Remember old-school televisions?

We recently got a new 46" Sony Bravia, and it took forever to get it set up. (It turned out the HDMI port on the cable box was inop.) The base had to be put together, then everything had to be plugged into it, then there was the signal issue, then the remote controls had to be set up. If we were using an aerial we would have had to wait ‘up to 50 minutes’ for the TV to find the broadcast signals.

Does anyone remember the old TVs, like in the '70s and earlier? Things were different then. For one thing, this is how you set them up:
[ul][li]Plug the TV into an outlet[/li][li]Attach the antenna[/li][li]Turn the TV on[/ul][/li]Attaching the antenna was the hardest part. You had to use a screwdriver to attach the wires. It was only hard if you had a big TV (TVs were heavy back then) and needed to contort yourself to reach to the back. When I was a kid, TVs had knobs on them; knobs that you had to walk over and physically turn. There was a big knob for tuning to one of 12 VHF channels, and another large knob for tuning to UHF channels (which, where I grew up, had three stations within range). And the knobs had rings around them so that you could fine-tune to the station. Volume? A little knob. And there were other little knobs for colour, vertical hold, horizontal hold, and one or two other things.

In the '70s dad bought a TV with a remote control. It had two buttons. (Yes, young’un; two.) Top button: Press once to turn the TV on. Press a second time to increase the volume. Press a third time to increase the volume again. Press a fourth time to turn the TV off. The other button advanced the channel. It only went forward, but that wasn’t a problem since there were only 12 channels.

When I was a kid, a 20" TV was a Big Deal. Twenty freakin’ inches diagonally! :eek: Only the posh folks had a 24" screen. And 20" was good enough for me in my apartment in the '80s and '90s. I only bought a 26" LCD TV in 2006. Comparing the 20" CRT, the 26" LCD, and the 46" HD LCD, I like the 46" most. :wink:

And speaking of screens, I remember when we moved back to the States when I was four, we got a new TV. It was a piece of furniture; a big cabinet you could use as a table. The CRT was round. Only it was masked at the top and sides, resulting in that curved-sided oblong shape that TV Guide used on their logo back when people actually bought (and needed) TV Guides. The inside of the TV was full of vacuum tubes. Old-fashioned as it was, it was not B&W. I did have – and still do, somewhere – a 9" Hitachi portable TV that’s B&W. It’s exactly like this one.

‘Back in the day’, TVs were heavy, expensive, and had relatively small screens. Today they can be huge and relatively inexpensive, light enough to be picked up by a single person (instead of two or three for the console sets of yesteryear), have amazing pictures and sound, and a zillion channels. (Note to Pink Floyd: You’ll need to update your ‘thirteen channels of shit on the TV to choose from’ lyric.) But the old TVs sure were quicker to put into operation.

I like living in the future.

My TV memories go back somewhat further. We got our first (a Zenith) probably in '53-'54. It was about the size of a washing machine and had a round black-and-white screen. Unless you were very handy, you had to hire someone to position the antenna up on the roof. All the controls matched Johnny L.A.'s description, plus one additional one: there was a switch that stretched out the image, making everything wider. We called it the “Kate Smith” switch. When her show was on, we always made her heavier than she already was. I assume the original purpose had to do with aspect ratios. Some sets (not ours) also had a magnifying glass in front of the screen.

I think one of the reasons Americans are fatter today, is that we no longer have to get up out of our chairs to turn the TV on or off, change the channel, adjust the volume, fix the horizontal- or vertical-hold, etc. That added up to a whole lot of exercise we’re not getting anymore.

Oh, and another thing: We can’t even use the old-style TVs as stand-alone units anymore, since the switch to digital signals. You either need a converter box, or a cable box, or else just use it for DVD or (gasp!) video tape.

My Hitachi came with a two cords; one for a/c, and one for using the portable 12 v battery. If I cared to watch a 9" B&W image, and if I had the CRT focused (it’s a little blurry), it’s no longer a ‘portable’ since it requires a/c power for a converter box.

Heck, the old TVs were delivered by dealers, not bought at a warehouse store by a consumer. I was the apprentice of a local TV sales-and-repair-store in a big city suburb, and we used to install console units in customer’s homes. It was a full day’s job; putting up a roof antenna, hauling the TV unit in to the living room, connecting it and educating the customer on how to turn it on and change the channel. And there was no remote!

I still have a Sony tv bought in 1994 in my living room. I have absolutely no interest in replacing it with a flat screen.

I have a 18 inch flat screen on the bedroom wall. Its ok if you are looking straight at it. Try looking from an angle. It looks almost white and the picture is difficult to see. Pisses me off when I’m putting clothes in my dresser because it would be nice seeing tv. But the dresser is off to an angle from the bed and tv.

You forgot to mention degaussing the tube. Also getting the rooftop antenna aimed was a two person job. “No, back the other way.” “What other way?” “Like it was before.” “Before? We’ve been doing this for 2 hours. What do you mean ‘Before’?”

My newest TV is a 2002 Sony. It’s not a widescreen television, but I love it.

Fifty-seven channels and nothin’ on…

Fifty-seven channels and nothin’ on…

Born in 63, grew up with a 60s GE black and white set in my room. One thing about the old TVs they took a few minutes to warm up, none of this instant on stuff. Did anybody use a wire clothes hanger attached to the antenna leads when necessary, we did.

Surprisingly, you can. At least, around here, we can still pick up a couple analog channels. They play old TV shows. I think they may be small stations locally owned and operated, and thus somehow exempt. Either that, or I’m running into the same phenomenon that I would occasionally hit with my old black and white TV–picking up channels from cable through an antenna (or, in my case, the Atari). But it would have to be a much stronger signal, as there’s no cable in the house anymore.

And foil and pets and siblings and neighborhood kids and…:smiley:

I remember Sylvania brand television sets had a low lumen light frame around the screen that would illuminate whenever the television was turned on. There was some nonsense about this causing less damage to the eyes as you watched.

Assume FOX viewing positions!

Born in '62 here. We had a single 13" B&W TV when I was a kid, and I didn’t live anyplace with a color TV until 1978, when I was halfway through high school. That TV was a huge - huge! - 19" model. And you could get all of 5 stations where I lived, like pretty much anywhere.

I don’t watch much TV, but I’d never go back to those days.

…and when you shut them off, a little white dot would remain on in the middle of the screen for at least a minute or two, and slowwwwwly dim out… (“I still see it!”)

The channels dial on our TV’s all had 12 settings - channels 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11 and12. In place of a channel “1”, there was a setting UHF - which forever baffled me. (I was born in '69, I am describing TVs as they were in the mid-to-late 70s, after UHF channels had fallen out of use.) At any rate, all the “UHF” channel only ever showed was snowscreen.

There were three networks - ABC, NBC and CBS. ABC was otherwise referred to as “Channel 7” but on all our TVs, you had to set the dial to number 8 to get ‘channel 7." Likewise, NBC was channel 4, but was accessed on number 2 on the dial. CBS was channel 6, but was on number 4 on the dial. Channel 3 was PBS, but referred to on-air as “Channel 17”. Number 12 on the dial was a local access station that showed mainly reruns "Gilligans’ Island", “Bewitched”, etc. Channel 9 was the Canadian Broadcasting Channel (I grew up in Buffalo, NY and we picked up their broadcasts.)

Although color TVs were pretty much the norm by then, many of the reruns appearing on Channel 12 still had an opening tag on them boasting of being “in color.” For example, at the beginning of many "Bewitched’ episodes - Elizabeth Montgomery would appear on the living room set and exclaim “Next is a show about a suburban witch - in magical full color!!!”

At about one or two a.m., the channels would all sign off - stop broadcasting for the day. Most of the stations would play the Star-Spangled Banner anthem over a picture of the American flag. Of course the CBC didn’t. They signed off with vintage footage of a very regal looking Queen Elizabeth on horseback gazing out over the (presumably) Canadian tundra while “O Canada” played in the background.

We had one of those fancy-smancy rotors on our antenna. Twist the big knob around and the rotor control box would go ka-chuck, ka-chunk, etc as the internal motors would match the rotation on the roof.
Then you would try to fine tune the position for the best picture. Two ka-chunks North, ack, too much, one ka-chunk back. Repeat as needed.

Anyone ever watch Steve Allen’s late-nightly show? It was my favorite; he was the hippest dude around compared to Paar or Carson. Did you know that 99% of those shows no longer exist as the network erased the tapes shortly after broadcast. Tape was expensive, and who would ever want to see a TV show a second time?

Some people still do that, setting up an LED string to pulse and flicker in time with the picture, lighting up the wall behind the TV. It’s supposed to increase the contrast of the image or something. I’m tempted to try it, if I could figure it out.

What I find most interesting about TVs today is that they aren’t supposed to touch the floor. Most old TVs had big speakers or legs for sitting on the floor (or had a little tray to keep your TV Guides) whereas modern TVs have tiny stands and require a separate cabinet, or go without to attach to the wall.

*A lot *of taped shows prior to 1970 are likely lost because, as you said, they were either taped over or disposed of to save money and space. For example,most of Carson’s New York shows (including his first show in 1962) are now gone as are the earlier Tonight shows with Paar and Allen. Carson commented that a lot of historical material was lost when these taped interviews were erased as well as a number of outstanding comic and musical performances.

Getting back on topic, I’ve always prized myself for being able to master all the controls of a 24" color TV set when I was three.