clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Watch this: Andy Hertzfeld's 23-year-old 'Frox' smart TV had a Wiimote-like controller

New, 38 comments

Smart TVs have finally become both practical and popular forms of media playback, but it's been a long and complicated journey since the 1989 creation of the Frox entertainment system.

Andy Hertzfeld Frox Demo 1990
Andy Hertzfeld Frox Demo 1990

Smart TVs have finally become both practical and popular forms of media playback, but it's been a long and complicated journey since the 1989 creation of the Frox entertainment system. The 23-year-old software — which predates modern smart TVs by about two decades — was a user-friendly home entertainment system that was both coded and demoed by former Apple "software wizard" Andy Hertzfeld. The software used a "Magic Wand" that functioned similarly to a Wiimote (instead of a mouse or traditional remote) and was used to control various forms of media playback. The simple UI could also be customized by dragging and dropping new sounds, colors, graphics, and commands, and the software also allowed users of any skill level to code new commands using simple icons. If you've never heard of Frox, there's a good reason: when it launched in October of 1991, it cost anywhere from $10,000 to a bank-breaking $50,000.