Tandy/Memorex VIS

From the Audiovisual Identity Database, the motion graphics museum


The Video Information System (VIS) was a interactive, multimedia CD-ROM player produced by the Tandy Corporation and introduced in 1992. It was sold only at Radio Shack under the Memorex brand, both of which Tandy owned at the time. Microsoft designed "Modular Windows", a special version of Microsoft Windows 3.1, to run on the VIS. Although Microsoft intended Modular Windows to be an embedded operating system for various devices, especially those designed to be connected to televisions, that never occurred.[1] According to some claims, Microsoft created a new, incompatible version of Modular Windows ("1.1") shortly after the VIS shipped,[2] but no products are used to have actually used that version.

The VIS itself was similar in function to the Philips CD-i and Commodore CDTV systems (particularly the CDTV, since both the VIS and CDTV were adaptations of existing computer platforms and operating systems to the set-top-box design) and was sold with a introductory price of $699. However, it was not successful; by some reports Radio Shack sold only 11,000 units during the lifetime of the product[3] and only about 73 titles, 48 multimedia titles and 25 games, were released for it (Radio Shack store employees even jokingly referred to the VIS as "Virtually Impossible to Sell"[4]). Tandy discontinued the VIS in early 1994 and sold all remaining units to a liquidator.

Logo (1992-early 1994)

Visuals: On a black background, there is the pink-purple gradient text "VIS" surrounded by a white box, wiping upwards. Black lines then "etch" into the letters. "VIDEO INFORMATION SYSTEM" is below, colored pink. The green text "Authorized Video Information System Title" appears below.

Variant: If one doesn't have a CD in the console, the yellow text "Insert a disc or a cartridge." is below, and it stays on screen throughout the animation.

Technique: Simple real-time animation.

Audio: A "whoosh", then a synth drone.

Availability: Seen when a VIS CD system is turned on.


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