Our house circa 1980-1990

Today, the typical eight- to 18-year-old in the US lives in a household equipped with three TV sets, three video players, three radios, three hand-held music devices, two video game consoles, and a personal computer. (via The Future of Children).

Our house doesn’t have any eight to 18 year-old’s yet, but a six- and seven-year old are pretty close. I started counting…three TVs…check. Three video players…does this mean VHS and DVD? If so…check. Three radios…we have four. Three hand-held music devices…we have two. Two video game consoles…I knew we’d be behind on this one. We just got a Wii this Christmas, and that’s the only game system we have. And computers? We have three: two desktop and one laptop.

I thought back to when I was the typical eight- to 18-year-old.

The year was 1980. We had one television, sans remote and only four channels. By the time I graduated in 1991, we had two, both with remotes and cable. One was a “big screen” which took up a lot of floor space in the basement.

Radio? Three, two were “boomboxes.” Mine even had dual cassette players.

Video players? We had a Beta video recorder/player that I used to record music videos on MTV (when they still played videos) mostly of Michael Jackson. I was a huge fan, as you can read here. If you remember, VHS became more popular and it was hard to find movies to rent in Beta format.

Handheld music devices? Does a Walkman count?

Video game console? Nope. Atari was the choice, followed by Nintendo, and we were the only family in town that did not have one (this has not been verified).

Computer? We got a computer sometime in the 1980s, I think, with a dot matrix printer. Remember 5 1/4 floppy disks that actually were “floppy”? It could hold 140K! And then the small but mighty 3.5″ disks were introduced and could hold 1 MB! A quick online search shows in the 1980s, a new IBM personal computer would have cost between $999-$1999 and was powered by the Intel 8088 microprocessor, with either 512K or 1 megabyte of memory. As for storage? “Consumers could choose initial models with either a 1.44 MB diskette drive or diskette drive plus 30 MB hard disk. The system unit also included a built-in 2400-bits-per-second modem.”

Wow. All that for $1,000.

Internet? We did have it before I graduated from high school in 1991. Listen to this YouTube video (yes, listen).

Technology moves fast. What will the average eight to 18 year old have in 20 years?

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4 thoughts on “Our house circa 1980-1990

  1. Well, considering even we had an Atari, you quite possibly were the only ones who didn’t. (We had to save our own money to buy it and were rarely allowed to play it b/c my dad was afraid it would destroy the TV.)

    1. Shari – sorry for the late reply. I had not seen that video. Loved it! So true! If my laptop get stuck for 2 seconds, I start pushing buttons…my husband says “just give it a second.” A second? Who has a second???

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