I'm a child of the late 80's and early 90's. Inspirations for the Prof are drawn from the media that was prevalent at the time, yes we had inspiration before the wide-spread installation of cable modems.
When my wife and I were going house hunting, I had a simple requirement for any house we were looking at. There had to be a room that could be come my 'laboratory'. Or, rather, the laboratory of Professor von Explaino. We looked at a number of houses that had spare rooms where I could have a combined study/ laboratory but we eventually found one place that was great. It was a raised 1960's house. Fibro on the top, but bricked in underneath. One side held the garage and laundry, the other had a bathroom but a large, concrete floored area that was below legal height so couldn't be classified as a room. Brick walls, concrete floor, exposed beam ceiling. Enough room that we could split it between my wife and myself so we both have some areas to indulge our hobbies.