Before Apple TV, There Was This Bizarre Apple Product

The Apple Macintosh TV went on sale in 1993 with a hefty price tag of $2,099 — that’s the equivalent of more than $4,200 in 2022. It was effectively a variant of the Macintosh LC 520 that immediately captivated the Mac community with its slick black case and built-in TV tuner card. The model had a port on the rear of the device that allowed users to plug their TV antenna or cable service directly into it. The Mac TV included one of Apple’s first television remotes and allowed users to change channels, control volume, and perform the other typical functions you’d expect at the time. In many ways, it was ahead of its time, but like many good ideas that go by the wayside, it wasn’t especially well executed.

Although the Macintosh TV had a dazzling 14-inch Sony-sourced Trinitron monitor and was powered by a state-of-the-art 32 MHz Motorola 68030 CPU, it was actually slower than the 25 MHz Macintosh LC 520 because it used a slow 16 MHz data bus and had an 8 MB RAM ceiling. By adding a TV tuner card, the model lost its only upgrade port, limiting its versatility while its graphics performance was also stunted at just 8-bits (although the TV tuner was a full 16-bit system). While it offered an enticing glimpse at the future of multimedia consumption on computers in the living room, the company ended up shipping only 10,000 units and the model was pulled from sale just six months after its launch, according to Ars Technica.

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