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Electric Dreams

Airs Wednesday, June 1, 2011 at 8 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: The Sullivan-Barnes family, who have bravely agreed to be transported back to 1970 - the dawn of the digital age - and then fast-forwarded at the rate of a day per year through the Seventies, Eighties and Nineties in "Electric Dreams."

This three-part series provides a unique insight into how the technological revolution of the last 40 years has transformed all our lives.

The Time Tunnel

Explore the Time Tunnel interactive feature and travel through the '70s, '80s and '90s. Reminisce about games, gadgets and gizmos.

"Electric Dreams" features the Sullivan-Barnes family, who have bravely agreed to be transported back to 1970 - the dawn of the digital age - and then fast-forwarded at the rate of a day per year through the Seventies, Eighties and Nineties.

Episode One - 1970s airs at 8 p.m.

The family must live through the digital wilderness of the 1970s at a rate of a year per day, starting in 1970. They have their very own technical support team to source and supply them with the vintage technology that would have been available to British households during the decade.

By modern standards the 1970s are decidedly low-tech and the family face many challenges. They endure a spell without central heating and get to grips with the suburban favorite, the teasmade. They see the effects of '70s industrial unrest on their home when they experience a power cut and home entertainment becomes even more limited when their newly-arrived color television breaks down.

But it's not all grim - the arrival of chopper bikes, the first video game and a mix-tape expert who shows them how to create the soundtrack for their very own slide show all help to prove that life in the 1970s had its upside too.

Episode Two - 1980s airs at 9 p.m.

The family must live through the digital wilderness of the 1980s at a rate of a year per day, starting in 1980. They have their very own technical support team who source and supply them with the vintage technology that would have been available to British households during the decade, including iconic technology such as the Walkman, Game and Watch and the CD player.

For a modern family it is a decade of challenges. In 1980 they attempt to cook a roast dinner in a microwave oven, as consumers of the time were encouraged to do. They are faced with a bewildering choice of home computers in 1982 and the arduous task of finding a rental shop that still supplies films on video cassette for their newly-arrived VHS player.

Dad takes a spin in the most famous technological flop of the decade, the Sinclair C5, but the family do experience an '80s success story when New Wave icons Ultravox pay a surprise visit to demonstrate the synthesizer technology which soundtracked the era.

Episode Three - 1990s airs at 10 p.m.

The family must live through the communication and home entertainment revolution of the 1990s, at a rate of a year per day, starting in 1990. They have their own Technical Support Team to source and supply them with the vintage technology that would have been available to British households during the decade.

They attempt to stay in touch using pagers and take a giant mobile phone and a rudimentary digital camera on a day trip to Paris in honor of the opening of the Channel Tunnel in 1994. Workplace technology becomes increasingly portable, but a home without access to the internet proves frustrating and the arrival of the 1990s world wide web is a far cry from what the kids are used to.

The 1990s see a whirlwind of technological progress and the family are inundated with gadgets and upgrades that infiltrate every area of their home. They are left reeling by the pace of change and surprised by the impact of 1990s tech on family life.

Video

Series Preview: Electric Dreams

Above: The Sullivan-Barnes family from Reading are a thoroughly modern family who own the latest in 21st century gadgetry. In a unique experiment they were stripped of all their modern tech and their own home was taken back in time so that they could live with the technology of earlier decades. The family lived a year per day starting in 1970 right up to the year 2000.

Video

Video Excerpt: Electric Dreams: Switch from Black and White to Color TV

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