Once-Iconic Tech Products That Are Now a Fading Memory

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 6,308   +7,247
Landline Phones: My older family members have phone numbers they refuse to let go of so they continue to pay the fees to keep their landline phones.

Efficiency dictates that it is cheaper and more practical to simply have one number on your cellular phone so that any and all calls coming in go directly to you whether you answer them or not - let them go to voicemail or not. I don't have a landline number.
 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 6,308   +7,247
3D Television was never going to work simply because it required people to wear glasses and to sit in certain angles to the TV. When people come into your house and family room, it's best just to have the biggest possible TV you can have. Now that 70" TV is around $500 - $600, the gimmicks can pretty much be dispensed with.
 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 6,308   +7,247
In 2002 I was in Japan. I bought a Sony D-CJ01 which was the coolest looking CD player I'd ever seen and came with a cool remote control - something I'd never seen in the US up till that point.

What I really wanted was the Sony DVM-1, that at the time was retailing for well over $1000 - too rich for my blood then. A portable DVD/CD player with a handheld LCD display.

iPhone's debut in 2007 pretty much killed all of these products: MP3 players, CD players, portable DVD players, etc. If I could find one on ebay, I'd buy it because it's so rare, but it would be an expensive paperweight.
 

Dr Roboto

Posts: 22   +34
Landline Phones: My older family members have phone numbers they refuse to let go of so they continue to pay the fees to keep their landline phones.

Efficiency dictates that it is cheaper and more practical to simply have one number on your cellular phone so that any and all calls coming in go directly to you whether you answer them or not - let them go to voicemail or not. I don't have a landline number.
I still have a land line phone for two reasons. First, it is bundled with my internet and cable TV. If I want those two items, I get the phone line even if I don't want it. Second, as much as people want to think cell reception is omnipresent, it is not. I live in a nice neighborhood just 30 minutes from several major cities, but due to the location of my house relative to the cell tower (house is down over a hill) I have one bar and most of the time cannot make a call (even though my iphone has wifi calling enabled).

Landlines are still just a necessity in my places in the US. I can think of many places that I travel that have zero cell service.
 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 6,308   +7,247
In 1992, AT&T had a Videophone (2500) for $1500. Back in the days when you had to pay your phone bill at the store itself, I'd go with my parents to pay the phone bill and see it sitting there. Always wanted it just because it was so cool. Fast forward to the now and I am talking to people on my applewatch or Facetiming them from 8000 miles away in Maldives with an iPhone.
 

DZillaXx

Posts: 527   +676
3D Television was never going to work simply because it required people to wear glasses and to sit in certain angles to the TV. When people come into your house and family room, it's best just to have the biggest possible TV you can have. Now that 70" TV is around $500 - $600, the gimmicks can pretty much be dispensed with.

3D TV's died off largely because making a 4K 3D tv was impossible at the time. For one HDMI didn't have the bandwidth for it, and second making a 4K screen that was capable of displaying 3D at 4K was not capable of being produced. Plus with the lack of content, it was clear to see why the feature was forgotten.

3D @1080p at the time was pushing the HDMI bandwidth limits, and even then for side by side content you were looking at 720p video anyways. There was more advanced ways to push 3D than side by side, but for me side by side was how 90% of my digital 3D content is stored. I still have my old 1080p dlp projector with 3D and my active shutter glasses, haven't used 3D in years. But the experience is just as good as it was in theaters.


The glasses suck, I would love to see something like the 3D effect found in the 3DS brought to TV's in the future. The Depth effect in the 3DS games that really show it off was just great. Maybe in 10 years.
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 3,364   +5,590
3D TV's died off largely because making a 4K 3D tv was impossible at the time. For one HDMI didn't have the bandwidth for it, and second making a 4K screen that was capable of displaying 3D at 4K was not capable of being produced. Plus with the lack of content, it was clear to see why the feature was forgotten.

3D @1080p at the time was pushing the HDMI bandwidth limits, and even then for side by side content you were looking at 720p video anyways. There was more advanced ways to push 3D than side by side, but for me side by side was how 90% of my digital 3D content is stored. I still have my old 1080p dlp projector with 3D and my active shutter glasses, haven't used 3D in years. But the experience is just as good as it was in theaters.


The glasses suck, I would love to see something like the 3D effect found in the 3DS brought to TV's in the future. The Depth effect in the 3DS games that really show it off was just great. Maybe in 10 years.
4k wouldnt save 3d. 3d just plain sucked, as quantum said having to sit at a ertian angle ruined the experience.
Virtually every medical office in the USA still uses a fax machine to this day

Also, when I worked in on air cable everyone still used digi-Beta even up to a decade ago
Fax will frankly never die, as no digital replacements are 100% compliant and most corporate printers can do faxing.
 

mgwerner

Posts: 172   +241
I still have a land line phone for two reasons. First, it is bundled with my internet and cable TV. If I want those two items, I get the phone line even if I don't want it. Second, as much as people want to think cell reception is omnipresent, it is not. I live in a nice neighborhood just 30 minutes from several major cities, but due to the location of my house relative to the cell tower (house is down over a hill) I have one bar and most of the time cannot make a call (even though my iphone has wifi calling enabled).

Landlines are still just a necessity in my places in the US. I can think of many places that I travel that have zero cell service.
Much of the developing world skipped a level (copper) and adopted cellular service throughout the country. My cell reception was always better overseas, including in the desert of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, than it was within sight of the end of the runway in Savannah, GA.
 
D

Dd663

Great article. I'm not that old, nearing thirty, but I've been around to see most of this. The only ones I didn't experience in any way were Betamax and 3D TVs.

They still used overhead projectors in the 2000s when I was in school. I think it wasn't until I was in high school that I stopped seeing them, probably because my high schools had a higher budget for things like digital projectors.

How did pagers work, anyway? Did they connect to something like cell towers, or were they short range only? My dad had a pager for work, I remember.

I never got to try using a 3D TV in person.

I suspect most people who were around in the late 90s and early 2000s know that old dial-up screech by heart.

Fax machines are still around, of course, but I don't remember my family having one until we got a printer with one built-in in the 2010s, I believe. They're still relevant for businesses, not so much for regular people.
 

Tinckerbel

Posts: 11   +17
I just can't wait to add Mark Zuckerberg's Metaverse VR thing to this list.

I think it will go down a similar path as the 3D TV did and the 3D TV was, mind you way more comfortable than a VR headset. You were only required to sit on your couch with a comfortable pair of glasses and that's it. And even that was too much for the mainstream to adapt it and become a success.

Now look at the 'comfort' and niche of VR and add Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg to that equation. It's dead on arrival.
 

defaultluser

Posts: 409   +332
If you think DVD players are dead, they still live-on in this one undefeated format:


https://www.amazon.com/Best-Sellers-Portable-DVD-Players/zgbs/electronics/172521

Parents on trips with their kids just want something to distract their kids with that doesn't require an internet connection. There is no Blu-ray, because the benefits on such a small screen are small!

There's also an SDcard slot in many of these., if you want to carry a digital rip.
 
Most desktop PCs still come with optical drives (DVD-RW). As for landlines, they are better in an emergency since the responders know your address. I still buy Blu-ray disks for movies I like since I only pay for these one time and don't have to go looking for which streaming is offering a title.
 

envirovore

Posts: 466   +868
TechSpot Elite
VHS won over Betamax because the porn industry sided with the VHS format, not due to cost of manufacture.

Really, porn tends to be the driving factor in the format wars.

Porn killed HD DVD.
Porn was the first format to offer online payments.


https://www.businessinsider.com/how-porn-drives-innovation-in-tech-2013-7
 

BadThad

Posts: 1,037   +1,190
I still have a land line phone for two reasons. First, it is bundled with my internet and cable TV. If I want those two items, I get the phone line even if I don't want it. Second, as much as people want to think cell reception is omnipresent, it is not. I live in a nice neighborhood just 30 minutes from several major cities, but due to the location of my house relative to the cell tower (house is down over a hill) I have one bar and most of the time cannot make a call (even though my iphone has wifi calling enabled).

Landlines are still just a necessity in my places in the US. I can think of many places that I travel that have zero cell service.

Same deal here, I live in the suburbs of a giant city but my house is in a valley - we get zero to 1 bar of strength (if you're outside in just the right spot). Since our landline is bundled-in with internet and TV, it's dirt cheap ($6/mo) and 100% reliable - even when the power is out.

People also seem to forget - millions live in rural areas that have no cell service.
 

BadThad

Posts: 1,037   +1,190
Most desktop PCs still come with optical drives (DVD-RW). As for landlines, they are better in an emergency since the responders know your address. I still buy Blu-ray disks for movies I like since I only pay for these one time and don't have to go looking for which streaming is offering a title.

No they don't, most DON'T come with an optical drive anymore. Your information is as old as the devices in this article!
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 7,698   +6,636
I still have my PCs from the '80s, 3.5" diskettes, cassette tapes and a player. The ZX Spectrum has an RF modulator but I doubt TVs include the VHF band anymore, so there's nothing to display the output.
Actually, high VHF, channels 7 - 13, are still around and most ATSC 1.0 tuners do tune them. There are DTV channels throughout the US that use those channels. That said, tuners these days typically are not equipped to decode analog signals any more. Most of those RF Modulators were low VHF channels 2 - 6. AFAIK, no TV these days includes a low VHF tuner. I am pretty sure the band was sold off for use as cell phone service by the FCC.
I just can't wait to add Mark Zuckerberg's Metaverse VR thing to this list.

I think it will go down a similar path as the 3D TV did and the 3D TV was, mind you way more comfortable than a VR headset. You were only required to sit on your couch with a comfortable pair of glasses and that's it. And even that was too much for the mainstream to adapt it and become a success.

Now look at the 'comfort' and niche of VR and add Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg to that equation. It's dead on arrival.
People simply did not like 3D TV. As the article said, its usefulness was in question. If 3D were like R2D2 projecting Obi-Wan, maybe 3D TV would make a comeback, however, that level of 3D realism is something that still seems a long way off. IMO, even 3D in the theater is junk. Most movie theater projectionists have no clue that if they turned the brightness up on their projectors, 3D in the theater would be significantly better. That said, I saw several 3D movies in the theater, and it never really added anything to the experience, IMO. As I see it, the only movie 3D ever added anything to was https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1664894
 

envirovore

Posts: 466   +868
TechSpot Elite
No they don't, most DON'T come with an optical drive anymore. Your information is as old as the devices in this article!

I can't even install an optical drive in my case of I wanted to.
The giant mesh front panel and 2x200mm fans serve more purpose than a drive for a format I don't even have anything usable on anymore.