1969 Compu-Serv started. (Name later changed to CompuServe)
1978 The Source founded by Bill Von Meister. Von Meister wanted to send airline reservations, restaurant reviews, banking information and anything else that people could think of to do into their homes. The Source was the first online service aimed at the average consumer and the forerunner of what would become AOL.
1979 Von Meister kicked out of company by partner and financial backer Jack Taub for running up huge debts.
September 1980 Readers Digest buys 51 percent stake in The Source for $3 million.
December 1980 Von Meister begins on his next project the Home Music Store. Von Meister planned to send music out via satellite and have cable stations pick it up and then target it to users. Users would have a decoding and reassembling device to play the music on analog stereos. People could buy the recordings for 20 to 60 percent off from the Home Music Source. This project attracts Marc Seriff a programmer who would help build AOL. The project fails because the music industry fears that it would destroy the industry.
1982 The Control Video Corporation sets up shop to build the new GameLine. Dan Case, brother of Steve Case, represented one of the companies that invested in the project.
January 1982 Von Meister displays his next invention the GameLine Master Module for the Atari at the Consumer Electronics Show. The GameLine console allowed users to download a video game, pay for it with a credit card and then play for a set number of times or until the machine was turned off.
1983 Consumer Electronics Show Von Meister shows off the GameLine Module with much fanfare for a product that didn't exist yet. Many people placed orders for the GameLine at the show. Steve Case, future CEO of AOL, was one of the onlookers at the convention and had been interested in the work of Von Meister since he used The Source and was fascinated with the idea linking the world together through an electronic medium.
1984 CBS Inc. Sears Roebuck & Company and IBM start work on an online service.
1984 BellSouth loans CVC $5 million to test-market an at-home subscription service called MasterLine for use on the Apple II and Commodore 64 machines. At the time the Apple and the Commodore were the only computers with mass penetration in the home market. CVC reconfigures the GameLine modules for the service a subscription cost $20 per month for use of 20 different programs. The modems were available for sale or rental from CVC. The test was successful but not the hit that BellSouth was hoping for.