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1984 Chronokey Chronomedia index
Numbers after entries link to the list of references.


links and notes
  Cultural highlights | Predictions made this year  
January 13  UK’s Home Office grants a licence to Swindon Cable allowing it to relay Satellite Television. > 1984 September 17
January 17  in the 'Betamax case', the US Supreme Court rules that using a videocassette recorder to tape off-air is not an infringement of copyright.  
January 16  Satellite Television, now owned by Rupert Murdoch, is re-launched as Sky Channel.  
January 22  Apple Mac runnerApple Computers runs a 60-second (or 45-second) commercial  during the half-time break in the Super Bowl to launch the Macintosh computer. The '1984' advert, based on imagery from George Orwell's novel and directed by Ridley Scott, costs $500,000 for the airtime and either $400,000 or $1.6m to produce (sources vary). Watch the commercial, which has been doctored by Apple Computers to include an iPod player on the runner's waistband. Oh dear!
January  BBC buys the ATV studios at Elstree.  
January  Thorn EMI launches the VHD video disc system to the UK professional market. The Quest for Home Video: VHD
January  Philips launches the industrial PAL LaserVision video disc system in UK. The Quest for Home Video: LaserVision
February  Access to France’s Minitel system is provided on an anonymous kiosk charging basis without the need for a subscription.  
February  Digital Products Research Group at RCA’s David Sarnoff Research Center begins work that will emerge as Digital Video Interactive (DVI).  
March 5  Intelsat V-F8 satellite is launched by an Ariane rocket.  
March 16  Ekran 12 satellite is launched.  
March 29  Rediffusion launches a four-channel cable television service on 14 of its networks in the UK, offered to 302,450 homes passed.  
March 29  Three UK cable channels are launched on 22 upgraded narrowband relay systems. Music Box, Screensport and TEN (short for The Entertainment Network, a movie channel run jointly by the Rank Organisation and UIP International Pay TV) are the first specialised channels in Europe. The recommended charge for TEN is £7-£8 a month. The target is to achieve 1m subscribers by 1988, equal to 20 per cent of all cable households forecast for that year. > September 1
March  JVC camcorderJVC’s production version of a combined video camera cassette recorder, the GR-C1 VHS VideoMovie, is shown at Helmsley Palace, New York. It later appears at CES in Chicago. The Quest for Home Video: VHD
April 12  Telecommunications Act receives royal assent to sell off 51 per cent of British Telecom and create the Office of Telecommunications (Oftel) regulatory body. Oftel: August 1
BT
April 22  Soviet Union's Gorizont 9 satellite is launched.  
April  Indigenous television service starts in Faroe Islands.  
April  RCA announces phased withdrawal of support for SelectaVision CED video disc system. The Quest for Home Video: CED
April  Pioneer launches consumer laser video disc player to UK market. The Quest for Home Video: LaserDisc
April  Laser video disc pressing plants start offering ‘while-you-wait’ check discs plus priority same-day turnaround pressing. The Quest for Home Video: LaserDisc
May 1  Rediffusion launches a four-channel cable service on six more UK local networks.  
May 23  Spacenet 1 satellite is launched by an Ariane rocket.  
July 2  Epic Records ships 2m copies of the Jackson Five album Victory to US record dealers, an unprecedented initial shipment.  
July 12  Robert Maxwell pays £113m to acquire Mirror Group Newspapers. The official view of Robert Maxwell
July  Austin Rover uses VHD video disc interactive system in 25 UK showrooms. The Quest for Home Video: VHD
August 1  Gorizont 10 satellite is launched.  
August 1  UK's Office of Telecommunications (Oftel) comes into formal existence. During the month British Telecommunications becomes a public limited company, wholly owned by the state.  
August 4  Télécom 1 and ESC 2 satellites are launched by an Ariane rocket.  
August 24  Ekran 13 satellite is launched.  
September 1  Two more UK cable channels are launched: The Children’s Channel and Premiere, a second movie channel.  
September 17  First UK broadband cable network to launch is Thorn EMI’s Swindon Cable Services.  
September 21  Galaxy 3 satellite is launched.  
September  UK National Interactive Video Centre established.  
October  Pioneer, Sony and Teac launch laser video disc/CD-audio combi-players in Japan.  
November  Canal Plus terrestrial pay TV channel is launched in France.  
November  BBC undertakes £2.5m Domesday interactive video project with 1986 target completion date. > 1986 November
November  The offer to the public of 3,012m ordinary shares in British Telecom (BT)—50.2 per cent of the total—at 130p is 3.2 times over-subscribed. > 1991 December
•  To celebrate British Film Year, the UK government abolishes capital allowances for film production.  
•  UK cinema admissions reach the lowest level ever: 53.8m—a fall of 96.7 per cent from the peak achieved 38 years earlier in 1946. UK cinema admissions
•  Bray Studios on the River Thames west of London is acquired by equipment rental company Samuelson Film Services. > 1990 March
•  Shepperton Studios is bought by facilities company Lee International for £3.6m.  
•  First feature film made in Djibouti: Le Grand Moussa, directed by Ahmed Dini.  
•  Australian TV stations QTQ-9 Brisbane and STW-9 Perth are bought by entrepreneur Alan Bond for A$65m and A$50m respectively.  
•  Japan’s BS-2a broadcasting satellite is launched.  
•  This is the peak year for production of Betamax videocassette recorders: Sony produces 2.3m machines. The Quest for Home Video: Betamax
•  Sinclair QLSinclair Research’s QL 32-bit personal computer is launched in the UK but makes little more headway than the MSX format. UK market leaders are the Sinclair Spectrum and C64 models.  
•  First Indian 3-D movie is My Dear Kuttichattan, directed in Malayalam by Appachan.  
•  Do They Know It's Christmas? single by Band Aid, organised by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure, raises £8m for African famine relief.  
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Page updated 28 May 2009
© David Fisher