TVs Through the Ages

Progress through technology ~ Audi motors advertising slogan circa 1986 

I am not a TV watcher… I never really have been one. TV watching in my growing up years was controlled; we six children had to choose what to watch, but if the other kids chose something different, well… bonus! 

When I graduated from college, my parents gave me a sewing machine (at my request), because having a TV just wasn’t that important to me. My very first personal TV was a small (12″ diagonal) black/white one that I bought at Sears in the summer of 1978. It cost maybe $100, and I paid it out at $10 a month for a year. It had no remote control, rather it had a dial that you would turn to the station you wanted, and it needed an aerial (rabbit ears) to work. 

Recently, while cleaning out old files, we found a handwritten invoice from Curtis TV & Video, dated 12/15/80. It was for our Sony 19″ Color Remote TV. Total cost was $657. We put a down payment of $157 and financed the $500 in 12 payments of $46.66. Joel had just begun practicing law, and we didn’t have much money. That TV lasted until after we moved to this house… maybe 20 + years? After that one, I have never been able to figure out how to work subsequent ones… 

The remote control on this TV had an on/off switch, a mute button and the 13+ channel buttons, of which there were only 6 that actually had channels we could watch. You looked at the TV guide and turned on the show you wanted to watch when it was time to watch it. How quaint! 

In the fall of 1995, our previous house was burglarized, and many electronics were taken, along with shotguns, jewelry, computer equipment and odd things, like our coats, Joel’s underwear and belts, and small oriental throw rugs. I think the burglars used the coats and rugs to wrap up stuff, but the underwear/belts? We’re still scratching our heads about that. 

But they didn’t take that ancient 19″ Sony TV! Did it not fit through the window they jimmied open? Or was it just too old fashioned? All I know is that when we moved to our current house, it came with us. With all the costs of moving and re-decorating, plus a car wreck that required buying a new one (Bert!), once again, we found ourselves without any extra money for a new TV. 

For a long time we resisted the siren song of cable TV, but finally that good old TV bit the dust, and because it was so ancient, we didn’t see any reason to fix it. So we succumbed to getting cable, mostly to take advantage of the high speed internet feature. But with it came a new TV with such a complicated remote that I had to refer to written instructions in order to make it work. I think I was successful once. 

As time marched on, here came an even newer new TV, an HD flat screen one, which is even worse. I have no idea how it works, and I guess I just don’t care. But when grandkids come around, I suppose I’ll have to finally learn! I’ll bet they’ll be able to teach me. 

In the meantime, you can find me in my cave, reading my books by candlelight…


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