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Dead medium: The Philips Programmed Individual Presentation System (PIP)
From: (Lars-Erik Astrom)
Source(s): Personal experience

Mr Sterling,

In the late 1960's or early 1970's I came upon the PIP,

constructed by Philips, Holland.

The PIP was a desktop-machine, not unlike an early

Macintosh one-piece desktop computer, but with no

keyboard, and a back projection screen replacing the


The PIP contained a Super-8-cassette still-frame

projector. It advanced to the next frame after one pulse

from a pulse generator. The generator was triggered by

inaudible pulses recorded on an audio compact cassette

player, also integrated into the machine. The audio

cassette, running at normal compact cassette speed, also

contained the audio part of the show, delivering mono

sound to the PIP's built-in speaker.

When a motion picture sequence was needed, the audio

compact cassette player delivered a corresponding sequence

of pulses, at up to, say, 18 frames per second. When no

motion picture was needed there were no pulses, and the

PIP behaved like a slide-projector, displaying individual

frames. It could also show short animated sequences at any

necessary frame rate.

With the PIP, one compact audio cassette and a Super-

8-film cassette could create a slide-and-film-and-audio

show of, say, half an hour.

Lars-Erik Astrom