During the 1950's, television became the dominant mass media as people sought to bring television into their homes. In 1956, Buddy Gray, the owner of ‘Bud's Television Service’ in Boston Massachusetts, created the 'Home Viewing Chair'. The HVC consisted of a bespoke armchair, with attached remote control unit, and a footrest containing an ‘Admiral DZ-1314’ television set and miniature film reel system. The user would lift open the lid of the footrest to reveal the Admiral set, sit back in the chair and use the remote control to control the system. The remote control enabled the user to select from three channels; one being a collection of commercials, the second being a film that had recently been a box office success and the third generally being something more obscure, this unit contains the 3D movie; ‘It Came From Outer Space’. The HVC was available to rent at $5 for five days. We believe this to be one of the first examples of home entertainment being available to rent and in the light of Apple Inc announcing that their media application ‘iTunes’ will offer movie rentals we believe to have found this chair at a very relevant time.
This documentary video contains archive footage of how to use the Home Viewing Chair.