Mac TV

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The first cable-ready Macintosh! No, not ready for a cable modem – ready for cable TV.

Macitosh TV

More or less a black LC 520 (complete with a black mouse and black keyboard), Macintosh TV lets you watch 16-bit TV or use 8-bit computer graphics. (Assuming you were in the US, Canada, or some other country using NTSC video. Mac TV doesn’t support any other broadcast standard.)

Macintosh TV

This was perhaps the oddest Macintosh ever. It was the last desktop Mac with a 68030 processor, the first with a built-in TV tuner, the first black desktop Mac, and the first Mac to ship with a remote control. It is the only model in the “500 Series” that doesn’t have an available PDS (Processor Direct Slot) – that gave way to the TV tuner. The built-in 14″ Trinitron monitor displays 16-bit TV images, but only 8-bit computer graphics. Software allows it to capture a single TV frame as a PICT file.

Alas, you can’t watch TV and compute at the same time. It was an interesting experiment, marketed exclusively through consumer electronic channels. If it had used a 68040 CPU giving users the option of watching TV in a small window while computing or the ability to capture TV as a QuickTime movie, this could have been a serious contender. Instead, it is a curious footnote in Apple’s history.

Despite using a 32 MHz CPU, Mac TV is about 15% slower than the 25 MHz LC III and LC 520 because it uses a 16 MHz data bus. Cleverly designed in some ways, intentionally crippled in others, Mac TV merits the Road Apple label. The biggest drawbacks are a complete lack of upgrade options (without losing the TV features) and an 8 MB memory ceiling.

Regardless, this Mac looks great in black. Too bad only 10,000 were ever produced, making it one the most rare Macs ever.

Details

  • introduced 1993.10.25 at $2,079; discontinued 1994.04
  • requires System 7.1 (with Enabler 404) to 7.6.1
  • CPU: 32 MHz 68030
  • FPU: none, not even as an option
  • Performance: 7.0 MIPS
  • ROM: 1 MB
  • RAM: 5 MB from factory (4 MB on motherboard, expandable to 8 MB using a single 100ns 72-pin SIMM; can use 1 MB or 4 MB SIMM)
  • video: 512 KB VRAM; supports 640 x 480 at 8-bits
  • L2 cache: none
  • Hard drive: 60 MB
  • CD-ROM: 2x
  • ADB: 2 ports for keyboard and mouse
  • serial: 2 DIN-8 RS-422 ports on back of computer
  • SCSI: DB-25 connector on back of computer
  • Hard drive: 160 MB
  • no expansion slots
  • size (HxWxD): 17.9″ x 13.5″ x 16.5″
  • Weight: 40.5 lb.
  • PRAM battery: 3.6V half-AA
  • Gestalt ID: 88
  • addressing: 32-bit

Online Resources

Cautions

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