddles." The unit also ran self-diagnostic checks."

Now, if this IBM PC wasn't a "home computer", why did IBM advertise it as being able to "hook up to the home TV set, play games, process text..."?--Asher196 (talk) 18:51, 12 January 2013 (UTC)
IBM's advertising is irrelevant. Obviously you were not alive at the time. The two categories were entirely distinct. Home computer = built in keyboard, booted into BASIC. Your uninformed opinions are not encyclopedic content. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.184.250.4 (talk) 22:59, 12 January 2013 (UTC)
It is pointless arguing with you when you ignore every link that totally refutes your beliefs.--Asher196 (talk) 15:23, 13 January 2013 (UTC)
After reviewing sources, I have found that there is conflicting information as to what exactly defines a "home computer". Some sources agree with user 24.184.250.4, and some agree with me. I believe that this needs to be reflected in the article. The dispute at hand is whether the IBM-PC and it's clones can be defined as a home computer or not. I would prefer to work constructively on this problem rather than edit warring as we have been.--Asher196 (talk) 16:44, 13 January 2013 (UTC)
Of course they can be defined as such. Many people both now and then used home computer to refer simply to computers in the home. And while people have certainly used the term home computer to mean inexpensive computers, if someone wants to apply that logic to the entire article then there are two problems. One, the definition of inexpensive is fluid at best and certainly includes the bottom end of PC compatibles. And two, there are some very expensive computers like the X68000 and FM Towns and it so happens that they are widely referred to as home computers. ButOnMethItIs (talk) 21:02, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── "Home Computer 2013" <> "Home Computer 1984" <> "Home Computer 1969". You could not have had an IBM-brand "home computer" in 1980 unless your name was Watson. The term has been kicking around for decades and the hardware denoted has changed immensely in that time. If we're arguing about what a home computer is, we must identify which era we're concerned about defining. --Wtshymanski (talk) 14:50, 15 January 2013 (UTC)


I would like to reintroduce a little reality ...

No home computer had a CD-ROM in 1985. Most people did not even have CD players for home audio in 1985, nevermind a home computer or a home computer with a CD-ROM in 1985. The existence of a CD-ROM is irrelevant - battery powered cars existed then too, but one would not claim they were readily available. Most people did not start to see CD-ROMs until the multi-media craze of the early 1990s. (More like 1992 to 1994.) A hard drive in 1985 would made made a machine a higher end machine.

Claiming the IBM PC 5150 was not a home computer is inane. Sure, IBM stands for "International Business Machines". But a lot of those early PCs did double duty in people's homes. How would one explain the existence of MS Flight Simulator and all of the other games people were purchasing for the IBM PC back then? If a machine was commonly found in homes, then it should be considered a home computer. And clearly IBM PCs were found in home environments, for a variety of reasons.

The PCjr is another great example of problems with the definitions used in this article. It was IBM's vision of a home computer, clearly targeted at the home market. Yet it fails to make the list. Why? Was it really a mainframe and that is why it was not popular? Whether it was considered a flop or not, it still sold well over 100,000 copies. (Plausible estimates go up to 250,000 units shipped.) — Preceding unsigned comment added by 96.42.84.69 (talk) 21:41, 23 February 2013 (UTC)

Homebuilt computers[edit]

Sofia Koutsouveli added this section to the lead:

Home computers were usually not homebuilt computers, since the home computer was sold already manufactured, while today's homebuilt computers are assembled at home. There were, however, commercial kits like the Newbear 77-68 which were both home and homebuilt computers since the purchaser assembled her or his own home computer at home.

While undeniably correct information, I'm not certain it belongs in the lead. I don't think there is any assumption on the part of the reader that consumers were expected to assemble home computers themselves. And the Newbear was not a major player in the home computer market. While I think it's okay to include this information, I think it needs to go elsewhere in the article. Any suggestions? — Frεcklεfσσt | Talk 15:44, 14 March 2014 (UTC)

How is it now?
If you wound wire on an oatmeal box yourself, it was a "home built" radio - or you could buy a crystal set and just plug in headphones, antenna and ground. The Newbear is a stretch because it's basic form used discret LEDs and toggle switches as the user interface - it wasn'r really aimed at the "cassette tape and TV" marketplace. I'm sure you could add all that stuff, but the first box you brought home was basically a logic trainer and not really meant for running games, processing words, or making graphics on a TV screen. Even the Sinclair kit is a stretch, because "home computers" were marketed at the sorts of people not really comfortable using a soldering iron. --Wtshymanski (talk) 18:25, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
It's better, but I still don't think the section belongs in the lead. Like I said earlier, I don't think any reader is going to assume the computers were unassembled and were expected to be assembled by the purchaser. I appreciate your edit, but I'd like to find a better place in the article for the paragraph. — Frεcklεfσσt | Talk 18:56, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
Well, it's two lines and segregates the wire-wrap and soldering-iron "hobby" computer from the one purchased at Sears and stuck under the tree for Christmas. The fellow who bought a Heathkit was a whole lot more invested than the purchaser of a Coleco (and had spent a lot more money). --Wtshymanski (talk) 19:46, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
I agree, but that doesn't address my concern. I'm not that worked up about it. It's fine for now. If other editors voice concern about it, we can revisit it later. — Frεcklεfσσt | Talk 20:05, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
When I was shopping for my computer in the back of some magazines, like Popular Electronics and Byte (magazine), in 1977 there were significant numbers of home computers you had to build. I considered the the KIM-1, the SYM-1, the Ohio Scientific OSI 400 or 500 or the Apple I but finally went with a PET 2001 after deciding building might be outside my experience and the kits seemed underpowered and just as expensive as the prebuilt. I did not consider the Sinclair ZX80 because it was two years away from being released. The OSI Trainer was something you could assemble and if you did it right and sent it back in they sent you a built 400. You could get the 400 board for as low as $30 and build the case and add your own CPU and RAM (which were very expensive then). Those were the popular choices and OSI systems were successful enough to sprout clones (Compukit UK101). I think the paragraph is needed as it represents the reality of home computer shopping in 1976 to 1980. Are you choosing the Sinclair ZX80 because while sold the highest volume and can you prove that? Alatari (talk) 01:18, 15 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Back in those wonderful days, there were many computers sold to home consumers, and some of them had to actually be built or assembled by the purchaser. The distinction between home computers and homebuilt computers, and the existence of home computers that were also homebuilt is an important piece of historical and cultural information and should be included in the article, whether it should be in the lead or not I'm not sure, and the Newbear is just the example I had in mind when I wrote that, you can replace the example with another more well-known kit if you had worked with any of them. In the age of home and homebuilt computers there were also important cultural differences between those who preferred to build their computer at home and those who preferred to buy ready-made home computers, there was also some kind of dislike between those two communities. It would also be wonderful if we could find a source that describes this cultural antagonism between homebuilt and home (we also called them ready-made then) computers and describe this cultural history somewhere in the article. Sofia Koutsouveli (talk) 22:59, 15 March 2014 (UTC)

Actually, the home computer revolution did happen over here.[edit]

The article seems to describe events of one country only. In Europe, the home computer revolution really happened. Not for controlling lighting or for brewing coffee in the morning, but for a big games market and home office use. It was interesting to read what happened in USA - I think many Europeans wonder what you did for games, for example, during the period that the PC was unusable for games and Atari 8-bits were 10 years old technology. But it seems to me the entire article is US-centric and incorrectly depicts the commercial success of home computer companies, home computer software companies, home computer peripheral companies, and the many home computer magazines in Europe from circa 1982-1992.

Henrik Erlandsson 13:40, 16 March 2014 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by HenrikErlandsson (talkcontribs)

The "revolution" was specifically about home control, brewing coffee, online newspaper/shopping. It was not about video games and word processing, anywhere. — Preceding unsigned comment added by OMPIRE (talkcontribs) 12:33, 14 May 2014 (UTC)