Gutenberg Bible becomes the first printed book.
The first motion picture shown on a screen is presented by Auguste and Louis Lumière in a private screen for the Société d’Encouragement à l’Industrie Nationale. An invited audience at forty-four spectators at the Rue de Rennes in Paris, France, viewed the film La Sortie des ouvriers de l’usine Lumière, a film they shot specially for the occasion. The film is a recording of workers leaving the Lumières’ own factory in Lyon, which manufactured photographic products. The workers stream out, most on foot, some with their bicycles, followed by those with cars. Several more such screenings will follow before the first public exhibition at the Salon Indien of the Grand Café at 14 Boulevard des Capucines in Paris on December 28. The Lumières will soon after began opening cinemas in Berlin, Brussels, London, and New York.
Television broadcasts begin in Berlin, Germany, with a low definition, 180 line system.
The BBC begins transmitting news bulletins in Morse code for the benefit of resistance fighters in mainland Europe.
The first rocket built in the United States, one of the WAC Corporals, leaves the Earth’s atmosphere, a year after Germany had launched a rocket. The US rocket is launched from White Sands, New Mexico, and attains an altitude of fifty miles.
First US rocket to leave the Earth’s atmosphere (50 miles up).
In the UK, television broadcasting hours for both BBC and forthcoming ITV services are fixed at a total of thirty-five hours on weekdays, with a daily maximum of eight hours. Broadcasts are not to be transmitted before 9am nor after 11pm, with a closedown between 6pm and 7pm and no more than two hours before 1pm. The same restrictions apply on Saturday. On Sunday, the maximum is seven and three-quarter hours, and not more than a total of fifteen hours for the entire weekend. On Sunday, programs can be transmitted between 2pm and 11pm, with a shutdown from 6:15pm to 7:30pm. Religious services may be broadcast outside these boundaries, in addition to the total permitted hours. Broadcasts of special events are also not included in the daily limits.
The first laser is patented and assigned to the Bell Telephone Laboratories by Arthur Schawlow and Charles Hard Townes. (No. 2,929,922)
Dr. Thomas Stanley of RCA Laboratories applies for a patent for the Capacitance Electronic Disc (or CED), the vinyl equivalent of the DVD. (US No. 3,842,194) Stanley suggested in 1959 that video could be stored capacitively on a vinyl disc if a means could be found to mold sufficiently small signal elements into the surface of the vinyl. Formal research on this concept began at RCA Labs in 1964, and took off when the team of Jon Clemens and Eugene Keizer was put together shortly thereafter. Clemens, a recent graduate of MIT, was deeply involved with getting CED to market and can rightly be called the father of the CED.
Ralph Baer files yet another pivotal patent in video game’s technology. This one is for the creation of a Television Gaming and Training Apparatus. Baer and his colleagues are inventing interactive entertainment concepts that will become the very foundation of gaming as we know it. Read more about Ralph Baer at TalkSpot.com.
RCA begins selling the SelectaVision VideoDisc, exactly ten years after RCA applied for its first patents. Based on electronic capacitance technology, RCA VideoDiscs contain a groove of varying depth which is played with a stylus sensitive to the depth of the groove immediately underneath it. The system emerges as a marvel of mass-production research and development, able to play a two-hour movie on a twelve-inch, fifteen-dollar record using a US$500 player. However, SelectaVision arrives on the market too late to compete and will fail in the marketplace, due to the drastic decreases in VCR prices. Manufacturing will be abandoned in April 1984.
Soyuz 39 carries two cosmonauts (one Mongolian) to Salyut 6.
Third Space Shuttle Mission-Columbia 3 launched.
Microsoft Press introduces its first two titlesCary Lu’s The Apple Macintosh Book, and Peter Norton’s Exploring the IBM PCjr Home Computer,at the 1984 West Coast Computer Faire.
The Ekran 14 satellite is launched. The Ekran 14 is one of a series of geostationary Russian satellites developed to deliver one television and two radio channels to cable systems throughout the USSR as well as to individual home receivers in northern Siberia. The first satellite of Ekran series was launched in 1976.
NASA launches Intelsat VA.
A contract for the home videogame rights to Tetris is finalized with Nintendo, which insists on a clause that the Russians would come to America to testify in the legal battle that would undoubtedly ensue after word of the contract comes out. The advance cash for ELORG is reported to be around $3 to 5 million. Belikov wires Mirrorsoft saying that neither it, Andromeda, or Tengen were authorized to distribute Tetris on video game systems, and that those rights are now given to Nintendo. The Nintendo and BPS executives have a party that night in their Moscow hotel room.
The Intel Corporation ships the first Pentium microprocessors (80586), invented by Vinod Dahm. The chips feature 60 and 66 MHz clock speeds, 100+ MIPS, with over 3.1 million transistors, a 64 bit data path, and the ability to address 4 GB of memory. Engineers Federico Faggin, Ted Hoff, San Mazor, and Matsatoshi Sima, an engineer from the Japanese firm of Busicom, invented the world’s first microprocessor, the Intel 4004, at Intel in 1971. The new processor continued exponentially increased the speed and power of personal computers over the decades of its development, allowing for the incorporation of speech, sound, handwriting, and photographs into documents.
Microsoft released Microsoft Encarta, the first encyclopedia designed to run on a computer
Soyuz TM-21 returns from the Mir space station.
Cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov returns after setting a record for 438 days in outer space.
In Japan, Bandai releases the Pippin Atmark multimedia system, featuring a PowerPC 603 processor, 6 MB RAM, a 14.4 kbps modem, and a CD-ROM reader. Bandai will ultimately fail to sell enough units to justify continuing support for the system. A planned merger to Sega in January 1997 will seal the consoles fate. Sega is marketing a similar product called Netlink, so Bandai will cease all Pippin support in favor of the Sega product. When the merger faila, the Pippin will die off. Price: 64,820 yen (US$620)
Space shuttle Atlantis launches en route to the third U.S. shuttle mission to Russian space station Mir.
Hale-BoppThe comet Hale-Bopp makes its closest approach to Earth. To read more on the history of the comet, visit NASA’s website or Hale-Bopp: The Great Comet of 1997, an article by Martin J Powell
Bleem, LLC begins accepting preorders for BLEEM!, a PlayStation emulator for personal computers. The first thousand purchases qualify for the introductory price of US$19.95. Shipments begin on Saturday, April 10, 1999.
AMD launches the 1.33 GHz Athlon processor. Price: US$350
Skype launches Skype for SIP
New York court rejects Google on their settlement of Google Books. This would put the final nail in the Google Books coffin.
FCC chair Julius Genachowski announced he will step down in the coming weeks