The Texas Instruments Home Computer gives you a tutor, an accountant, a librarian, a file clerk and a pro football team in your own home. (May, 1980)

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The Texas Instruments Home Computer gives you a tutor, an accountant, a librarian, a file clerk and a pro football team in your own home.

“What do I need with a home computer?” you ask.

Try thinking of it as easier ways to handle dozens of jobs at home – from pawing through that box of receipts in the closet to explaining adverbs to your 7-year-old.

Next, accept this reassuring thought: you can use the TI-99/4 Home Computer the first time you try.

That’s the big difference we designed into our home computer. With Solid State Software™ Command Modules that let you load a program with a flick of your wrist. With constant, step-by-step instructions built right in, that flash to the screen to tell you what to do next, and if you happen to make a mistake, how to fix it. You won’t damage a program or your ego.

It’s so simple, you can have it hooked up and giving you answers 10 minutes after you open the box.

You can use it if you can type with one finger.

And it never gets any tougher.

From the very beginning, we designed with one thing in mind: making the first home computer that’s really easy to live with.

THE HOME COMPUTER THAT TALKS It even talks. That’s right, it talks. With the available Solid State Speech™ Synthesizer and the growing family of programs with speech, it will greet you with a “Hello” and talk you through a program like an experienced co-pilot. It’s another major step from the engineers who turned synthesized speech from a technological curiosity into a simple fact of life.

Next, some of the how’s and why’s of the plug-in programs offered in the Solid State Software™ Command Modules.

EDUCATION Programs like Number Magic, Early Learning Fun and Beginning Grammar. Created by the Learning Center of Texas Instruments with the help of leading educators. Colors, music, sounds, motion, and all the capabilities of a true computer help to intrigue a child into learning. New programs are under development, including some in conjunction with Scott, Foresman & Co., one of the nation’s largest publishers of educational textbooks.

Several new programs, including the talking Early Reading, have speech to capture a child’s imagination.

HOME FINANCE Personal Record Keeping, Securities Analysis, Home Budget Management, Home Financial Decisions and more. A comprehensive selection of programs to help find and file, collect, collate, and correlate your income, your out-go, your most intriguing what-if’s. From stocks to stamps, from tax receipts to mailing lists, the home financial programs put the computer to work to keep track of your money and to keep your money on track.

ENTERTAINMENT A computerized football game that puts you and an opponent at quarterback and middle linebacker, calling offensive and defensive signals and watching sound, color and motion play out every call, based on the results of play-by-play pro football statistics. The chess program can play, and teach, any family member on three levels of expertise. It’s a worthy opponent, always ready for a game. It can play any of four styles you choose: aggressive, defensive, normal, even “losing,” if you like. It will suggest moves to you if you ask it. And at game’s end, even replay the entire thing so you can analyze it. Other TI games are also available.

And Milton-Bradley, one of the world’s foremost creators of home entertainment, has put their talents together with our engineers to bring you even more programs of computer-sharp fun and excitement.

THERE’S NO END TO IT The world of things you can do with the TI Home Computer is as varied and exciting as the capabilities of the computer itself. A world that will grow and richen at exactly the pace you choose. As your children advance in education. As your family explores the computer. As, and if, you want to do your own programming.

It will have a constantly expanding library of programs. Right now, an available telephone hook-up gives you access to wire service news, weather, stock quotations, and library services.

The price to get started with the TI-99/4? Around a thousand dollars.

Main Console Specifications: 16-bit microprocessor • 16K RAM • 26K ROM • up to 30K ROM in Solid State Software™ Command Modules • built-in BASIC • sound effects, five full octaves of music and 16-color graphics • built-in equation calculator. Accessories: 13″ color monitor • Solid State Speech™ Synthesizer • disk memory drive and control • telephone coupler (modem) • thermal printer • RS 232 interface • dual cassette cables • wired remote controllers.

Texas Instruments technology — bringing affordable electronics to your fingertips.

Texas Instruments INCORPORATED

7 comments
  1. Charlene says: April 18, 20111:09 pm

    A George Carlin look-alike, too.

  2. Toronto says: April 18, 20111:16 pm

    Charlene: I think that’s the tutor.

    “Today’s English lesson: Seven words….”

  3. slim says: April 18, 20113:33 pm

    Early home computer makers tried sooo hard to convince people that they needed their machines. My wife said that if I didn’t pick one out for the kids, she would. A friend recommended the TI-99/4A, so we bought one. The kids hardly touched it, but I practically wore it out.

  4. Dave Hurley says: April 18, 20114:22 pm

    I got a TI99/4A as it was all I could possibly afford at the time (I was about 19) and I wound up spending many hundred of hours at that thing over the next few years. Had my first computer-related all-nighter, learnt BASIC and played the games (anyone remember Parsec?).

    Thanks for the memory.

  5. Mcubstead says: April 18, 20115:23 pm

    Dave Hurlry Ditto that… I feel it gets a bit be rated, it was not the best on the planet, but I learned sprite graphics with it and few other things.

  6. Hirudinea says: April 19, 20115:57 pm

    I remember taking a computer course as a kid with these things, learned LOGO, yea, that sure comes in handy on my resume.

  7. dorkly chair of the institute for space politics says: April 19, 201111:56 pm

    Those were great machines for preschools. My mom used five of them at any given time through the nineties. Easy to boot, well protected carts, pretty good speech synth so you didn’t even need to be able to read. And after the mid 80s you could get them for about twenty bucks for a box with a computer and a mess of other stuff.

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