Atari Video Music


Did you know home video game maker Atari made the earliest commercial music visualizer? Yeah!! They made it way back in 1977!! The sale price was $169.95 (that would be about $686 in 2018 dollars).

I know what you are thinking, wow that is a lot of money.. oh, and what is a music visualizer? This component was meant to be a go between with your TV and Hi-Fi Stereo. It would bring both worlds together using the music from your stereo and the colors on your TV. Plug your stereo using and RCA cable into the back of the music visualizer then plug the visualizer into the input of your TV using an RF switch ( remember them ? that little black box with a switch on it?) and watch as your music is brought to life using colors and shapes all set to your music. It has different knobs for the different effects, also you can change the colors and displays on the screen.

The effects on the screen would make some really psychedelic colors shapes and patterns.

Developed under the codename Project Mood, the Video Music unit was designed by Robert Brown, a developer of the home version of Pong. According to Atari design engineer, Al Alcorn, when Atari was on tour promoting the device, a Sears representative asked what the developers were smoking when they invented it. Fittingly, a technician stepped forward holding up a lit joint.

Although Atari had a really well made machine and people seemed to love to stare at all the colors on the TV while the live version of "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" by Iron Butterfly would play, (all 27 mins of it) sadly, the Atari Video Music Console was not a success and was out of production in only a year.

These machine are still in demand today and are used as background videos for bands while on tour, in music videos and even made an appearance in the X-Files.

Here is what the Atari Video Music Console looks like while in action, set to the classic song " Blue Monday ". Enjoy!!!


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