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The Cost of Technology Over the Decades [Infographic]

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In 1977 an Atari 2600 cost $200. Adjusted for inflation that’s $589–more than enough to buy an Xbox 360, Wii, and some accessories for both. Check out this infographic for comparisons between computers, cellphones, and more.

Over all the comparisons are novel, but we have to log a minor complaint about the Televisions Sets section. While its obvious they’re trying to show how much more you get for your money these days, it seems like would have been a better comparison to either show how much a 19″ color HDTV costs now or to show how much TV you could get for the adjusted-for-inflation $1,650 price tag. That said, it’s a fascinating look at the falling price of consumer goods.

[via Daily Infographic]

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 01/24/12

Comments (13)

  1. Dano

    Inflation sucks.

  2. 4G Reaper

    Wii is now 79.99, making it even more appealing then ever, picking one up this week. :)

  3. RusIT

    $899 for a officejet 6000 ? lol

  4. Gary

    You’re comparing apples and oranges. Any of the early devices shown, if manufactured today, would cost a fraction of the current devices shown.

  5. John

    I would like to see another comparison, this time on how long can you expect
    to use your gadgets. An 80’s TV could last 15 years, for how long will I be able
    to use my shiny, new ,”cheaper” HDTV?

  6. northpm

    i’d love to know where “4G Reaper” is getting a Wii for $79.99, i’d go buy one or two right now too at that price, just checked 2 online retailers and its listing at $149.99 still…

  7. Piet

    Nice compairison. Please also provide us with an estimation of product and price for over 30 years from now. :-)

  8. Joe

    So, so flawed. When you hand pick the products from the two years, you can manipulate the results. For example, the Atari 2600 was released in 1977. That was the brand spanking new price, compared to the other consoles 6-7 years after release. $589 is less than the $600 price tag the PlayStation 3 sported at launch.

    The Apple II was a high end computer at the time, and more appropriately compared to the Mac Pro. The list goes on and on. Maybe I should make an infographic about how everything is more expensive now, I’m sure I could do it!

  9. Cody


    A used Wii is $79.99 at GameStop.

  10. celly

    Always Atari stealing the limelight. Long live Colecovision!

  11. jazz2600

    HP Officejet Pro 6000 series printer sell for $120.

  12. Matt T.

    Yeah, but the Atari still works 35 years later.

  13. Steve-O-Rama

    I’m not sure that those old devices were manufactured with the primary intent of being obsolete, disposable technologies as many of today’s designs seem to be. Don’t get me wrong; I love modern technology, but it seems more like a business major (focused on the bottom line) was behind most recent designs, not an engineer that knew what s/he was doing.

    Also worth mentioning is that many more of ’em were manufactured here in the USA (including this Model M I’m using right now to type this!). We cannot simply leave the piss-poor wages paid to the workers in Asian nations out of those modern technology prices.

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