Home computer

home computershomehome computingpersonal computer revolutioncomputercomputershome computer systemshome systemshome-computerhome/personal computer
This article is primarily about a certain class of personal computers from the late 1970s to mid-1980s.wikipedia
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Commodore PET

PETCommodore PET/CBMPET 2001
Home computers were a class of microcomputers that entered the market in 1977, that started with what Byte Magazine called the "trinity of 1977", (the Apple II, the TRS-80 Model I, and the Commodore PET) and which became common during the 1980s.
The Commodore PET (Personal Electronic Transactor) is a line of home/personal computers produced starting in 1977 by Commodore International.

Apple II

AppleApple II PlusApple II computer
Home computers were a class of microcomputers that entered the market in 1977, that started with what Byte Magazine called the "trinity of 1977", (the Apple II, the TRS-80 Model I, and the Commodore PET) and which became common during the 1980s.
The Apple II (stylized as Apple ][) is an 8-bit home computer, one of the first highly successful mass-produced microcomputer products, designed primarily by Steve Wozniak (Steve Jobs oversaw the development of the Apple II's foam-molded plastic case and Rod Holt developed the switching power supply).

ZX80

Sinclair ZX-80Sinclair ZX80Sinclair ZX80 RAM pack units
There were, however, commercial kits like the Sinclair ZX80 which were both home and home-built computers since the purchaser could assemble the unit from a kit. While two early home computers (Sinclair ZX80 and Acorn Atom) could be bought either in kit form or assembled, most home computers were only sold pre-assembled.
The Sinclair ZX80 is a home computer launched on 29 January 1980 by Science of Cambridge Ltd. (later to be better known as Sinclair Research).

Acorn Atom

Atom
While two early home computers (Sinclair ZX80 and Acorn Atom) could be bought either in kit form or assembled, most home computers were only sold pre-assembled.
The Acorn Atom is a home computer made by Acorn Computers Ltd from 1980 to 1982, when it was replaced by the BBC Micro.

Commodore 64

C6464Commodore
Some home computers were more successful – the BBC Micro, Sinclair ZX Spectrum, Atari 800XL and Commodore 64, sold many units over several years and attracted third-party software development.
The Commodore 64, also known as the C64 or the CBM 64, is an 8-bit home computer introduced in January 1982 by Commodore International (first shown at the Consumer Electronics Show, in Las Vegas, January 7–10, 1982).

Video game console

consolegame consoleconsoles
A built-in programming language was seen as a requirement for any computer of the era, and was the main feature setting home computers apart from video game consoles.
The term "video game console" is primarily used to distinguish a console machine primarily designed for consumers to use for playing video games, in contrast to arcade machines or home computers.

BBC Micro

BBCBBC Model BAcorn BBC
Some home computers were more successful – the BBC Micro, Sinclair ZX Spectrum, Atari 800XL and Commodore 64, sold many units over several years and attracted third-party software development. In the early part of the 1980s, the dominant microprocessors used in home computers were the 8-bit MOS Technology 6502 (Apple, Commodore, Atari, BBC Micro) and Zilog Z80 (TRS-80, ZX81, ZX Spectrum, Commodore 128, Amstrad CPC).
It was also successful as a home computer in the UK, despite its high cost.

Coleco Adam

AdamAdam Computer
This never materialised, but a standalone computer, the Coleco Adam was eventually released.
The Coleco Adam is a home computer, and expansion for the ColecoVision (port 3), released in 1983 by American toy and video game manufacturer Coleco.

ROM cartridge

cartridgecartridgesgame cartridge
Some game consoles offered "programming packs" consisting of a version of BASIC in a ROM cartridge.
A ROM cartridge, usually referred to simply as a cartridge or cart, is a removable enclosure containing ROM designed to be connected to a consumer electronics device such as a home computer, video game console and to a lesser extent, electronic musical instruments.

Video game crash of 1983

1983 video game crash1983 crashcrashed
A common marketing tactic was to show a computer system and console playing games side by side, then emphasizing the computer's greater ability by showing it running user-created programs, education software, word processing, spreadsheet and other applications while the game console showed a blank screen or continued playing the same repetitive game.
Lasting about two years, the crash shook the then-booming industry, and led to the bankruptcy of several companies producing home computers and video game consoles in the region.

MSX

MSX2MSX 2MSX 1
Except for the Japanese MSX standard, the concept of a computer platform was still forming, with most companies considering rudimentary BASIC language and disk format compatibility sufficient to claim a model as "compatible".
MSX is a standardized home computer architecture, first announced by Microsoft on June 16, 1983, conceived and marketed by Kazuhiko Nishi, then vice-president at Microsoft Japan and director at ASCII Corporation.

Demoscene

demosdemodemo scene
While most of the programs in these books were short and simple games or demos, some titles such as Compute!s SpeedScript series, contained productivity software that rivaled commercial packages.
The demoscene's roots are in the home computer revolution of the late 1970s, and the subsequent advent of software cracking.

Kaypro

Kaypro II
Things were different in the business world, where cost-conscious small business owners had been using CP/M running on Z80 based computers from Osborne, Kaypro, Morrow Designs and a host of other manufacturers.
Kaypro Corporation was an American home/personal computer manufacturer of the 1980s.

Compute!

Compute MagazineComputeCOMPUTE! Publications
While most of the programs in these books were short and simple games or demos, some titles such as Compute!s SpeedScript series, contained productivity software that rivaled commercial packages.
Compute!, often stylized as COMPUTE!, was an American home computer magazine that was published from 1979 to 1994.

Type-in program

type-intype-in programsgame code that could be typed into a computer
Books of type-in program listings like BASIC Computer Games were available dedicated for the BASICs of most models of computer with titles along the lines of 64 Amazing BASIC Games for the Commodore 64.
Type-in programs were common in the early home computer era from the late 1970s through the 1980s when the RAM of 8-bit systems was measured in kilobytes and most computer owners did not have access to networks such a bulletin board systems.

Line editor

line-editingan editorline editors
Almost universally, home computers had a BASIC interpreter combined with a line editor in permanent read-only memory which one could use to type in BASIC programs and execute them immediately or save them to tape or disk.
Line editors were also a feature of many home computers, avoiding the need for a more memory-intensive full-screen editor.

Serial port

serialserial portsserial line
Another capability home computers had that game consoles of the time lacked was the ability to access remote services over telephone lines by adding a serial port interface, a modem, and communication software.
Very low-cost systems, such as some early home computers, would instead use the CPU to send the data through an output pin, using the bit banging technique.

Read-only memory

ROMROMsread-only
Almost universally, home computers had a BASIC interpreter combined with a line editor in permanent read-only memory which one could use to type in BASIC programs and execute them immediately or save them to tape or disk. Since most systems shipped with the BASIC programming language included on the system ROM, it was easy for users to get started creating their own simple applications.
Most home computers of the 1980s stored a BASIC interpreter or operating system in ROM as other forms of non-volatile storage such as magnetic disk drives were too costly.

RF modulator

RFmodulatorB/W or Color TV
To save the cost of a dedicated monitor, the home computer would often connect through an RF modulator to the family TV set, which served as both video display and sound system.
Prior to the introduction of specialised video connector standards such as SCART, TVs were designed to only accept signals through the aerial connector: signals originate at a TV station, are transmitted over the air, and are then received by an antenna and demodulated within the TV. When equipment was developed which could use a television receiver as its display device, such as VCRs, DVD players, early home computers, and video game consoles, the signal was modulated and sent to the RF input connector.

Microprocessor

microprocessorsprocessorchip
Computers became affordable for the general public in the 1970s due to the mass production of the microprocessor starting in 1971. In the early part of the 1980s, the dominant microprocessors used in home computers were the 8-bit MOS Technology 6502 (Apple, Commodore, Atari, BBC Micro) and Zilog Z80 (TRS-80, ZX81, ZX Spectrum, Commodore 128, Amstrad CPC).
A low overall cost, small packaging, simple computer bus requirements, and sometimes the integration of extra circuitry (e.g. the Z80's built-in memory refresh circuitry) allowed the home computer "revolution" to accelerate sharply in the early 1980s.

Amstrad CPC

CPCAmstradAmstrad CPC 464
In the early part of the 1980s, the dominant microprocessors used in home computers were the 8-bit MOS Technology 6502 (Apple, Commodore, Atari, BBC Micro) and Zilog Z80 (TRS-80, ZX81, ZX Spectrum, Commodore 128, Amstrad CPC).
The Amstrad CPC (short for Colour Personal Computer) is a series of 8-bit home computers produced by Amstrad between 1984 and 1990.

Microcomputer

microcomputersmicrocomputingmicro-computer
Home computers were a class of microcomputers that entered the market in 1977, that started with what Byte Magazine called the "trinity of 1977", (the Apple II, the TRS-80 Model I, and the Commodore PET) and which became common during the 1980s.
The term is most commonly associated with the first wave of all-in-one 8-bit home computers and small business microcomputers (such as the Apple II, Commodore 64, BBC Micro, and TRS 80).

Commodore 1541

15411541 disk drive1541 floppy disk drive
A first time computer buyer who brought a base C-64 system home and hooked it up to their TV would find they needed to buy a disk drive (the Commodore 1541 was the only fully compatible model) or Datasette before they could make use of it as anything but a game machine or TV Typewriter.
The Commodore 1541 (also known as the CBM 1541 and VIC-1541) is a floppy disk drive which was made by Commodore International for the Commodore 64 (C64), Commodore's most popular home computer.

MOS Technology 6502

6502MOS 6502M6502
In the early part of the 1980s, the dominant microprocessors used in home computers were the 8-bit MOS Technology 6502 (Apple, Commodore, Atari, BBC Micro) and Zilog Z80 (TRS-80, ZX81, ZX Spectrum, Commodore 128, Amstrad CPC).
Along with the Zilog Z80, it sparked a series of projects that resulted in the home computer revolution of the early 1980s.

Chiclet keyboard

chicletIsland-style keyboardChiclet style keyboard
Sometimes they were equipped with a cheap membrane or chiclet keyboard in the early days, although full-travel keyboards quickly became universal due to overwhelming consumer preference.
The term first appeared during the home computer era of the late 1970s to mid-1980s.