According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TI-99/4A

Through the development period, several companies attempting to enter the home computer market were faced with significant pushback from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC had developed new rules for consumer devices that connected directly to televisions in an effort to control ongoing complaints about interference by poorly shielded devices.

The development period in question being 1978-79.

I know those rules were repealed in 1981 (which opened the door for the Vic-20 et al). But when were they introduced? What were the 'poorly shielded devices' in question? Not computers; TRS-80 and Apple II (1977) were poorly shielded, but dodged the rules, presumably therefore postdating them. Could it be referring to the first generation of game consoles, Home Pong?

  • 1
    Surely the "what devices" question has no answer than "all devices of the time that connected to TVs" - TV games, VCRs, videodisc players, etc. I infer that the sentence in wikipedia is talking about the 1972 'new rules', which were still in force during 1978-1979.
    – dave
    Commented Jun 8 at 20:56
  • @dave Okay yes, looks like they were indeed introduced in 1972. I would never have guessed there were enough TV-connected devices in existence by then to make it relevant, but apparently so!
    – rwallace
    Commented Jun 8 at 22:11
  • @dave I would have accepted your answer, had you not deleted it!
    – rwallace
    Commented Jun 8 at 22:12
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    I undeleted it, changed it a little - now I understand the question a bit better.
    – dave
    Commented Jun 8 at 23:31

1 Answer 1


Answering only the part about "what devices" were covered, the answer is in a paper linked to the wikipedia page you cited.

According to the 1979 FCC proposals for change (see pages 1068 and 1069) the 1972 rules were to "permit the attachment of TV games and similar devices to a TV receiver". Video cassette recorders and video disc players are also mentioned.

The 1979 proposals included changes to permit certification of a standalone RF modulator, which does not in itself say anything about the devices that might use such a modulator. But of course the rules still applied to 'TV games and similar devices', which still existed.

The 1979 proposals also mentions personal computers and videotex/teletext decoders.

In addition, the 1979 regulatory change relaxed some requirements. So from 1972 until whenever the 1979 changes actually took effect, the requirements were stricter. It was in this period that the TI-99/4 was under development.


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