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The 1980's - An Electronics Timewarp

Updated on March 8, 2015

Where Time Stood Still

Opening up a store room after being overseas for over a decade is akin to cracking open a time capsule that someone buried under your house a hundred years ago, especially when it comes to the electronic goods you left there all that time ago. Without me even being aware of it, the world of electronics evolved so quickly it made most of what I had stored redundant to the point of almost antiquity.

This got me thinking as to the electronics we no longer use, which in my lifetime were once the most desired gadgets in the world, so based on my storeroom time machine and my black and white memories (actually not all these are black and white memories, some electronics are like supernovas, they come, blaze brightly and disappear without a trace) here is a trip down electronics memory lane

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Betamax Video
Betamax Video

Betamax Video Recorder

I actually owned a Beta Video recorder during the 1980's, yet now there is a whole generation that wouldn't even know it existed as a format!

In the early days of the video recorder, Beta was touted as the superior system by its manufacturer Sony and this claim was supported by some of the superior features of the unit, however Sony quickly started to lose the battle for Beta (or Betamax as it was known) to be the industry standard.

The VHS video standard won this war and its victory was complete by the time Sony ceased making Beta Video recorders in 2002.

Photo Attribution: Franny Wentzel at the English language Wikipedia.

Betamax - The ultimate retro!

VHS Videos
VHS Videos

VHS Video Recorder

The VHS (Video Home System) may have won the war against the Beta system, but it wasn't that long until the Blue Ray disc and DVD appeared and the death knell was sounding. The terminal hit for the VHS system was the advent of digital television where all you had to do was connect a hard drive to your television and you could record programmes to your hearts content.

Though saying this I retrieved a VHS recorder from my time machine store room and it sits defiantly under my digital television! It kind of looks like a manual typewriter connected to an iPad.

IPad Typewriter

And I thought I was being ridiculous connecting a VHS video recorder to a digital TV. We have a new winner!

Sony MiniDisc Player
Sony MiniDisc Player

MiniDisc Player

I bought one of these as I thought they were the best things since sliced bread. First retailed in the early 1990's and never really cheap or accepted, I remember you struggled to buy pre-recorded music so you ended up buying CD's and connecting your MiniDisc to the CD player to record the music onto your MiniDisc.

Not the most practical method of getting your music portable. Very soon after, MP3 players and the iPod ensured the MiniDisc and my large investment in one would both be long forgotten (Ok, I may have not forgotten the money I spent just yet!).

It took until 2011 for Sony to admit defeat and cease making MiniDiscs completely.

MiniDisc Players - You can be just like me

analogue Tv
analogue Tv

Analogue Television

Analogue television has so quickly been over taken by digital technology that only last month I found a 22 inch flat screen television out with the rubbish! Luckily for me I have a digital converter box and now I also have a 22 inch flat screen television in my bedroom.

I like to think of it as recycling. In Australia they have stopped broadcasting non digital television bar 5 channels. Analogue television will soon be joining the dinosaurs (and floppy disks).

Analogue Television Converter - Don't throw it away... convert it

compact discs
compact discs

Compact Discs

The compact disc can still be bought, but it is, like the other items on this list soon to be extinct. I remember my first CD player as I won it on a television quiz show. The discs were marketed at first as indestructible, so it wasn't long before I found even the smallest scratch would make the disc players laser reader jump about and that song on the disc unlistenable.

Since the year 2000 sales of CD's has dropped dramatically thanks to much more portable and robust technology such as the iPod and the convenience of retailers such as iTunes.

I now use some of my CD's as coffee mug place-mats.

Film Cameras

The day the first digital camera rolled off the production line the film camera was doomed. With the demise of the film camera came the happy demise of that sinking feeling you got when you developed your holiday snaps and found that you had either blurred those precious memories or the stranger you entrusted to take your family snap in front of the Eiffel Tower had decided to take a photo of the pigeon behind you as a practical joke.

The final nail in the coffin came in 2011 when the last movie film camera was made. Though the death rattle was heard when the last roll of Kodachrome film was made in 2009 and the last rolls were processed in 2010, apparently in Kansas, though not by a girl called Dorothy!

Photo Credit : the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.

Audio Cassette
Audio Cassette

Audio Cassettes

The time machine storeroom regurgitated hundreds of audio cassette tapes, which is quite convenient as the car we retrieved dates bake to the last millennium and only has a radio and cassette player. It is quite surprising that the last car produced in the USA which had a cassette player left the production line in 2010.

The one shame of the downfall of the cassette tape and the much desired and stylish for its time, Sony Cassette Walkman (which after 33 years of production ceased being made by Sony Japan in 2012), is that future love birds won't be able to provide the object of their desires with the ubiquitous mixed tape. Maybe that's a good thing.

Though on a nostalgic note, Sony are still making boom boxes with audio cassette players.

Floppy Disks
Floppy Disks

Floppy Disks

Floppy disks are a bit like 1 cent pieces, you tend to find them everywhere and they have no value. What was until recently the cutting edge way to transfer data from one computer to another, is now not even useful for their kitsch value.

Coming in both 5 and 3 inch sizes (which are two of the most random sizes ever) they were easily corrupted, held almost no information and the 5 inch ones were as easy to bend as a sheet of cardboard.

I bless the person who designed the much more useful and practical USB stick.

There was also the larger and much less used 8 inch floppy disk which was the 5 inches bigger and more bendy brother.

3.5" Floppy Disks and Reader - Proving you can still buy anything!

Do you still own any of these electronic dinosaurs?

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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Most of them I do. When I show them to my children they just laugh at me... Excellent lens though with delightful memories at the back of my head:=)

    • JenwithMisty profile image

      Jen withFlash 

      5 years ago

      Of course! I still have quite a few of them sitting around my house. I was actually quite surprised when I threw a portable CD player into a rummage sale for $3.00 that someone actually bought it. I didn't realize that anyone still uses them. LOL!

    • tedwritesstuff24 profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @Jo-Jackson: Still have most of them! Maybe it's an Australian thing ;-)

    • Jo-Jackson profile image


      5 years ago

      I still have a film camera. I've had all these except the Betamax recorder!

    • tedwritesstuff24 profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @takkhisa: Thanks for popping in

    • takkhisa profile image


      5 years ago

      Nice lens!

    • tedwritesstuff24 profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @deforst: Welcome to my world!

    • deforst profile image


      5 years ago

      Yup! I still have VHS tapes...and will still have until I can work out how to get the shows I have taped on them onto something more modern!! ;-D

    • tedwritesstuff24 profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @virtualgeek: ;-) I am glad I am not the only one surrounded by old school electronics!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      @tedwritesstuff24: btw I do own almost all of them, with the betacam recorder being the only exception >:-) Love tech-dinos badly lol

    • tedwritesstuff24 profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @virtualgeek: TY for popping in.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      great lens! TY


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