Sega Vision
The Sega-Vision was covered in Playboy magazine, hence this rather racy product shot, which Sonic has kindly helped us censor for mainstream consumption — Image: Playboy / Sega

When you think 'Sega', there's a good chance images of the Dreamcast, Mega Drive or Game Gear leap into your mind – despite the fact that the company hasn't been producing domestic gaming hardware for quite some time now.

While Sega is famous for consoles and arcade systems, its first product for the domestic market wasn't a gaming platform, but a television. Back in 1977, it released the Sega-Vision, a (for the time) huge rear-projection television set designed by Earl "Madman" Muntz, whose practice of simplifying complex electronic devices became known as 'Muntzing'.

A self-made businessman and engineer who also sold cars and other consumer electronics via his "Madman" alter ego, Muntz is the man who is credited with coining the term 'TV' – an abbreviation of television. His company, Muntz Manufacturing, Inc., was gobbled up by Sega in June 1976hence it owning his latest, big-screen design (interestingly, the patent for the video projecting system used in the Sega-Vision belonged to Sony).

The Sega-Vision was one of the first rear-projection TVs on the market and came in 44-inch and 50-inch screen sizes; according to Sega Retro, it came in three SKUs, and all of them were pretty pricey.

The CR-401 model was the cheapest, costing $1495 and boasting a 44-inch screen. The 50-inch DCR-530 cost a whopping $2395 and came complete with a roll-top cabinet made from solid oak, which would cover the screen when the TV wasn't being used (this model also came with a remote control). The CR-511 was an upgraded version of the CR-401 with a larger 50-inch screen and remote control – it cost $1895.

Despite adverts featuring Los Angeles Dodgers star Steve Garvey and an appearance on the TV show The Price is Right (as a prize, obviously), it seems that Sega-Vision was not the commercial success the company had hoped for.

Sega would revive the name for its cheap (and rather nasty) 2009 portable MP4 player, the Sega Vision.