Home entertainment center predictions, 1959

Here's a vision of an "electronic home library" from a 1959 edition of Closer Than We Think, a futuristic newspaper strip drawn by Arthur Radebaugh: "Some unusual inventions for home entertainment and education will be yours in the future, such as the 'television recorder' that RCA's David Sarnoff described recently. With this device, when a worthwhile program comes over the air while you are away from home, or even while you're watching it, you'll be able to preserve both the picture and sound on tape for replaying at any time. Westinghouse's Gwilym Price expects such tapes to reproduce shows in three dimensions and color on screens as shallow as a picture."

Electronic Home Library (1959) (via Neatorama)


    1. Including the snow?

      How about Flash Gordon’s spaceship, the tip of which you can see breaking through the wall above the fireplace?

      Incidentally, I believe that all the furniture in the room was already for sale in ’59.

  1. Check out the fireplace with Dad’s trophy from the Chinese War–the ceremonial shield and spear of “General 72-Silver Dollar” Chang himself! Shame about Nuclear Winter. But, hey, there’s plenty to watch on TV.

  2. It took me a second to realize that the excessively reclined seats are because the entire ceiling is the screen.

  3. all that technology and canned entertainment; I’d still rather just sit in front of that fireplace.

  4. The article doesn’t address the fact that the woman on the television appears to be popping off the screen… Glasses-less 3-D already?

  5. Huh. They missed the digital distribution of 2020, but nailed the DVRs and flatscreen TVs of 2010. They even mentioned 3D.

    I’m impressed. I was expecting: “In the world of tomorrow, all Television will be delivered by hot air dirigible” or some shit.

  6. By the looks of the kid on the right, they accurately predicted the entertainment value of LSD as well.

  7. Old fart sez: Kids today don’t appreciate what a complete game-changer the VCR was. When we were children, if you didn’t watch it when it was broadcast, you didn’t see it. No watching shows when YOU wanted to. No buying DVDs of shows or movies. No catching up with Hulu. Being able to tape something because you were out, or because you were watching something else was REVOLUTIONARY. Everything else, color, HD, DVRs even cable was minor in comparison

  8. I’m so ashamed. I’ve had so many technology fantasies from my childhood fulfilled that I find myself always wanting more. Posts like this always give me a little perspective on how thankful I should be for what we do have, not to mention what we will have before my time is up. I’m only in my mid-twenties, but sometimes I wonder what it will be like when people my age are in nursing homes. My mid-western grandparents’ generation would rather die than give up their independence and ability to work. Will we all sit down for a much deserved rest and veg. out to our pristine digital media until the clock runs out?

  9. Wow, they actually got that pretty much right.

    Kinda makes you wonder what other seemingly-ridiculous technological predictions from that era will eventually come true.

  10. I have a huge collection of this strip and this must be the first time they got anything right!

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