How did tech pioneer RCA go belly up in the 80s?

This piece in Popular Science looks at how RCA went from tech powerhouse, starting in the 1920s with the advent of radio, to techno-has-been by the mid-80s. Seems that one failed product launch sank the whole company.

In 1954, RCA revolutionized home entertainment with the launch of the first consumer color television. While it took another decade for color TV to take hold widely, the release cemented RCA as a pioneer at the forefront of media technology.

By 1985, a damaged and devalued RCA was acquired by General Electric, and 66 years of dominance in consumer electronics and communications was effectively over. So what happened? A $580 million gamble called Selectavision. 

Selectavision? How could I have never heard this story before? Or heard of this technology?  What was SelectaVision supposed to do?

In the latest video from our YouTube channel, Popular Science host Kevin Lieber dissects the ill-fated launch of the Selectavision 400. But to understand why this ambitious technology tanked an entire electronics company empire, Kevin first had to get his hands on a Selectavision and see what it could do. That's where the trouble started. 

What follows is a very fun 28 minute video that covers the host's difficulties in tracking down this lost tech and further difficulties in getting the damn thing to work here in 2024.

Booting DOS from vinyl