Home computer

class of microcomputers of the 1980s, designed for private use at home; first type of computer ever which gained broad popularity amongst consumers, was replaced in the 1990s by personal computers with MS-DOS and later Microsoft Windows

A home computer is the name given to early personal computers made in the 1970s and 1980s that could be plugged into a television set. They were used for playing video games and doing school work and were usually owned by teenagers. At that time, most adults did not own a computer at all.

Children playing with a joystick on an Amstrad CPC in 1988.

Typically, home computers can produce colored graphics, have several sound channels and a keyboard. They use a tape recorder or floppy disk drive to load and store programs. Optionally, home computers may be used with a printer, a game cartridge, a modem, joysticks and a mouse. Many of them display an interactive BASIC prompt at start-up.

Home computers were made possible through the introduction of the microprocessor in the early 1970s. It made computers small, affordable, reliable and power efficient enough that they could be used in homes.

In contrast to home computers, computers used by businesses were either bulky minicomputers or gigantic mainframes. Those computers came with much more memory, with hard disks, one or more computer terminals and a proper operating system. However, such machines needed a lot of space, were very noisy and also were far too expensive for private consumers at the time.

Makers of home computers