The Old Timey Computer Show 5th Anniversary and Survey Results

I got my Bachelor of Arts degree in film and television production in 2014. My first job out of university was a niche production house in my city that ran a nationwide closed circuit pseudo-television network with content for a specific industry. My responsibilities included cataloging their library of video on mini DV tape, digitizing it, and editing video content for the network. I also created advertisements for vendors that targeted our company's clients. The technology that powered the network was a proprietary stack that used rebranded generic DVRs that pulled packages of video content that loops endlessly until our company pushed updated packages. For these, another department assembled blocks of video exactly 8 hours in length, to the second. Some of these packages are tailored for specific clients' needs, but the main package is pushed to every other device in the network.

In 2018, I started watching always-on channels on Twitch that showed libraries of videos of specific subject matters, mostly movies or TV shows of a specific genre or a specific series. These channels frequently fell short in providing information on the shows being presented or emphasized the channel community to the detriment of the shows, and all of them were unlicensed and eventually terminated by Twitch. In May 2019, I was given the idea to create a channel of "old timey British computer shows" from Twitch broadcaster Chuboh, and I created what is now the Old Timey Computer Show on May 18, 2019. Using my experience from my video editing job, I set out to gather as much computer and video game-related video artifacts as I could find and avoid the pitfalls of the other 24/7 channels I used to watch, and when I created Mr. OTCS, my own software solution to manage the stream, I made it open source and not proprietary.

It is no exaggeration to say that the Old Timey Computer Show is the one long-term project of mine that I've poured more energy into across my entire life, even more than my personal Twitch stream, and even more than getting my degree. In five years of operation, the channel has gathered over 2,600 videos totalling over 1,300 hours of video, from as early as the 1946 footage of the ENIAC to long-running television series lasting through 2006, with every decade in between represented. Even with the coverage the OTCS library currently provides, there is yet more media in the wild yet to be added to the channel, so these numbers will increase even further. This once-lost media deserves a larger audience, and since I have the capability to give it just that, I feel the compulsion to try.

I had planned on refreshing the schedule this year after the current schedule had finished, but I continue to find little-known material that forces me to defer it. Links to these videos are posted on Twitter to @OTComputerShow as I find them, serving as a preview of schedules to come. Currently, I chart the entire schedule in advance and have limited means to modify it as it is live. This inflexibility is one of the greatest weaknesses of the methods I use to program the schedule, as it forces me to create everything without making mistakes before going live, but it is a very close reproduction of how my previous company created its programming schedules. I would like to replace Mr. OTCS with an extensive web framework for controlling the broadcast and schedule in real time, but this will be a long-term endeavor. As far as future content goes, as time passes, more content will qualify as "old timey" by most definitions, so viewers can look forward to more recent shows and some of the earliest video podcasts in future schedules. I currently plan to refresh the schedule in late 2024 or 2025.

Main Survey

The third annual viewer survey was open May 4-16. 161 responses were collected, slightly more than the 144 responses from the previous year's survey, which was held between May 4-16, 2023. Several new questions were added to this year's survey. The purpose of the surveys is to track changes in viewer behavior, so commentary will be provided for these answers only for notable shifts from last year's responses.

Repeat Responses

These questions were included close to the bottom of the survey form, but I'm placing them before all other answers because they provide some context for the following data.

Did you respond to the 2023 viewer survey?
Answer Result Last
Yes 22.4% 13.2%
No 77.6% 86.8%
If you answered Yes above, how much do you watch OTCS today compared to 2022?
Answer Result Last
Less than in 2023 22.2% 16.2%
The same amount 59.3% 70.3%
More than in 2023 18.5% 13.5%

Compared to 2022, the amount of time respondents are watching OTCS has appreciably changed, with 4-5% more respondents reporting they are watching more or less. This may be due to the expansion of 24/7 channels on Twitch in recent years.


How did you discover OTCS?
Answer Result Last
Twitch recommendation, including the channels list, front page, the Retro category, etc. 52.2% 67.4%
Twitch raid or shout-out 22.4% 17.4%
Searching, including search engine or searching Twitch itself without using recommendations 6.2% 8.3%
Word of mouth, including communities such as Discord 6.2% 3.5%
Social media post (including Twitter, Mastodon, etc.) 3.7% 2.8%
(New) Blog post (Cohost, Tumblr, etc.) 1.2% n/a
I don't remember (write-in answer) 5.6% n/a

A notable number of write-in answers indicate that some viewers have been watching OTCS for so long that they have forgotten what brought them to the channel.

Viewing Habits

How long have you been watching OTCS?
Answer Result Last
A few days 4.3% 5.6%
1-3 weeks 2.5% 2.8%
1-3 months 6.8% 9.7%
3-6 months 8.7% 9%
6-12 months 10.6% 22.2%
1-2 years[1] 31.1% 50.7%
2-4 years 36% n/a
How many hours each day do you watch OTCS?
Answer Result Last
0-1 47.2% 43.8%
1-3 36% 35.4%
3-5 9.9% 13.2%
5-8 3.7% 4.2%
8-12 1.9% 1.4%
12 or more 1.2% 2.1%
What times of day do you watch OTCS? (Multiple answers allowed.)
Answer Result Last
Early morning 22.4% 26.4%
Morning 30.4% 31.9%
Afternoon 37.3% 41.7%
Evening 57.1% 64.6%
Late night 62.1% 55.6%

Like last year, other singular responses include random times, all day, and during sleep. OTCS is commonly cited as a sleep aid, which is a valid way to enjoy the channel.

How do you watch OTCS? (Multiple answers allowed.)
Answer Result Last
Desktop/Laptop PC 86.3% 88.9%
Television (game console app, screencasting, etc.) 22.4% 16.7%
Mobile device (including tablets) 24.2% 24.3%
On a scale of 1-5, do you watch OTCS actively, or leave it running in the background?
Answer Result Last
1 (Running in background) 5.6% 4.2%
2 26.7% 29.2%
3 45.3% 42.4%
4 13.7% 16%
5 (Watching actively) 8.7% 8.3%
Where do you watch OTCS? (Multiple answers allowed.)
Answer Result Last
At home 95.7% 96.5%
At work (Not while working from home) 10.6% 14.6%
(New) While working from home 29.8% 2.1%
(New) At school 0% n/a
While commuting 3.1% 1.4%

In the 2023 survey, working from home was a common write-in answer. It is included here as a regular answer, with the stipulation that it is separate from watching at home while not working. At school is a new answer, but no respondents selected it.

How frequently do you participate in text chat?
Answer Result Last
Never 28% 28.5%
Occasionally 51.6% 53.5%
Sometimes 13% 12.5%
Often 5% 4.9%

Opinions on OTCS

On a scale of 1-5, how satisfied are you with the current programming schedule format?
Answer Result Last
1 0% 0%
2 1.9% 1.4%
3 23.6% 19.4%
4 41% 41.7%
5 33.5% 37.5%

The current 350-day programming schedule went live on March 21, 2023. It completed one iteration on March 20, 2024, almost exactly one year later. I am always surprised to find continued satisfaction with the current schedule format, largely because the format of 8 hour blocks played three times a day was decided very early in the channel's life, which validates the foresight I put into its structure from the beginning. As mentioned at the top of this post, I am planning on refreshing the schedule late this year or next year, and the same format will be retained. It will consist of largely the same order of continuous series with single videos shuffled and added to.

Answer Result Last
Far too much computer content 1.9% 0%
Somewhat too much computer content 9.9% 8.3%
A good balance between both 65.8% 69.4%
Somewhat too much video game content 17.4% 16.7%
Far too much video game content 1.2% 2.1%
How important is the show title information on the sides of the screen to you?
Answer Result Last
1 1.2% 0.7%
2 3.1% 2.8%
3 8.7% 8.3%
4 29.2% 22.2%
5 57.8% 66%
(New) How would you rate the overall educational value of the content on OTCS?
Answer Result
1 0%
2 2.6%
3 20.5%
4 46.2%
5 30.8%

The primary objective of OTCS is to showcase history telling itself. To the fullest extent possible, I provide no commentary or endorsement to any videos even though it is not possible to recreate the historical context in which they were produced. Due to this policy, some videos present incorrect or outdated information as fact, which I believe is part of that history. OTCS has a stated non-endorsement policy with no warranty that any information is accurate. To this end, I wanted to gauge how many viewers find educational value in what is selected for broadcast, with the hope that the more knowledgeable segment of the OTCS viewers will dispute inaccurate information in the chatroom.

See also the new write-in question, "What shows or types of shows do you feel are the most educational?", below.

Non-English Content

What is your opinion on non-English content on OTCS?
Answer Result Last
Strongly dislike 6.9% 4.2%
Dislike 13.1% 13.3%
Neither like nor dislike 23.8% 32.9%
Like 21.9% 20.3%
Strongly like 11.9% 14%
No opinion/Do not watch non-English content 10% 6.3%
Would you be interested in a patron-supported fund to commission translations for non-English content?
Answer Result Last
Yes 25.8% 25.5%
No 25.8% 21.9%
Maybe 45.3% 48.2%
Other 3.1% 4.4%

Some write-in answers suggest the use of AI transcription and translation for non-English content. I have experimented with the most popular tools that are publicly available for these tasks. Because the videos I'm prioritizing for translation are documentaries, I cannot afford even a single error in the transcription, which could invalidate both human and machine translation. My plan was to use transcription services to assist human translators due to the very long length of some of these videos. While initial results were promising, even my own untrained eye was able to point out basic errors in transcriptions of Japanese videos, so I will not be exploring this avenue further until significant improvements in accuracy are reported.

Can you translate videos?

Please e-mail me at gxian1 at minuspoint - com if you can assist with video subtitles of old documentaries, particularly in Japanese.

External Pages

Answer Result Last
Yes 49.1% 49.3%
No 50.9% 50.7%
Do you follow the Twitter account @OTComputerShow?
Answer Result Last
Yes 11.8% 22.2%
No 29.8% 35.4%
I don't use Twitter 58.4% 42.4%

Though this focuses on only a single platform, fewer users are reporting continued social media use from last year, which suggests that social media as a whole is seeing decreasing popularity.

Write-in Questions

All of these questions were optional.

What are your favorite/least favorite shows or types of shows on OTCS and why?

These are two separate questions, and the responses here resemble those of last year's survey. As before, several specific types of content were given as both liked and disliked shows by respondents, including non-English promotions for video games, documentaries, instructional videos for legacy programs, and Apple Computer videos. I see this polarization on opinions as a positive for the channel, as viewers feel strongly enough on their opinions to write them in. This is one of the motivations for the auto-generated upcoming schedule page, for viewers who don't want to watch the current programme to see when it will end so they can return later.

(New) What shows or types of shows do you feel are the most educational?

I wanted to focus more on what viewers felt is the most objectively valuable factors of the Old Timey Computer Show, and the most obvious of those is the historical window, both in terms of content and visual aesthetic. The most common answers for the most educational content include the expected Computer Chronicles and documentaries, but standout answers include:

  • Two consecutive videos on the same subject, produced a few years apart
  • Dated technology overviews
  • Training videos for obsolete operating systems
  • Computer lab tours

These answers were given to highlight the contrast in the state of computer technology in the time of their release against the present day.

When should the cut-off date be for a piece of audiovisual media to be considered "old timey"?

I introduced this question last year in an attempt to get insight on what people think should be considered vintage or retro. Like last year, the most common answers include windows of 20 years, 15 years, or 25 years before the present. Other answers include before the years 2000, 2004, 2005, or 2007, and I believe these correlate to the introduction of specific technologies like the advent of YouTube and smartphones. Most of the answers indicate that "old timey" is not a period of time, but the period after a crossroads in technological and cultural shifts, and for the Old Timey Computer Show's subject matter, this is currently the turn of the millennium.

I will reiterate that as the technology world makes new breakthroughs, more and more content will be included in the channel, and that we should not despair at the passing of time but reflect on the amount of progress that has been made in advancing computer technology. I plan on repeating this question every year and watching for changes in attitudes about the divide between "old" and "new" media.

Would you be interested in OTCS merchandise? If so, name examples of kinds of products you would buy.

One of the most glaring flaws of the Old Timey Computer Show is the lack of branding. The current channel icon is a graphic from Bits and Bytes, and I would like a custom-made icon and logo for the channel that I can use in merchandise that isn't derived from an existing show. I've given much thought on how best to represent the channel's wide time range in a logo, and I'm doubtful on simply mimicking the appearance of a vintage technology company logo, as I don't want to represent only a single company, product, or country. I had hoped to introduce a rebranding in time for the 5th anniversary, but more deliberation is needed for the new image of the channel and its content.

For products that respondents are interested in purchasing, answers include shirts, mugs, buttons, keychains, and stickers.


All of these questions are optional, and the majority of respondents chose to answer these questions.

What is your age?
Answer Result Last
(New) 15 or under 0% n/a
15-30 8.8% 18.6%
30-45 69.4% 62.9%
45 or older 21.3% 17.1%
What is your time zone?

This is asked as an open question. The majority of answers are United States time zones. Standard and daylight saving time zones are combined. Outside of the United States, UTC time zones are used instead.

Answer Result Last
Eastern Time Zone (UTC-5) 37.2% 33.8%
Central Time Zone (UTC-6) 20.6% 20.3%
Mountain Time Zone (UTC-7) 3.1% 3.8%
Pacific Time Zone (UTC-8) 21.7% 12%
UTC (includes GMT and BST) 10.1% 12.8%
UTC+1 and UTC+2 (includes CET and CEST) 4.7% 13.5%
Where is your home located?

This question asks for broad geographical location, rather than country.

Answer Result Last
North/Central America 76.3% 69.3%
South America 3.1% 0.7%
Europe 15.6% 26.4%
Africa 0% 0.7%
Asia 2.5% 0.7%
Australia/New Zealand 2.5% 2.1%
What languages do you speak?

All respondents answered English, but some answers included Spanish, German, French, Japanese, Dutch, Arabic, and Russian. Most of the answers that included Japanese clarified it as minimal or basic.

What is your current occupation?

Similar to the respondents who provided an answer last year, the majority of answers include IT positions and students.

How long have you been using computers?
Answer Result Last
Since childhood 78.6% 78.3%
Since primary/middle school 15.1% 13.8%
Since high school 3.1% 5.1%
Since college/university 1.3% 2.9%
(New) After graduation 1.3% n/a


When the channel started in mid-2019, there were between 3-6 viewers on an average day, and 10 on a lucky one. After several months of refining the schedule and the format, the channel steadily increased in size as popular channels started promoting it, and there are now no less than 30 viewers at any given moment. I would like to thank every viewer for making this endeavor possible. Whether you watched the channel from a Twitch raid, debated on the videos in the chat, or even just told someone else about the channel, all of these activities makes the last five years of work worth it.

Thank you for supporting The Old Timey Computer Show.