Televideo Ts-1605

My dad bought a TeleVideo TS-1605 around 1983 or 1984. It was an all-in-one computer with a green monochrome screen built into the case. It had a 5 MHz 8088 processor and two 5.25" floppy drives. Around 1988, my dad added a 32 MB hard drive to the computer and ran Swan DOS 3.3. He used it up until April 1997 when he got our Packard Bell Platinum 2240. After that, the computer was set aside and collected dust for nearly two years.

From time to time, I was curious about this computer, occasionally pecking at the keys on the keyboard. But finally, in early February 1999, my curiosity was too strong. At first, I hinted at - but later almost begged my dad to turn it on for me. He did so, and I was really happy to see it running. He showed me how to open the MultiMate word processor, and from that point on, I spent a fair amount of time writing stories on that computer. There was just something about that computer that made it feel "computery." Windows graphical environments just seemed a little too real-life like. The TeleVideo just felt like a computer, rather than a picture-showcase machine, with its green monochrome text. It had such a simple interface, yet it was more advanced than a typewriter. I can't really explain it, but I just loved it.

In late 2002, I started trying to get a lot of things to set up my "hideout" room in the basement. I got a hutch desk and phone jack installed for Christmas - and of course, I moved the TeleVideo and its printer down there! My hideout really felt like an office now.

From late 2003 to early 2005, I spent a lot more time using the TeleVideo. In the previous year, my Packard Bell broke down, and I needed another computer to take its place. For most of my computing needs, I used our Dell Dimension 4400, but I still used the TeleVideo some, too (a little more than I normally did). During this time, I became a computer nerd and learned more about DOS commands and tried to learn more about the TeleVideo. I wanted to upgrade it some and add some DOS games on it. I used the TeleVideo's spare 5.25" floppy drive in the Packard Bell, which the technicians were unable to fix, and transferred files with it. I ended up playing Castle Adventure on the TeleVideo, and it was a perfect match, considering the use of ANSI characters. In early 2005, I upgraded the TeleVideo to MS-DOS 6. I also wanted to use a mouse and modem but never got those to work. In 2004, I wanted to install a 3.5" floppy drive but never got the bay adapter for it - not to mention that I didn't have a cable adapter (since the TeleVideo used slot connectors).

2005 in general was a year that I forced myself to move on and abandon many of my childhood interests. And naturally, I eventually decided to get rid of the TeleVideo, as it was old and took up space. I think I may have been a bit hesitant about doing so but forced myself to do it anyway. I packaged it up with its manuals and floppy disks. I believe I used it one last time on the morning I donated the computer to a charity - September 15, 2005. My mom said they were a bit reluctant to take it since it was so old, but they eventually did.

Years passed, and by 2009, I again became fascinated with vintage computers. I really wanted another Packard Bell, an early '90s computer, and perhaps even an '80s computer like the TeleVideo. I just loved the green, monochrome screen and how it was in one piece. Even the IBM PC 5150 had separate components. I deeply regretted getting rid of such a special computer. I went to a local computer shop in the hopes of finding a Packard Bell, early '90s computer, or an '80s computer. Sadly, the closest I could find was a no-name computer with an AT connector from around 1997. Not exactly what I was looking for, but oh well.

In April 2011, I learned that thrift stores sometimes had old computers for sale, and that's where I've obtained many of my Packard Bells and other old computers. But I still had yet to find another computer like the TeleVideo (the closest was an IBM PCjr).

Eventually, in November 2012, I became fascinated with the TeleVideo once more and wanted to get one before the year ended in case the world ended on December 21st. The closest I could find was a TeleVideo TS-803 XT on eBay with a 5.25" floppy drive and 10 MB hard drive. It was expensive, but that computer was fairly rare and special to me, and that eBay listing was about the best chance I had at getting one quick. Sadly, the seller told me that the TeleVideo with the hard drive didn't have any video - but he did have another TS-803 with two 5.25" floppy drives - capable of running CP/M. I agreed, though I really wanted an XT version of the TeleVideo - and one with a hard drive. Still, any TeleVideo was better than none at all.

December 3rd was the expected UPS delivery date for the TeleVideo. I went outside every so often to see if the package arrived, but it hadn't. I got more and more nervous as the day's end grew nearer. Finally, around 5:00 or 6:00, I conceded that UPS was not likely to deliver the TeleVideo that day (and feared it might not even come at all) and got a little mad and frustrated by that. But wouldn't you know it, a UPS truck did go through our neighborhood after 6:00 even though it was dark, and sure enough, it stopped at our house! A man came out and handed me the box. I unboxed it in my hideout, and although the computer wasn't in great cosmetic condition, I was elated to be reunited with another TeleVideo after seven long years!

I plan to use this TeleVideo minimally to keep from wearing it out, but nonetheless, this model has meant a lot to me since childhood, and I am definitely glad to have another one.
CompNerd89 CompNerd89
26-30, M
Dec 7, 2012