the 70's, some products were under development at Atari that probably
defined the early Atari in a nutshell... Many of the strange and
wonderful toys being built by the Atari folks at the time were cutting
edge, such as Atari's obsession with holography and its possible
application in video entertainment (end product, the "Cosmos",
more info on this soon).
products however, were at the "trippy" edge, possibly designed
while on a "tea" break or something? The Video Music was
released to the surprised consumer in 1978. It was actually designed
by Rob Brown, an Engineering Supervisor. Resembling an expensive
hi-fi separate of the time, it had sleek wood-grained sides and a modern
brushed chrome fascia.
idea behind the video music is simple - produce graphical
representations of musical input on a standard TV screen. The next
time Atari would emulate this concept was in the
CD-ROM hardware of the
Jaguar video games console, it has a built-in light synthesizer called VLM, or Video Light Machine. Of course, compared to today's
on-screen graphics, the Video Music's output is very basic and in many
ways emulates the graphical ability of the original Atari 2600 VCS.
Today, the video music is a rare and
wonderful piece of Atari History. You may have even passed upon
one at a Yard sale or second-hand electrical store but not have
realised. Only released in the USA, units in Europe are only
imported by collectors.
Want to see how it works?
Here are some cleaned scans of the original manual sent to us. The
images are large at 1118 x 563 pixels and show the pages together as
they would be viewed in the manual. We have optimised these to
ensure they are readable, but also as small in size as possible.