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The Electronic Home (circa 1988)

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


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


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

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

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Reader Comments (11)

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

February 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRobin

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

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

February 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterYaos

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

February 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJosh Self

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

March 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPerturbance

really dig the new look!

March 18, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermatt

lol at the guy with a big fractal on a monitor at the start. He's typing away, probably trolling youtube and he takes a casual glance at the fractal screen. Yep still there. Looks great.

March 18, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterbob

Took them about 20 years, but this is very close to reality today! AT&T is doing U-verse, which is shocking close in concept to what this video shows. Obviously it's not exactly what they they thought it would be, but the concepts are all being delivered by current Ameritech (now AT&T) products. I'm amazed that this is so dead on!

March 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterWes Larson

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.


March 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJoannah

That isn't an Atari joystick, it's a generic analog joystick more commonly used with PCs at the time, and IIRC, was manufactured by Tandy.

This is an Atari joystick:

November 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNeuroManson

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


March 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSharilewis

LOL, I love that the homes were advertised with 10 percent plus mortgage rates... yikes!!!

April 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBoboLobo

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