Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Pioneer UC-V102 - Part 2

Last post we saw that Pioneer UC-V102 is the worst kept secret in hidden MSX history. But it's not the same thing to say it's easy to find. The first Pioneer UC-V102 that I saw for sale have the main unit and the keyboard. The pictures of this unit started a discussion at MSX Resource Center. Werner bought this unit and confirmed to me that it was a MSX and that the keyboard was the same of Mitsubishi ML-G30.

Pioneer UC-V102 Video Controller with keyboard
(picture from Y!J Auction)

About one year later I saw another one for sell, no keyboard, but with the SS-D1 unit and serial cable. This time I don't lost my time and bought it.

Pioneer UC-V102 Video Controller with SS-D1 Still Image with Sound and Data
(picture from Y!J Auction)

After some time another two appeared, no keyboard, no additional unit, but both identified in the auction title as MSX machines, I guess they are still for sale today.

I guess this scarceness is because, despite the market high expectations, in reality, the interactive videodisc market was a small niche. The main consumers were in the educational sector, and many of the users (teachers and students) have the access only to the learning courses, not to the selling material.

So, the guys who could remember that UC-V102 was a MSX are the researchers of Computer Aided Instruction, the software and hardware manufacturers, and the educational concils who (in theory) read the brochures to choose the better system to their schools.

And even some of the documentation to help the educators to buy interactive
videodisc systems didn't tell that UC-V102 is a MSX computer
(snippet from "Optical disc technology", by Eldon J. Ullmer, 1990)

For all these people, LD/VS-1 was only a work tool, no passion involved as we have with our precious home computers. If they knew at the time that these machines were MSXs, these memories probably faded when new research fields or work tools replaced the old ones.

I believe that a small set of LD/VS-1 or O-THE System are still lost in deposits at museums, universities and schools, but the most were auctioned by their owners as they do with all older equipment. Being heavy units, probably the vast majority of those auctioned systems goes to Junk yards and were recycled. With luck, some of those junk yards tries to sell them as electronic equipment.

Funny to know, all units that I saw for sale were sold in Japan, I still didn't saw any sold from North America (in USA and Canada we know that LD/VS-1 was available for sale).

This post is already too big. The Pioneer UC-V102 internals will be the subject of the next posts.


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