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RCA's Two Thousand (1969)

Remember when adding "2000" to a product name was shorthand for futuristic, cutting-edge technology?

In 1969 RCA invited the American public to "take a leap into the year 2000" with a new television set called The Two Thousand. Selling a limited edition of 2,000 sets at $2,000 a pop, (about $12,000 in 2008 dollars), The Two Thousand certainly turned heads.

The advertisement above appears in a book about the history of television advertising, Window to the Future. The ad below appeared in the December 18, 1969 Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM).

From the Albuquerque Journal:

In one giant step RCA harnessed the speed and accuracy of the computer to help unveil a new century in color television. It's a limited edition (2,000 sets) with unlimited advancement.


First and most obvious, is its 21st century design, its sculptured whiteness curves to a rosewood veneer top. The black translucent doors slide back and disappear into the set, revealing the 23-inch diagonal screen.

And what a picture you'll see on that screen.

It's the new RCA Hi-Lite 70 tube - computer designed and engineered for 100% more brightness than any previous big screen RCA color tube. The Hi-Lite 70 tube gives such a vivid, detailed picture, you can even watch it in a brightly-lit room.

The remote controls of color, tint and volume are computer-designed too. They operate electronically so there are no motors, no noise, and no moving parts to wear out or break down.

Inside The Two Thousand, though, is the biggest news.

RCA eliminated the conventional VHF tuner. In its place are new computer-like "memory" circuits - electronic circuits with memories like tiny computers.

When you press the remote control button, the circuits automatically remember which channels you have programmed. So there's no wandering through empty channels for the station you want. You simply go silently and instantly from one live station to the next.

Press the UHF lever and the signal seeking circuitry takes over. A silent motor sweeps up and down the UHF band, seeking an active channel. When it finds one it stops. There's never any need to fine-tune the pictures. It's done for you electronically.

The Two Thousand represents the pinnacle of achievement in Color TV engineering and performance. Open its doors and embark on a totally new viewing adventure.

Read More:
Television of Tomorrow (1974)
Living Room of the Future (1979)
Motorola Television (1961-1963)
Motorola Television Revisited (1961-1963)


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Reader Comments (16)

Is it just me or is the TV screen not centered over the pedestal?

August 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterNate Silva

A look into an alternate timeline: Industrial design with clean, uncluttered lines... and what looks like live television from deep space, showing an ambitious manned mission... that's about the only kind of "reality TV" that would motivate me to shell out for an elaborate system, so my real-world wallet is safe. Perhaps the RCA 2000 is also emblematic of an implicit assumption (extrapolating from what Mumford called "the economy of abundance") that everybody in 2000 A.D. would be affluent. A very typical example of what 1960s Zeitgeist saw when it looked ahead.

August 18, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermin0taur

[looks at the picture on the left]

Hey, wow, it actually looks kind of like a modern TV...

[looks at the picture with the cabinet doors open]


August 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

Yeah, "the year 2000" thing got to be such a cliche that copywriters would use it without thinking. I remember when I was in high school, they were constructing a new bus station in my hometown. They gave out pamphelets talking up all the virtues of the new building, including that it would last "through the year 2000". This was in 1989! I remember thinking that it wasn't much of a boast that a building would stay standing for 11 years.

August 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKim Scarborough

Man these are great looking ads!

@ min0taur: kind of reminds me of Apple (esp. the early years).

August 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMatt Ross

I just love the gushing vergabe about how it's all Computer Designed. And it has computers inside! Woo!

All that hype and excitement about not having to see an empty channel on the way from NBC to ABC. Imagine trying to explain TiVo to someone back then.

August 22, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermike begley

Rosewood veneer: The Material of the Future!

On a more serious note, it amazes me how much this actually looks like a modern HDTV with the cabinet doors closed.

October 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGreg

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

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January 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSusan

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Deborah" REL="nofollow">Term Life Insurance

January 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSheralle

I had fun reading your article about Television. It was very interesting. Television was getting better every year. Keep posting that kind of article and I will be visiting this blog every day.

December 17, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterportable color tvs

Sounds interesting!Television is now so much better than this one is in picture and as you said when you press a button on remote control,it remember the channels and now its so much updated to the programs also that you can record your favorite programs to watch it again.Good post!I will still visit to know more.Keep sharing.


December 18, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjiny_smith321

As a previous poster indicated, the TV looks oddly prescient with its doors closed, but open they look like just about any color TV I saw in friends' and acquaintances' houses I visited in the 1970s and early 1980s. Just an ordinary tube TV with rosewood! accents.

I wonder how well these TVs sold and if there are any left anywhere, such as in a broadcast or TV museum.

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria

I looked further, and this guy, Steve McVoy of New Jersey, has an RCA2000 and many other vintage TVs.

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria

The future is a lot cheaper than it used to be! You can get an off-brand HD flatscreen for $200, but the RCA 2000 cost more than a brand-new VW Beetle in 1969.

January 16, 2010 | Unregistered Commenternlpnt

The text of the ad describes
"new computer-like 'memory' circuits"
Sort of reminds me of the best joke in that Austin Powers movie, when Dr. Evil describes his plot to destroy the world with air-quote 'lasers'.

April 28, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterpat b

I'm struck by how usually, the future looks so much cooler than it turned out. Not the case with this TV. Technology passed this one by pretty quickly.

June 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJohn LeMaitre

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