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"The world is really so surreal these days that it's necessary for us to blunt it somehow in order to stay sane. The artist functions to short-circuit the buffering mechanism, so that people can occasionally perceive the weirdness of things as they are."
- William Gibson

Moving Picture Player  
  A machine that plays recorded pictures back for a single person - a combination DVD player and screen.  

It is interesting to note that the "cylinders" referred to in the following quotation are taken directly from the recording media of the time.

The lettering on the cylinders puzzled him. At first sight it seemed like Russian. Then he noticed a suggestion of mutilated English about certain of the words.

"oi Man huwdbi Kin"

forced itself on him as "The Man who would be King." "Phonetic spelling," he said. He remembered reading a story with that title, then he recalled the story vividly, one of the best stories in the world. But this thing before him was not a book as he understood it. He puzzled out the titles of two adjacent cylinders. 'The Heart of Darkness,' he had never heard of before nor 'The Madonna of the Future' -- no doubt if they were indeed stories, they were by post Victorian authors.

He puzzled over this peculiar cylinder for some time and replaced it. Then he turned to the square apparatus and examined that. He opened a sort of lid and found one of the double cylinders within, and on the upper edge a little stud like the stud of an electric bell. He pressed this and a rapid clicking began and ceased. He became aware of voices and music, and noticed a play of colour on the smooth front face. He suddenly realised what this might be, and stepped back to regard it.

On the flat surface was now a little picture, very vividly coloured, and in this picture were figures that moved. Not only did they move, but they were conversing in clear small voices. It was exactly like reality viewed through an inverted opera glass and heard through a long tube. His interest was seized at once by the situation, which presented a man pacing up and down and vociferating angry things to a pretty but petulant woman. Both were in the picturesque costume that seemed so strange to Graham. "I have worked," said the man, "but what have you been doing?"

From When the Sleeper Wakes, by H.G. Wells.
Published by Unknown in 1899
Additional resources -

The first phonograph recordings were done on cylinders of foil; these lasted for only a few playbacks.

(Note: this item was formerly [and incorrectly] attributed to Jules Verne. Sorry about that.)

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from When the Sleeper Wakes
  More Ideas and Technology by H.G. Wells
  Tech news articles related to When the Sleeper Wakes
  Tech news articles related to works by H.G. Wells

Moving Picture Player-related news articles:
  - Apple Video iPod - And HG Wells

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