Prices for popular electronics of the past in today's money: 1970s

    In the winter of 2014 in Russia, prices for electronics doubled. Despite this, computers, televisions and other gadgets are now much cheaper than their counterparts in the 1970s. It was then that the first consumer personal computers for the price of cars and watches for the price of the computer, the first game consoles and engineering calculators began to appear.

    Let's look at the prices of electronics of the 1970s and calculate how much the devices would cost us today taking inflation into account. It's about gaming consoles, personal computers, televisions, calculators and electronic watches.

    Gaming consoles

    Magnavox odyssey

    In 1972, the Sony PlayStation great-great-great-grandfather and X-Box appeared. The Magnavox Odyssey game console had two controllers and a game gun and was connected to a home TV. To switch between games, special game cards were used, which were small printed circuit boards that changed the switching elements inside the console, changing the game logic.

    Tennis, roulette, football, logical and geographical games, educational applications, shooting ducks and dinosaurs - in 1972 it was no longer a fantasy. The graphics capabilities of the console hardly fit the head of a modern person: it could simultaneously display up to three white squares on a black background. To create for the movement of these squares at least some kind of graphic context, we used colorful plastic lining on the TV screen. In the console there was no microprocessor, it was built on a diode-transistor logic on discrete elements.

    The prefix cost about 100 American dollars. For 2016 it is about 588 dollars . For comparison: the Sony PlayStation 4 in Russia costs about $ 469. In the New York B & H store, the prefix will cost $ 399 .

    Atari 2600

    In 1977, the Atari 2600 enters the market. The 330,000 Magnavox Odissey consoles sold are nothing compared to the 40 million Atari 2600. And this despite the price of $ 199, which is 807 dollars in money for 2016 . Please note that at the beginning of the first video from the selection below - a young Jack Black.

    Nintendo Color TV Game

    In 1977, the Nintendo Color TV Game entered the market - a TV game console with 6 types of light tennis. The control was carried out with the help of disks on the case of the console. The cost of the console started with 8 300 Japanese yen, which in 2016 is equivalent to 13 486 yen. It's like today to buy a prefix for $ 130 . That's just outside of Japan, this series did not come out.

    Fairchild Channel F

    Fairchild Semiconductor in November 1976 released the prefix VES, later renamed to Channel F. It was the first prefix on cartridges containing games. Total sold a quarter of a million consoles. The cost of the console was 169.95 US dollars. Today it is 734 dollars , more expensive than Sony Playstation 4.

    Robert Noyce, who developed the microprocessor for the device, became the founder of Intel.

    Magnavox Odyssey 2

    To keep up with the market, Magnavox released the second version of the Odissey console in 1978. The main update and uniqueness of the new console was a full alphanumeric keyboard. On Odyssey 2 you could learn programming.

    All the pleasure cost 179 dollars, which is equivalent to 675 dollars in 2016. Total company has sold 2 million consoles.

    Personal computers

    Honeywell Kitchen Computer H316

    Honeywell's 16-bit microcomputer, the Honeywell Kitchen Computer H316, was one of the first computers available to a wide audience. And the place he was in the kitchen. Moreover, a cutting board was part of this machine. But he had another purpose - he ran a nuclear station . The kitchen option in 1969 cost 10 thousand dollars, which in 2016 equals 67 thousand dollars . Today it is difficult to find a personal computer at this price.

    IBM 5100

    In September 1975, IBM released the 5100 portable personal computer, weighing 25 kilograms. It was a solution suitable only for large businesses, because the car in the maximum configuration cost $ 20,000. This is 91 000 dollars for 2016 - the cost of a two-room apartment in the Moscow region.

    Altair 8800

    It is believed that the beginning of all amateur computers put Altair 8800 company MITS, developed in 1975 based on the Intel 8080 microprocessor. This computer was sold in the collection for 621 dollars. Today it is about 2,838 dollars .


    The Altair 8800 competitor has become a single board microcomputer based on the 6502 processor from MOS Technology - KIM-1, or Keyboard Input Monitor. The computer had 1152 bytes of RAM and 2 KB of ROM, but was supplied without a case and input-output devices. He allowed to assemble a computer for less than $ 500: the fee itself would have cost $ 245, and later it could be supplemented with a terminal and an external drive — a cassette tape recorder. The device has become popular among radio amateurs.

    245 dollars of 1976 - 1 059 dollars of 2016.

    Apple 1

    Jobs with Wozniak began in June 1976 began to collect in the garage of Apple 1. The computer worked on the processor MOS 6502 at a frequency of 1 MHz and had 4 KB of RAM, expandable to 8 or 48 KB. A fully equipped board without a case cost $ 666.66. Today it is 2,881 dollars .

    Apple II

    In 1977, Apple 1 was replaced by the second version of the personal computer - the Apple II. The new model was so successful that Apple sold it until the 1990s. At the start of sales, the computer cost 1298 dollars from 4 KB of RAM, and 48 KB of RAM increased the price to 2 638 dollars. Today it is 5 268 and 10 710 dollars respectively.

    Commodore PET

    Apple's competitor was Commodore PET, released in 1977. Included with this computer were a keyboard, a built-in 9-inch monitor with a resolution of 40x25 characters and a tape drive. The car was built on the basis of the processor MOS Technology 6502, operating at a frequency of 1 MHz. 4 KB of RAM could be increased to 96 KB.

    The computer cost 795 dollars, which in terms of money in 2016 is 3,226 dollars .


    At the end of 1977, Tandy began selling desktop computers from the TRS-80 series through Radio Shack. The store was not sure about the success of computers, so the first batch was only 3,000 pieces. If they were not sold, they would be used for the accounting of the trading network. However, in a month they sold 10 thousand copies, and in a year - 55 thousand.

    TRS-80 was the first home computer, the price for which did not exceed $ 600. Kit for 599 dollars included a cassette player. In the prices of 2016 it is 2 431 dollars .

    Even Isaac Asimov himself participated in the advertising campaign.

    Sinclair Mk14

    In 1978, the first single-board microcomputer from the British company Sinclair Research went on sale. The computer was equipped with an 8-bit processor, a 20-key keyboard, an 8-character display, 512 bytes of ROM, 256 bytes of RAM, and I / O ports.

    The company sold 20,000 Mk14 computers and later released even more successful low-cost home computers, including the ZX80, ZX81 and ZX Spectrum.

    Mk14 in 1978 cost 39.95 pounds, which in today's money is 224 pounds .

    Atari 400, Atari 800

    In 1979, Atari began selling 8-bit computers running a MOS Technology 6502 processor operating at 1.79 MHz. In total, more than two million cars were sold from 1979 to 1985. The most commercially successful model was the Atari 800 XL - more than 600 thousand units sold.

    Atari 400 with 8 KB of RAM cost $ 549.95. Her older brother - Atari 800 - would have cost $ 999.95. Translated today is 1 864 and 3 389 dollars respectively.


    Bowmar 901b

    Calculators in the early 1970s were not a cheap pleasure. Introduced in 1971, the Bowmar 901B cost $ 240, in 2016 it is $ 1,458 .


    By 1974, life had become easier, and it was possible to purchase a pocket calculator, shown in the photo below on the right, for 39.95. It is 199 dollars today.

    Electronics B3-18

    The first engineering calculator in the USSR began to be produced in 1976. It was the "Electronics B3-18" model, capable of performing four arithmetic operations, squaring and extracting the square root, calculating logarithms, trigonometric functions, performing operations with memory, and so on.

    This calculator cost 220 rubles in 1976. Russian legislation for calculating pensions in 2001 established an average salary in the USSR in the amount of 154 rubles 20 kopecks. That is, the calculator would cost 142% of the salary. In 2016, the average patch was 32,122 rubles , 142% of which - 45,613 rubles . In principle, this is the price of a new phone.



    Televisions by 1970 were more common than computers. One of the market leaders was Motorola. In 1970, in the US, it was possible to buy a 16-inch Quasar TV from Motorola for $ 599, at that time the flagship of the company. Today it is 3,795 dollars. There were, of course, cheaper models, including black and white for $ 89 - today it is $ 563 .


    Another major player was Sony. In 1974, the KV-1920 TV set would have cost the buyer in the US $ 590. This is 2,943 dollars today, which is more expensive than a 55-inch 4K Sony X850C Android TV, which costs only 1,100 dollars.


    Pulsar Time Computer

    The history of smart watches began in 1972, when the company Hamilton Watch released Pulsar Time Computer. It was the first electronic watch with a built-in digital display.

    The innovativeness of the device emphasized the price of 2,100 US dollars, today it is about 12,350 dollars . It should be said that at that time the two-door Ford Pinto , the cheapest car from Ford, was worth 1,850 dollars.

    HP-01 with calculator

    Pulsar quickly emerged competitors, including in the face of such a giant as Hewlett-Packard. In 1977, the company released the HP-01 with a calculator. It was necessary to press the keys with the help of a stylus hidden in a bracelet.

    A watch with a calculator in a gold case cost $ 850, which is equivalent to $ 3,450 today . But it was possible to choose a simpler model - in the steel version for only 450 dollars, which in translation for 2016 is 1,826 dollars .


    On the other side of the planet, the Japanese took over. Casio in 1974 developed the Casiotron digital watch. This watch also showed the date.

    At the time of issue Casiotron cost 60,000 Japanese yen, which in translation today - about 140,000 yen . In rubles, the modern equivalent of this price is about 84 thousand .

    Texas Instruments

    In 1976, Texas Instruments hit the price of an electronic watch by releasing a device with plastic bracelets for less than $ 40 . Today it is about 170 dollars . Watch Star Wars for the premiere of the film in 1977 cost even less - only $ 17 - $ 69 in 2016.

    For calculating the cost used calculator Wolphram Alpha .


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