Was Thomson the French Apple? | The Story of Thomson Computers (Pt1, revised)

Was Thomson the French Apple? |  The Story of Thomson Computers (Pt1, revised)

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This episode, is supported, by monster, joysticks, calm level, up your Raspberry Pi with our all-in-one arcade, kit using genuine Sanwa, arcade, barks. Hello. Cave dwellers make yourselves comfortable, because today we travel to France to. Learn about a company who like many others desperately, wanted to mimic Apple success in the US. Mania. Caprichos, Dupre soup Tila sale effect of Qi. They. Wanted to emulate acorn, computers success. In the British educational, market. And they. Wanted to set the standard, for future micros. In Europe. Today. We dust off the story of Thompson, computers. This. Mean looking machine is the Thompson mo5. And this, is my, mo 5e, which was designed for export, to countries like Italy, Germany and Spain they're. Just two models in a range which tell the story of French company, Thompson, or Technicolor. As the company has been known since 2010. And their decade-long attempt, to emulate the success of Apple and corner, the home in educational, microcomputer. Market in France in. This series we'll take a look at this machine in action and we'll learn of the trials and tribulations Thompson. Went through from, 1979. Through to 1989, when it was active in the home micro market, but. First where, exactly did Thompson, come from. It, is perhaps ironic. Then that the story in which France wants to impress its identity, on the nation's fledgling, home computer, industry, begins, outside its borders with this man Elihu, Thompson, an English man born in 1853. Who, migrated, with his family to the USA, aged five by. 1879. He'd become an engineer and formed the thomson-houston. Electric company. With, Edwin Houston, a company. Which went on to merge with the prolific inventor, and businessman, Thomas. Edison, to, form the famous General Electric Company in 1892. Only. A year later in 1893. A sister company was set up in France which would go on to become the modern Thompson, group as we know it its, goal to exploit, its patents in transport, production. And the electricity, industries, in France in, the 20th century Thompson. Became independent, of General Electric and spawned, sub companies, including, Alstom for railways brand, for washing machines and fridges EF, C is for semiconductors. Who would go on to become, STMicroelectronics. Through subsequent mergers, and Master. No, not the car manufacturer, but the makers of batteries, and light bulbs the. List of industries, and products, they're involved, in covered everything from sewing machines and movie projectors, to weapons radars, and much more, further. Acquisitions and, restructures saw the company renamed to Technicolor, in 2010, a name, by which the group is still known today although the Thompson, branding, is still, used as we'll find out later but. The period of this company's history I'm really interested in is that of their home computer, efforts starting, from 1979. It. Was in this year that Jose Arad an employee of Thompson was, chosen to create the micro computer prototype, for widespread home adoption, Thompson. Did specify that it needed to have a character. Set compatible, with, their fledgling Minitel service as well as connectivity, functionality. He. Should first and foremost be, a consumer, product was, very forward-thinking in, the way that the users may interact with the system and of. Course France had to address the wider issue that. High import, taxes, meant foreign, companies like Apple were less likely to come into their market, unless major concessions, were made by the state to, make it worthwhile for them to regionalize, their products. The, goal then was, to create Frances own homegrown Apple. 2 computer. Its. 1980, now and the prototype specifications. Are revealed for Thompson's first computer, and they are proficient for the time it houses an 8-bit Motorola, 6809. ECP. You as also, used in the trs-80, color computer with, up to 32 k of ram, another. Division of the company Thompson, EFC, is was. Already manufacturing. Motorola, compatible, processors for, the French military thus, the division who would go on to become. STMicroelectronics, so. The 6809. II was a natural, choice for them very. Interestingly though, they specified, a 320. By, 240. Boot. Menu mice, were not yet in the mainstream but, an electronic, pen was bundled is standard. Innovative. And high resolution stuff. At the time, some. Thompson executives, is reported, still, needed convincing as to how consumers, would put this shiny new technology, to use but, nevertheless they, said we we and they approved the design for the Thompson, to7, which, went into full development. By. 1981, the world was waking up to the idea of home computers, following, Apple's success in the US with the Apple to Apple, had made a turnover, of over 330. Million dollars, in 1981. A quarter, of which was made abroad an, Apple turnover Thompson. Very much wanted a sly self and, now the Apple had opened European, offices in France, Thompson.

Were Feeling threatened. Meanwhile. Over the English Channel Sir Clive Sinclair's, mail-order zx80. Computer, was making, waves the, applications, for home micros were becoming clear and the, demand was increasing, as was the competition, Thompson. Was very nearly not a part of that competition because before, their first computer even made it to market the, wider Thompson, group was in a lot of trouble by 1982. In, this year while Sinclair was thriving, Thompson, was hemorrhaging money with reported, losses of over 1 billion francs, that's. Around 120. Million pounds or 170. Million u.s. dollars whether. It was due to national pride, or they were simply too big to fail the, French government stepped in nationalized. And restructured. It cutting, losses in Deadwood from the company in the process, as. A result the state is now the main shareholder, of Thompson, but crucially, development, of the to7, survives, the. State considering, not only the development of micros to be important, but, also potential, advances, it could deliver to its Ministry, of Defence and, so. The to7, was presented, to the press that same year who praised his exceptional. Image quality and colors complemented. By an integrated, scarf socket while. It impressed visually, it notably, lacked a proper sound chip and contained, only a beeper for audio, it. Performed well despite, the 7000, franc price tag making, it more expensive than a Commodore 64 but, significantly. Cheaper than an Apple 2 Thompson. Was now in the shops and crucially, in the home computer business. Those. Machines would become more affordable in 1983. When they have the price that brought them in line with the Commodore, 64 in. Terms of price but not in terms of specification. Because. It still had half the RAM of the Commodore 64 K, that. Was until 1984. When the new tio 717. Model was released which, addressed, various, issues found, in the original model it, also expanded, the RAM to 64 K extendable. To 128. K and introduced, a video gate array the, result was a machine that could display 16 instead, of 8 colors on the screen at once as, well as an improved keyboard, instead, of the chiclet style keys, on the launch model, the. Launch of the to7 70 was also complemented. By a cut-down version the. Mo 5 the. Hat 48k, of ram and it retailed, at two thousand three hundred and ninety francs, which is about two hundred and fifty five pounds or four hundred US dollars, the. Mo 5 ee here was also released for export, although, it was popular within France because the improved, keyboard built-in. Joystick, port and ever, so slightly upgraded B, / 4b Pierre beeps made, it a more attractive proposition. While, the tio 770, was targeting, the Apple twos and the Commodore 64's, of the world the, mo 5 was target in the humble, ZX Spectrum, market but. There was a problem, mo. And tio models, were, not cross compatible, software had to be adjusted by developers, in order to make them work on each system, that. Would go on to be a recurring. Problem that would haunt Thompson, over, the duration, of its microcomputer. Lifetime. Which. Basra G solid. Animal Tom's turn the, mo sangrita, F single amico illative. Just. As the UK had a thriving computers, for schools program which saw the BBC, micro land, in most schools, across the country France, launched, planning from a deep pot - although computers.

For All plan this, plan was initiated, and led by politician, georgette servants Gruber who made it clear that his preferred choice for the program of, 120,000. Machines in 50,000. Schools was. A customized Apple Macintosh, I. Mean. Again Macintosh. Probably. Get that up earlier and you know I'm on Yahoo any point for making and, so meetings, took place with Apple Steve Jobs and John Sculley and which Jobs explained, to the French delegates, his vision for them of a computer, that would liberate people, give them creativity. And freedom, sentiments. Echoed in the famous Apple George Orwell, commercial, of 1984. Liberation. Freedom and creativity surely. Enough to take the boxes of any proud, French politician. The. Mcintoshes, would include, 256. Kilobytes, of RAM doubled. The standard specification. After, Jobs initial rejection of, a requested, 512. Kilobytes and, networking. Ability should be built in Apple, also signaled their intention, to build an ultra-modern, manufacturing. Unit in France shifting. From its planned Irish site which, would allow them to supply. 120,000. Machines at a cost of 10 to 12,000, francs per unit that's about 1050. Pounds, or. 1350. US dollars and that. Which was inclusive of favorable, bulk pricing was. The worm in the Apple the. French state could purchase five homegrown, Thompson, demo 5s for the cost of one Apple, Macintosh, the, Apple was just too expensive to swallow France. Needed its own Apple and turned to French companies, Excel vision Leonard, SMT. Group Bill bull, log. A backs and Thompson. Thompson. Won a contract to initially deliver 40,000. Computers, a boon, for the company although it was won at the expense of very. Tight profit margins. Thompson. However were hopeful, that schoolchildren, would want the continuity. Of owning the same micros at home as they, had at school and. Also attempted to profit from the ongoing maintenance of, the machines in the school but. They press their services, so highly, that it soon became obvious that it was more economical for schools to operate their, own in-house, IT services. The. Project they would popularize, the, Nano risu or nano network a small, computer network of Thomson computers, for example managed. By a central PC which, could send programs to the terminals, to execute. Like. Every, kid my age who grew up in France I was, exposed to Thomson computers, for, the, better part of the 80s, even, though I never owned one because, it was computers, where. At school, primary. School middle school. And, I even remember the computer, room, at ski camp with, angle fives and tio sevens, the. Keyboard, was, funny because, there. Were two versions people. Who had a demo 5 at home like, decent it's, like a keyboard but, the keyboards, we had we're rubbery. And gummy, and re sucked I think, maybe it was because they didn't want the classrooms, to be super noisy so, they put, it like a keyboard there the. Classrooms, had like a bunch of fimo fives and were, all hooked up with I couldn't. Tell you what type of cable -. PC. Running dos and the, teacher would, load. Whatever. Programs, he wanted to use from a floppy, on the PC who, would then push, the. The programs, of all the mo fives in the room at the same time and, then the class would start but. I remember, from that time was, that loading. The programs, from, the. Network, was like super, fast compared, to loading, cassettes, like I was doing at home and. I remember learning. Two. Languages there, so, the, beginner, languages. This. Was. Long ago the, point of. Logo. Which we do as a kid was programmer, little turtle that was just a green triangle on the screen and, you. Would give it instructions like. If. The pen. Look 50 turn, right look. Down the pan. 3. Etc. To, make drawings. The. Second language we were, learning was, a Microsoft. Basic it. Came in a cartridge, and, while.

That Was just a normal basic, what. Was called learning, it at Computer, Club was that I, learned. A little more than what I could pick up by myself, copying. Listings from magazines, and books on my home computer. So, only now I'm really, grateful, for these little computers because I learned a lot from them. And. I'm. Also grateful, for the opportunity, to have. Access to them and I, think, it was pretty, good that every. Kid could access these computers, especially for kids who couldn't even kids. Who couldn't afford any because, it was not a given at the time. However. As. A conclude I would say that I was free, relief, a few years later when. I needed a new, computer, that my, parents didn't give me one of these I, got. Our Terry ST instead, and. That's. About it about the Thomson computers, back to the cave. Outside. Of the educational, arena the arrival, of the Amstrad CPC in France introduced, a well-priced, competitor. In the home micro market, while, the debut of the Amiga 1000, potentially, painted a picture of, the future of computing beyond a bit micros until. Now Thompson's focus had been on recreating the success of Apple and, with the help of the computer, plan for all it, had managed to sell over half, a million machines, many of them airmote fives the foresight. That had led them to create the machine in the first place however was, now waning, and their, focus on the 8-bit market, was at the detriment, of having, a 16-bit, machine prepared for the next generation, come. You now did they start making moves to develop a 16-bit, Micro in collaboration. With the British company acorn and it's, now parent, company, Olivetti, after. The Italian firm bought out acorn in 1985. The, machine was optimistically. Planned for release in. April 1987. And so, came the second, generation of Thomson computers. Or did they. The. To9 was, launched in 1985. With, 128, K of RAM upgradeable, to 192. K, the, disk drive was included, and a PC like case with a detachable keyboard, to, give the Machine a more classy, look although, it was somewhat let down by its plastic, construction, while. The tio 770. Was intended, to be a French Apple to the to9, was to be the French Macintosh, with, new video modes including, a 2 color 640. By 200, high resolution, mode and, a total palette of 4096. Colours. Until. Now the pen had been the standard peripheral, but now a mouse bought was included, and a six bit audio DAC but, at the heart of the to9, Thompson's. New powerhouse on the computing, scene was, the very same one megahertz 8-bit, CPU of, first generation models. This. Was second generation, by age alone, and not by technical, advancement. Thompson. Would go on to repeat its mistakes with, a slew of new model releases in the, face of an increasingly, popular and easy-to-understand. Amstrad. CPC range, the. Four six four six, six four and six. One two eight. Demonstrated. Here by Thomas. Thompson. Released no less than six models, between 1985. And 1987. Including. The mo6 with joystick, and sound upgrade, the, mo 5 NR which was an mo 6 with built-in networking, to support those nano networks the. To8, which had 256. K of RAM and more video modes the, tio 9 Plus which was a to9 with, 512. K of RAM and a built-in modem and the to8. D which, was a tier 8 with a built-in floppy drive, and of, course what they all had in common was. That one megahertz 8-bit, CPU used. All the way back in their 1982. Model. One. Man who experienced, this second wave of machines, firsthand was, mo 6 owner Nicolas and, here he is sharing, his memories of that time with us. I. Got. The name of 6 around 87. Maybe we. Didn't. Buy it actually, but.

We Wanted my, mother she filled the contest entry form with, about, Underpants, that she bought for me and surprise. Surprise two, months later we had a big, box waiting for us I was, so excited but. My mother wanted to wait for my father to come back from work before planning it. Initially. I didn't, really realize that there were other computers. Out there and possibly better ones I did. Happen though maybe, one year after we got to Samsung I went. To visit friend who had a Commodore, 64 and we played Bruce Lee on it and I. Remember thinking at the time yeah. I wish I had had this one instead I used, the mo 6 exclusively. For games one. I really liked was four-legged, or the, Golden Eagle I guess it. Was an adventure slash, RPG game, where, you had to extraordin. Another. One I liked was on, hockey and hockey but. It actually scared, me a little with, its, dark graphics, and ominous, sound effects and weird, enemies so I didn't, play for too long usually by. The time we thought about grading. Some, Sun had stopped making computers, and it. Didn't really make sense stick with a bitch anyway, so, we, got the not hairy XD instead but, this one didn't get set up in my bedroom and fortunately, and the. Mo6 was quickly, forgotten. It's. Still in my parents, basement soil. And my. Father actually dug it up when I was talking about it a couple of days ago and looking. At it the poor thing is already in a need of a trash to treasure of, style restoration, I think. In. 1986. Thompson had a decision to make with no third generation, machine to expand on their questionable. Second generation range Amstrad, now dominating. The French home computer, market and the, threat of MSX, computers, becoming the new standard, Thompson, decided, to adopt the IBM pc-compatible approach. The, educational, sector was still Thompson's primary, target, and they did manage to win a tender to supply and not unsubstantial. Thirteen thousand IBM pc compatibles, to schools and colleges in 1987. With their new tio 16, PCM. And XP range of computers, five. Prototypes of a motorola 68000. Based tio 16, were, produced, but consigned, to the scrap heap as Thompson committed, fully to IBM pc compatibles. As. 1988. Rolled around after, selling just 60,000. Over forecasts 150,000, computers, the, writing was really on the wall for Thompson and by, January 1989. The. Inevitable, announcement, was made Thompson, had now abandoned. Micro computing, citing. That they intended to focus on consumer and, defense, electronics the. French home computer, market was Amstrad to dominate until, the Ataris amigas, and eventually, pcs took a hold and Thompson. Became yet. Another footnote in. 8-bit micro, history. In. Many ways the Thompson story eights that of the mini tail over here Thompson's. Attitude, of build it and they will come was. A great mentality in the application, of their creation, their. Entry into the market was well-received despite, a slightly higher than normal price tag sales, were good but. Over, time whether, it was due to state, ownership or just, mismanagement, that foresight, was lost and with it the reputation of the company, despite. Producing a high-quality PC. In their tio 16 which, was very well received by the press the. Damage was done Thompson's. Were associated, with old computers, that lived in the corners and cupboards, of neglected, classrooms, Thompson. Didn't vanish though they. Continued to produce and sell consumer electronics. As was their focus now and. Then in 2015, their name appeared on laptops. In the style of the slimline Apple. MacBook. So. While the story of their first foray into micro, computers, didn't end well for them the story is far from over maybe. This time they'll, think different, I. Hope. You'll join me in part 2 where we look at the mo 5e, specifically. Show, it in use and put. It head-to-head with his archrival the, Amstrad CPC, until. Then thank, you for watching and take, care. If. You enjoyed this video and you'd like to support future similar content, then why not join the list of people scrolling, up the screen here on patreon, with a small donation to the cave thank, you each and every one of you for your ongoing support. You.

2018-06-20 22:15

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(This revised release includes a small correction clarifying the CPU model in the TRS80 Colour Computer) Thank you all for watching, and a special thank you to Bastien for getting the Thomson MO5E over to me from France. If you enjoyed this then please take a moment subscribe for more retro computer goodness. Did you use a Thomson or any other French micros in the 80's? Maybe you have a Thomson laptop now... let us know in the comments! Neil - RMC

RetroManCave hi love your channel, I would like to ask you a question in regards to repairs. I have an old pong clone that I really want to get going. I have worked out parts that need replacing but cant find a name for them due to very little info on the internet for these old console. Where do you find motherboard layout and or part names? I'm really noob but find it very interesting

Ok, that explains why I thought I watched this more than 22 minutes ago! :D

The thumbnail is a little misleading, as the 5 looks a LOT like an S.

[copying from previous video revision] When i was a kid i got an Olivetti Prodest Pc128 which is actually a rebranded MO6. I learned basic on it, but as a gaming machine it was rather disappointing. It sold very little here in Italy and being Olivetti a brand most devoted to office equipment (typewriter, photocopier, ...) i had to go that kind of shops to buy games. It is still there in my parents attics if you need it ...

“An Apple turnover Thomson very much wanted a slice of”. Pure scriptwriting genius sir.

great video!, I didn't even know these computers existed!!.

Is there a problem with the sound on this video. It seems very muffled?

No problem. I may be on the wrong side of 40 but ears are pretty good :)

Robert Kähler ok well thanks for the feedback. If anyone else has the same experience please do comment.

Just listened to the latest Shango066 video - grundig radio and its crystal clear and in full stereo.

Yes on the headphones it sounds very muffled and in mono... tried on a few techmoan vids and sounds fine.

Yes. The audio seems clipped on S words as if the bitrate is a bit low.. Ive tried on two HP elitebook laptops both with stereo sounds. and as soon as i can I will try my main PC with my big creative labs and also a pair of headphones.

I've not had any comments about the sound on this or the previous revision (7k views) so I'm fairly confident it's fine. Is it the whole video you're having issues with?

whow! never heard or see one of this pearls ... thanks for the review and historicle view - thumps up!

Random fact: Olivetti re-released the MO6 under the name of "Olivetti P128 Prodest", with a slight translation of the startup menu of the machine in Italian and a different color scheme. I honestly think that, as an old computer, the MO6/Prodest design is fantastic, and when my machine will die I'll probably keep the case. I also think that a video on Olivetti would be needed, it was a pretty interesting company... That died (as a major IT company) due to the poor decisions of the italian government.

This was really interesting. A piece of history that I don't ever remember hearing about at the time in the UK or covered anywhere else since. Like the Spectrum clones video you did it's a fascinating insight. Looking forward to Part 2.

Problem with France and all EU nations is their socialist principles. Thomson should have ceased to exist and let market forces of capitalism take care of it. When the French gov bought it out for its protectionistic agenda - the innovation probably stopped because of cost driven decisions. It's funny how EU nations look down on UK or USA, yet the true innovation of the west stems from there. Without the USA, EU nations are just a hairs breath away from Communism akin to China with marxism stunting all free thought and innovation. Amstrad was a true product of capitalism with market forces tailoring the product at the right price point to create something innovative and wanted. The French will always be arrogant and clueless - look at them now drowning in the pit of socialism and mess that is the EU, yet they will remain arrogant to point of denying their own faults. Thomson computers were shit - an attempt by the french state to be protectonistic against foreign brands.

Brittania USA are experts at subsidising their oil, defense and other companies including hi tec. You should do your home work and research. If you are from the UK, Acorn was subsidised too (education niche market) so in a way ARM is the result of socialism too.

This has nothing to do with socialism, and everything to do with nationalism (something you might be able to grasp considering your handle). Thomson was the French provider for a lot of strategic parts like radars for the Mirages, computer guidance for our missiles and cpus for trains and such. Hence it couldn't go under at that time which was almost the height of the cold war (say what you want about socialists, they're not too keen on having soviet tanks rolling down the Champs Élysées). Better think of it a defense tax.

Brittania blablabla ... and then nobody cared.

7:40 Sorry to nitpick, but while you are right the keyboard improved between the original TO7 and the revised TO7-70, it's because the TO7-70 was blessed *with* a chicklet keyboard instead of the previous membrane one, zx81 style. The "typewriter" keyboard was initially a 3rd party after market add-on, and then Thomson in late 85 retrofitted some models with a real keyboard. The TO7-70 chicklet was a bit better than the MO5 or ZX Spectrum one because the keys had a "hardened" top surface, but it still felt like a dead fish to the touch. The main difference between the TO7 and the TO7-70, aside from the upgraded RAM, was the BASIC in ROM. On the original TO7, the Basic was on a separate cartridge (sold separately, expensive), and the machine only had a very primitive monitor in ROM. HTH, keep on the good work ;-)

Fascinating stuff. I liked the bit about winning a computer with a pair of underpants. You don't hear enough stories like that any more.

@serpentZA Sent me. Yeah! great channel :)

Thank you and welcome

Fantastic programme. Worthy of a public broadcast!

Very kind thank you it was a pleasure to share with you guys

You're welcome Neil. Always a pleasure. 8^)

It's France, the government is too much involved.

replace thomson by philips msx and you have a story about microcomputers in schools in the netherlands.

That reminded me of when I used home micros in school. In the States, my school had TRS-80 Color Computers, which was what I also had at home, and we learned Logo on it. They were networked together to save & load programs quicker than using tapes but it had to be done one...computer...at...a...time....without any screw ups. Usually though the computers used in schools (Apple II's & BBC Micros) were too expensive to be purchased for home use so we had cheaper ones like the C64's & ZX's.

@serpentza sent me in the comments :D

Amazing video this is Neil. I'm not very knowledgeable regarding French technology, but after seeing this, it's really an eye opener for me to be curious on what the French have to offer in regards to technology. 8^) Nice work as always Neil. This made my day for sure,. 8^) Anthony..

Thank you as always for watching Anthony I appreciate it

In general it’s the government that funds development of new technology then a capitalist system refines it and makes it profitable. The U.K. invented a lot of the basic tech in WW2 but we gave it away to the yanks who made a fortune from it.

Neil, brilliant work as always. As a cave dweller from "across the pond", I enjoy earning about machines I never knew existed. Cheers!

For a moment I thought my message was deleted! Then I realised that this is a new version of the video. Great video, as always! Keep up the good work.

Awful computers in this time, nostalgia gets me when I see it now :)

Awesome video, never knew of this company, but kind of glad we never got them here in the USA, and I got the VIC-20, and later on the C64, C128, and Apple II IE as my 8 bit computers before moving onto PC clones.

In, the second part, please have a small space for homebrew productions including games (https://www.6502man.com/RetroCoding/SecteNoire/SecteNoire.php ) or demos (http://www.pulsdemos.com, http://www.pouet.net/prodlist.php?platform%5B%5D=Thomson&page=1 ).

The idea that these "socialist principles" ( which might i add, France was never a socialist/communist country , just a social democracy ) are a bad thing or that the US does not follow them is purely dumbfounding ... Most of the US's high profile industry is subsidized by the US government. Boeing , Lockheed , GM, Ford , IBM , SpaceX , etc all receive significant subsidies form the US government on a regular basis , and that's just a few examples. These aren't truly private industries , no matter how much you want them to be. Libertarians will act like nothing good ever came from government-funded ventures . But the fact is that private companies are unwilling to take on projects which do not see a short term ROI . No investor is going to put money in a project if he sees a return 50 years later . If the French government hadn't spent fortunes on building their railway infrastructure , then France would have never gotten TGV . If the USA hadn't poured billions into their space program with NASA , SpaceX would never have seen he light of day.That same space program also jumpstarted the semiconductor/computer industry believe it or not. Private industry is good at taking an existing concept and expending on it to profit from said concept . But headway will always be made by the governments of the world.

Samuel Devulder: my memory isn't what it used to be. You are right, basic was still on a cartridge. But it was bundled with the machine free of charge while it was a 500FF option on the original TO7.

AFAIK, the basic wasn't in ROM for the TO7/70. It is only starting from the TO9 and TO8 product lines that the basics were made resident. On the TO7/70 the basic was still in an external cartridge.

You have the voice and inflexion of an Open University TV lecturer from the 1970's. This is not a bad thing . . .

these historical videos are brilliant, I'd imagine your letter to bring back the Computer Programme's gonna pop up in the mail any day now

Only politicians would say a computer can liberate people! True socialism in France!

Thoss were the words of Apples marketing on the Macintosh launch in the US, coupled with the George Orwell inspired ad to persuade buyers to liberate themselves from IBM.

Thomson...I'll never forget that name. Horrible memories of terrible TVs and VCRs...

Long live the MO5 :-D but with mechanical keyboard, of course. Damn, these machines used NMOS instead of CMOS and could get quite WARM. Oh and it's a deliciously simple and well engineered system that is exhaustively documented so it's very easy to build I/O boards, replace parts or extend features !

These were nice machines, with a good graphic coprocessor... Just too expensive and heating a lot...If no one remembers them now ho will remember the swiss made smaky...?

Serpentza sent me :)

the answer is no

mais ce n'est pas vrai, c'est "non"

Man, Olivetti doesn't get much love nowadays. :(

the first time i used a computer was the MO6

an episode on Bull might be interesting!

Sexy looking machines though...

Thx a lot for this video. I'm french, and, i'm Thomson computer generation come from. At 7 old (I'm 41 now ... omg) the first contact with computer was Thomson TO7 or MO5 during the plan Informatique Pour Tous (Computer for everybody government program). That was a big part of my life. But, you now what, it was the worst computer during this period in regard of Amstrad or commodore. The tips to have a computer for a french family, at this epoq, advertisement said it's school computer with school program. But in fact, there had lot of program (Infogramme, Atari now) with no school payload ..juste game !! :) The comparaison with apple is not possible. In France, Apple is very rare computer may be you can find apple 2, but not often. And macinstosh classic was reserved for Professional used. You can find very often Amstrad CPC 464, and Spectrum. In video games, Philips PONG, Atari VCS and Aminex video tv game. In memory of this time, now I've the Thomson family and I'm playing with ! you can find sdcard converter to use your Thomson computer. A trick to buy a Thomson, take care to alimentation ! Very often, after many year power down, the power on can be explose condensator of internal alimentation. The price (last year) was to 20€ to 50€ for TO9. Now, you can buy to 80 to 200€ for extreme condition. I've all family, TO7, MO5, MO6, TO8 and TO9. The most beautiful is TO7. His 70's futurist design is so cool. The most playable is TO8. The good choice to buy it is TO8. And on french forum, there is big fan community. Thx a lot

I fogot !! In school, there is the NANORESEAU (nano network). It was lot of MO5 connected to IBM PC. The goal is to learn how to program langage, not with Microsoft basic 1.0 (yes yes ... Inside Thomson, it's Microsoft), but it's the TORTUE langage (turtle). The goal is just draw line with command lines. Fun and more fun...

Random fact: Olivetti re-released the MO6 under the name of "Olivetti PC128 Prodest", with a slight translation of the startup menu of the machine in Italian and a different color scheme. I honestly think that, as an old computer, the MO6/Prodest design is fantastic, and when my machine will die I'll probably keep the case. I also think that a video on Olivetti would be needed, it was a pretty interesting company... That died (as a major IT company) due to the poor decisions of the italian government.

That's true... Well, at least now Ivrea is a UNESCO site, so who knows

Thompson Were also manufacturing TV cameras and other broadcast equipment like professional vcrs as well although in the 90's they would just rebrand SONY equipment with their name, although I don't know maybe they had a deal with SONY to share their tech together. They were a big company fingers in many pies.

I worked for RCA after Thomson purchased them. They were no Apple, in any form. Because of French law, they were all screwy. 35 hour MAX work week, the company was run by a French BUREAUCRAT, and they reason they were stupid enough to buy RCA, is because they were even further behind. That's when I learned, socialism really does not work.

I spent a lot of time on these at the computer club. I was a little nerd and gave basic lessons to other students. Thomson computers all sucked, seriously. A C64 or even a ZX Spectrum was miles ahead.

I think about that all the time. How the best retro computer YouTube people would get me to watch TV in a way nothing else has been able to since I was a kid, haha.

"Socialism is bad!" Brittania decrees, apparently forgetting that he is writing a post in *the internet*, a technology which started by being a totally government-subsidized research project that private capital likely would have never invested in but turned out to be the biggest and most revolutionary economic advancement in history.

whaou i use it as a kid, i think in 1990. I remember making multicolor circle with logo (very pround of it). You explain me a part of my childhood.

Yep . Too bad incompetent management killed them both in the end :(

Not sure the “market forces of capitalism” did Atari or commodore any favours. American companies that succeed do so for the same reason any around the world do... They sold the right product to the right customers at the right price.

Yes indeed we were unlucky to have those crap computers in our French schools, even back then they felt like inferior products! But interesting video :)

BULL was also another French PC company more geared towards the pro market...

Logo is still used in Slovakia but a windows port is used. I am learning this language i started learning it in 5th grade i am a 6th grader in elemetary. so yeah

Always interested to learn about early home computing outside of America/UK. I'm guessing after the mid 80's it's mostly Commodore everywhere you go, at least that's the impression I get, once C64 and Amiga came along nobody cared about anything else until the PC started getting decent multimedia capabilities in the early 90's.

Atari ST's seemed to be very popular in France for the 16bit era after the Amstrad CPC's in the 8bit era

Very cool video, big value indeed. Yet your pronouncing​ *Thom_P_son* is a bit distracting. Keep up good job!

the true best Apple spawn company was BeInc; BeOS was a far more superior OS, multitasking, mulltimedia oriented that put the then macos (system 8 and 9) and of course windows to shame; BeOS ran on PowerPC (same micros Apple was using back then in 90s) and even on intel; but its CEO ego Gasse made the wrong business decision and the rest is history (as well as Be Inc)

the French government had a contract to impose Thomson computers (especially the TO7) in the school district. This computer has never entered homes, the French have never adopted.

the French liked the Amstrad because of the advertising, but the C64 was much more powerful ! I like commodore !!!

That's nice thank you. Yes the French really did love those Amstrads like nobody else. I blame the crocodiles

That said, congratulations for the quality of your reports, I subscribe with pleasure.

Yes, the MO5 has lived a little, rarely the TO7. That said, it was a good idea but with the arrival of other computers, as you explain in your report, the C64 and Amstrad were the star at that time.

Thanks for watching. This is in the video, as well as guests who had them in their home. I imagine it to be like the BBC Micro in the UK, mostly in schools but some did have them at home also.

Trouser tribulation

True, but nowadays demoscene shown that you can do real 3D with it. It shows the potential of the Amstrads. And frankly, I never really liked the flagship games of the C64 unlike the early Ubisoft Amstrad game for exemple that where perfect or the Mach3 game for exemple that was my jam as a 8 years old. aha

Ataru Barreau Amstrad was a good machine, but less efficient for games ;-)

Yes but Amstrad Monochrome setup where cheaper I think. Still got mine ;)

Bought loads of their Tellys over the years,they made some nice CRT ones.

Beepier Beeps

RetroManCave!!! amazing video. So much history in this video. I have always wondered what home computers the French and other countries in Europe had. Thank you and you just got a new sub

Thank you I'm glad you enjoyed it

Very interesting video. I love learning about retro computing through your videos; they're always so well-produced and thorough. Good work; thank you.

i was like 7 or 8 years old at that time, and my parent didn't wanted to pay for a computer (too expensive and 0 use for them), i played with my big cousin and his amstrad (a lot of game unlike the school).

that's a nice vidéo ! as usual ;) , I'm French and I remember this curious computer with pen, I used it in a computer club association in my city in the 80's , but at school we had the MSX ZX81 lol ! learning basic and switching to Dallas series cause it was connected to the TV lol ! I have a traineeship at Thomson (army) company and it's funny to see that they used the same processor than "crotale" missiles ! once again France loose.... , same goupil....... 1mhz cpu ! against the C64.....

Technicolor? They make the worst Cable Modems in the history of mankind...

I take it now that you have your Thompson this make you an honorary Thompson Twin.

The only reason why the Thomson was somehow successful is because it had a semi-protected market. Even though it was expensive for its so-so-hardware specs, the French press was very bias towards Thomson. And the fact it was in French schools provided a huge amount of publicity for the company. Thomson barely sold any of its computers outside of France.

I just saw a video on the minitel a few days ago and it was very interesting. The french used to always come up with very unique things back in the day but it seems they stopped doing that (their cars had this peculiar look for a long time, you could always tell it was french)

During these years , France had a system called Minitel which offered a kind of internet provided by phone (you had to call the 3615 (or the 3616 etc) and you had to write a code (AIRFRANCE))on your Minitel and you were able to buy a train or plane ticket with it. And France telecom gave it you for free, you just had to pay the communication which was quite expensive.

RetroManCave - Love your videos! perfect amount of history and technical information. Who does the music in your videos?

Hey thanks! Most music comes from youtubes own creators library which anyone can use. I usually list all tracks and artists in the description

part 2?

Coming soon :D

Please post part 2; this was really interesting and entertaining!

I used a brilliant Thomson DVB-T box for my CRT for years untill I finally gave in and bought an LCD tv...

Mazda made radio valves...

Жаль... на этом канале мы никогда не сможем посмотреть обзор "Искра-1256". (Даже нормальных русских обзоров - не посмотреть. Компьютер был секретным долгое время. Потом, в 1985-м его рассекретили и мелкими партиями стали поставлять в институты)

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