The Rowtron Television Computer System is another Interton VC-4000 "software compatible" system (saying "clone" would be misleading). That is to say that the internal specs are exactly the same and that games would run on both systems. The cartridge slots are however different in shape, so there is no way simply test that (with an emulator that would be easier).
There are two controllers composed of a 12 keys keypad and an analog joystick. Interton VC-4000 compatible systems usualy have this 12 keys PLUS one or two fire buttons. Here there are only 12 keys and one of these, the "8", is used as the fire button (it is thus colored red). However the quality of the keys is excellent (calculator type) compared to other systems... The top of the joysticks can be unscrewed and stored somewhere safe.
The control panel has always the same buttons found on all systems of this system family: Function (Start), Reset, Cycle (Options) and on/off switch. Underneath one can find a useful sound volume switch. It's not ON and OFF but rather HIGH and LOW, which is helpful enough.
Something very strange about this console, is that on top of the case there is a plastic modeled rectangle at the exact place where it would have been logical to find the cartridge slot. But the real cartridge slot is found on the right side of the system, like an Intellivision... It sounds like the case had been designed for a top-loaded cartridge system, and they had to modify it at the last moment to implement the mother board they finaly got...
On the case is written "Television Computer System" as well as "Home Entertainment Centre". Wow, very promising... Underneath the system, there is label reading SD-090R. The letters SD are often found on obscure systems, and are supposed to mean SOUNDIC, an asian company which produced a lot of obscure systems, especially pong-based systems. But SD-090 systems are usualy quite different from the Rowtron. This remains a mistery to me. However, on the motherboard is written MPT-04, which makes much more sense! MPT-0x is often found on obscure system motherboards. We don't know yet who produced them (Soundic?) and sold them to so many brands but: MPT-02 are RCA Studio II compatible systems, MPT-03 are Emerson Arcadia 2001 compatible systems and MPT-04 / 05 systems are Interton VC-4000 compatible systems!
The Rowtron Television Computer System can also be found under the Teleng brand.
We need more info about this console ! If you designed, used, or have more info about this system,
please send us pictures or anything you might find useful.
The mpt numbers quoted on the products were related to radio emissions compliance.
Friday 23rd March 2012
I can confirm this system was available at least 2 years before 1981. I bought mine from a shop called Videotime in Basingstoke, in 1979. That shop was a regular hangout for the computer nerds from QMC - they stocked the Atari VCS and the Ohio Superboard as well as this. I desperately wanted a computer but couldn''t afford one in those pre-Clive days, and I couldn''t afford the more inviting Atari VCS either, so ended up getting the Teleng branded version of this instead (partly because of the promised future Programmer Module, but I never did see one of those, and before too long I had my ZX80 anyway).
Still, I had a fair bit of fun with the Teleng, even if the software wasn''t a patch on the best VCS games. Took it with me to university where it shared an old black and white valve telly (that I''d bought off a granny in Reading for a fiver) with my zx80.
Eventually replaced by a real VCS that I convinced myself I could afford to buy if I ate nothing but beans for a term.
I wish I knew what happened to the old beast now. I''d definitely fire it up for a go of Gravity Tennis and that pinball with the flippers that looked like giant crinkle-cut chips.
Sunday 11th December 2011
stinky ox (UK)
Discovered mine today, will try it out this week, have all 21 games the one with the din plug was a programmer module which you plugged into it, still looking for mine but i have the cartridge. Can''t wait to play tank battle once more!
Sunday 20th November 2011
Television Computer System
BUILT IN SOFTWARE / GAMES
Two controllers with 12 buttons and an analog joystick
Signetics 2636 (Video controller)
Single channel beeper
Cartridge slot, Video output (UHF channel 36), Power input