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Thread: Tandy 5000 - Radio Shack Product Announcement - April 21, 1988

  1. #1

    Default Tandy 5000 - Radio Shack Product Announcement - April 21, 1988

    In 1988 Tandy went all out with this promotional video for the Tandy 5000 MC. It's interesting to see the amount of effort (they got Bernie Appel to speak about computers!) and to realize how much they pinned their hopes on this product which was eventually a marketplace failure.


  2. #2

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    And they repeated the mistake four years later with the Tandy/Memorex VIS. In the two-way race between the Philips CD-i and Commodore CDTV, it came in third.

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    I felt, at least in California, that the race was two-way between CD-i and 3DO. I recall only ever seeing a Commodore CD console once, in an airport store display window, and being curious, found the store didn't even have units for sale, they just didn't want to to bother changing the window display. I seriously considered a CD-i, but when I saw the store demos - one of a golf game that repeated "You want it on the green, but not just any green" about five times in a row - and one of the Top Gun movie playing, where the ocean rescue consisted of huge checkerboards where the system couldn't handle moving water detail, I quickly decided the $750 3DO was the system of the future. Still have it.

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    The VIS and CDTV were already pretty much dead by the time the 3DO came out in late 1993/early 1994.

  5. #5

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    I recall ads and articles in non-computer-related magazines about the CDTV and how it was going to save Commodore because it was obviously what everyone wanted for their TV. I never actually saw one in person anywhere.

    I hadn't even heard about the CDi until it was being compared to the 3DO. By then I had forgotten about the CDTV. I didn't see any similarity between the 3DO and CDi. I too bought a 3DO, but couldn't afford one until they went on clearance. It really did seem like it had the market cornered if they hadn't overpriced it. Especially with the promises of CDROMs with blue lasers and the M2. But the M2 didn't even fare as well as the Intellivision Keyboard Component.

    I too still have my 3DO. But it died and I had to get a replacement from eBay. But I still use it. I haven't bought and likely won't buy a newer video game system.

  6. #6
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    The problems for the 5000 MC included that it didn't release until almost a year after the announcement and that the similarly performing 4000LX was $1,000 cheaper. Alas, most of the customers wanting an alternative Micro-Channel system didn't want to buy it; they wanted the Amdahl coffee cup effect to push IBM to provide discounts.

  7. #7

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    It also didn't help that the Tandy 5000MC cost $1000 more than a comparable Compaq DeskPro 386.

  8. #8
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    Most of my vintage junk.. I mean treasures I keep on the basement floor of the house. I look at my friends houses as evidence of what can happen when things creep into everyday living spaces (no judgment Flash and Kyle)! But my 5000 is among the few exceptions. It has a permanent home on a desk in my bedroom (where the Microchannel magic happens)!. I turn it on from time to time just to marvel. It's networked, has a bootable Future Domain MCA SCSI card with SCSI2SD and a CD-ROM, 5.25 and 3.5" drives, sound card, modem, period correct VGM-220, and mounts NFS drive shares from my Linux server. I gives me a warm and fuzzy.

    As far as I can tell, the only machines ever sold were to corporations needing a second/third supplier to justify MCA workstation upgrades. But the machine cost more than a thousand dollars above a similarly configured PS/2 70. And "no one ever got fired for buying IBM"... well maybe for buying PCjrs.
    "Good engineers keep thick authoritative books on their shelf. Not for their own reference, but to throw at people who ask stupid questions; hoping a small fragment of knowledge will osmotically transfer with each cranial impact." - Me

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    Finally got around to watching the whole video. It did occur to me when 'Dr. John Patterson' was standing by the T5K discussing it's introduction and specs, that exact machine and the VGM-300 on top of it might be the one in my bedroom

    It is the first I've heard of the 'Tandy Proprietary Unique Subway Bus'. I'm curious to know more.

    And I found this quote humorous: "Key customers were concerned that some specialized high performance adapter cards, such as very high resolution graphic video controllers, would only be available for the IBM Micro-Channel". Humorous because Tandy didn't implement the video connector extension on the MCA bus to allow upgrade graphic cards. You can't add, for example, a 8514/A, XGA, or XGA2 card to a T5K - stuck with built-in vanilla 256K VGA. He later says, "The bus connector to support an expanded VGA adapter board is also provided." Yes, the connector is present on J14, but it doesn't work. Tried a half dozen MCA graphics cards and they never generated native or pass-through video. But in the day, MCA graphic cards weren't out yet and the T5K had bodge-wires all over the MB.

    And then there is the irony of the first 15 minutes tooting this horn: 'We've been successful by focusing on the customers IBM has marginalized and ignored' followed by 'Look! We're following IBM's horse and trying not to step in their sh*T.'

    Thanks again for sharing!

    P.S. Is the original available for download somewhere?
    "Good engineers keep thick authoritative books on their shelf. Not for their own reference, but to throw at people who ask stupid questions; hoping a small fragment of knowledge will osmotically transfer with each cranial impact." - Me

  10. #10

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    Was entertaining and painful to watch at the same time. I am surprised that executives couldn't even speak naturally, but hey maybe thats how it was back in the 80.

    Thanks for sharing, it was a nice stroll down the past.

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