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The system was based around ‘Viewdata’ - a type of information retrieval service in which a subscriber can access a remote database over a standard telephone line. A viewdata (Teletext) enabled TV was used to access the data.
Samuel Fedida was credited as inventor of the system. Fedida had the idea for Viewdata in 1968, and the first prototype became operational in 1974.
In 1984 a company called ROCC (also known as Rediffusion) developed a way for pensioners to be able to buy their weekly shopping using the television set in their home. Backed by the Gateshead Council and connected to Tesco supermarket, the system was a success. The online shopping system used displayed a catalogue of products the user could buy, and allowed them to add items to a “shopping basket”. There was no way to pay online. Payment was done in person when Tesco delivered the items. It is the first recorded instance of online shopping in the world.
This system is on display at the museum.
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This exhibit has a reference ID of CH50171. Please quote this reference ID in any communication with the Centre for Computing History.