Saturday, July 21, 2007

Color Television For Just Pennies!

Back in the days when it took tv sets a half-minute or so to warm up and show us a picture (and perhaps another half minute to make it a good picture), trying to watch daytime television was pretty much a waste.

It wasn’t because of the programming, but just the ability of the picture tubes to put out a strong enough image to overcome the sunlight. I remember times when we had to close the drapes if we wanted to make out anything. Later improvements brought better sets, but my memories of those early days are washed-out pictures that just didn’t cut it.

My father’s stepmother, a chiseled block of cold steel if ever there was one, had a somewhat larger set with a round picture tube. The bigger sets were like that; none were square or rectangular as we know them. It was, of course, black-and-white, as were all sets of the day. But, for a few cents, you could have color! And she did.

It was a film of plastic which clung easily to the charged tube. Light on the top, dark on the bottom, and people-colored in the middle. When color tvs did become available, they cost somewhere around $1,000 in the days when ordinary people might be making $3000 or so a year. Sets could not be delivered and turned on with the expectation they would run for years.

In this whole area, there are now but eight tv repair shops. I bought mine 14 years ago and it has never needed repairs; we have another that’s 24 years old, same deal. They no longer use tubes, which caused 90% of the problems.


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