C-64 Peripheral Treasure Hunt

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I posted this over on StackExchange last night and haven’t got much response so I thought I’d try here. I am trying to find information about a device I had back in the 1980s. Below is a cut and paste from the post. For some reason this device popped in my head recently and as I was about 14-15 when I got it, I didn’t trully understand how it worked and wanted to see if I could dig up any info on it all these years later.

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I am trying to recall the name of a peripheral I use to have for my C64 in the 1980s. I believe it was called Exchange or X-Change. You hooked it up to your cable TV service and it would decode a signal that would allow you to capture wire news service. You connected it to the C64 via RS-232, I believe. I think it was a one time purchase, you bought the box and that was it. I want to say the box was made by somebody like Jerrold or another box manufactured from the 80s. Anyone remember this? I’d like to see if I can find anything online about it but haven’t had much luck and wonder if I have the name even right.

Edit/Update: I lived in the United States, Ohio at the time. I can’t recall what cable company we used back then. The box didn’t come from the cable company, I believe you had to order it and your cable company had to transmit the signal (anyone remember getting FM over cable, it was sort of like that) I want to say I purchased this in about 1986 or 1987, the box was the size of a cable box but was much lighter weight. I remember after I owned one, seeing a write up about the device in at least one Commodore magazine at the time. I later got an Amiga 500 and I think it worked with that too, but I am not 100% sure. Finally the software was similar to RSS where you could subscribe to different topics and the device would catch them and show them in a reader. I am having a hard time remembering if you had to have the computer always running to get stories throughout the day or just the device. It was just an odd device for the time and I recently recalled it and wanted to try to read up on it if I i could.

 

Comments (5)

5 responses to “C-64 Peripheral Treasure Hunt”

  1. Avatar

    Paul Thurrott

    Interesting. I've never heard of this, sorry. Hopefully someone here has.

  2. Avatar

    BlackForestHam

    Hi SimmonM:


    Are you taking about "The Computer Channel"?


    archive.org/details/07-commodore-magazine/page/n9?q=Cable+tv


    Searching through old Commodore Magazine/PowerPlay/Microcomputing, Byte, and Creative Computing archives there or at your local major university library might help. Also, us Commodore old timers still haunt comp.sys.cbm on usenet. A post there may rattle someone's memory.

  3. Avatar

    simmonm

    Thanks for those who looked/responded. I got a response here: https://retrocomputing.stackexchange.com/questions/7935/c-64-exchange-news-service#.


    From the responder:


    It was called X*Press X*Change and was in operation from late 1986 until 1997. Participating cable providers would receive the data by satellite, then broadcast it on their networks. The service was available for the Apple II series, Amiga, Atari ST, C64/C128/Plus4, Macintosh, and MS-DOS. The Commodore version used a special cartridge while other versions connected through RS-232. The service provided news, sports, weather, stock ticker quotes and so on at 9600 baud. It was available in the USA and CanadaHere is an article in Compute! magazine (issue #78, Nov. 1986) about the service.

    • Avatar

      BlackForestHam

      In reply to simmonm:

      Thanks for bringing this to our attention, and I'm glad you found the answer! This is a great bit of nostalgia.

    • Avatar

      jwpear

      In reply to simmonm:

      Very cool! Never heard of this.


      Still have my C-64, tape drive, and massive 5 1/4 floppy drive. Thought I was something when I got the floppy drive. Man it was so fast compared to the tape drive! Can't find any of the software I had--GEOS and something you could make music videos with (can't remember name). Also can't find any of the floppies that had programs I wrote. I doubt any of the floppy disks would work 30+ years later, but do wish I still had them.

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