The VideoBrain Family Computer was designed and produced by Umtech Inc., doing business as the VideoBrain Computer Company of California in 1977. It was not widely available, although Macys department store briefly carried the computer on its shelves. It was sold in various configurations, and the price ranged from $500 to $1100 depending on the accessories chosen. New software for the VideoBrain was available on cartridge, which was a first for home computer systems. (Later price reductions brought costs down to $300 for the computer by itself, and $350900 for the packaged deals).
Available software ranged in price from $2040 for video games and educational software, and $70150 for productivity tools.
The VideoBrain was an 8-bit cartridge-based computer that first hit stores in 1977. Boasting four joystick ports and a palette of 16 colors, it seemed tailor-made for gamers, much like the Commodore 64 which came out five years later. Unfortunately, very few games were actually produced for the system and it swiftly sank into obscurity.
The VideoBrain was discontinued in 1979; a mere two years after it launched. As youd imagine, this makes it a rare collectors item – if you see one at auction it probably wont come cheap.
VideoBrain Family Computer
Introduced: December 1977
Released: March 1978
CPU: Fairchild F8 @ 1.79MHz
Memory: 1K RAM
Display: 16 colors to TV (RF 3 or 4)
400 x 160 graphics
1000 characters of text
Ports: joystick, expansion
Storage: optional cassette recorder
OS: optional APL/S