5 February 2008

The Evolution of TV

I've been trying to buy a new TV for the past year, but every time I decide on something, it seems a newer model comes out. By the time I re-think my decision and decide on the newer model, and even newer one comes out. Bloody hell. Plasma, LCD, 720p, 1080p, HDTV, etc... Was it always this tough to keep up with the TV trend?

Well, besides Facebook, TV's are probably the number one time-waster in today's world, and probably the reason you don't have any friends (or need any friends, actually). The TV companies are also trying to make TV's cooler day by day to make sure all you all want one; after all, they weren't always cool. Take a look:

Early 1900's:

TV's weren't totally electric back in the day. They were semi-mechanical, had huge bodies, but the screens were tiny:

1928 G.E. Octagon

You see that little round piece of glass all the way at the top of the TV? Yup. That was the screen. Ah yes; i'm sure the full theatre experience was overwhelming.

1928 Baird Model C

Anyway, moving on - as the years passed, the screen stayed small, but at least the size of the whole TV was more compact, so now you can put it on a table. Or on your lap. Or take it with you to the bathroom if you really didn't want to miss Desperate Housewives.

1930 Baird Televisor

Pre World-War II:

In the few years before WW2, the fully electric TV was perfected, and with this, many countries started broadcasting. Although still expensive, TV's relatively became a lot cheaper, and because no one had internet yet, they became more wide-spread. It was a great time to be anti-social.

Electric TV's didn't need all the space that the mechanical ones did, so the units were smaller and much more manageable:

1939 Andrea 1F5

1937 Cossor 437T

And then came the second world war and all TV production stopped, and many channels stopped broadcasting too. It was a time for people to go out and make real friends again, as the war went on.

Post World-War II:

During the war, families couldn't buy much, and therefore managed to save up quite a bit of money. As soon as the war was over in 1945, people went out to buy things, and TV's were placed on the "gotta have it" list. The real boom in TV's happened in the next few years.

TV's now were more portable than ever, and most looked like little radios:

1948 Admiral 19A111

1948 Philco 48-700


The fifities signalled some very interesting developments for the TV; design-wise, they started looking more like TV's we would recognize today, and started reaching sizes where you don't have to squint your eyes to see the image. Also, some color TV's finally started to creep in with the rest of the bunch (yep, all the TV's above were, infact, black and white):

1953 Philips ATX100

1957 RCA 21 inch

But of course, most TV's were American or European built, (some made in Russia and Brazil). But after the destruction WWII caused in Japan, an empire based on technology was rebuilt in the far east, and hence came the first real Japanese made TV:

1953 Sharp TV3-14T

Visual radio, they called it.

Anyhow, with the whole boom in television making, the number of households with TV's just in the US increased by almost 1200%. By the beginning of the 1950's, only 8% of US households had TV's, but by the end of the decade, this number shot up to 87%.

The remote control was also finally created, turning an already lazy device into a total couch potato maker. This magnificent invention was hailed with words like "MAGIC" and "SPACE COMMAND" and so on :) The first design looked more like a gun, click below for some really funny ad's:

Remote Control AD 1

Remote Control AD 2


Lots happened in this era; color TV's became more and more popular (expensive color TV's were actually introduced in the fifties, but most people stuck to their cheaper black and whites then), more countries started broadcasting, and home video recorders were also created. TV's were now a regular part of the home; take a look, some of you might remember some of the models below, or something close at least:

1960 Sony Portable

1970 Keracolor - You might remember this (supposedly) futuristic design if you've ever lived in the UK in the 70's

1973 Philco 13inch - Look at those dials!

1974 Sony Color 19inch - Love the rabbit antenna!

1974 Zenith - This wooden look was actually considered fashionable back in the day

1975 Sony Betamax - The first home video recorder

Remember these betamax video tiny tapes?

1979 Portland 19inch


Yup, the TV was finally starting to look like the design we are familiar with today. Remote control slowly started becoming less expensive (it used to be an extra $400 or so just to have a remote control) and became really popular by the end of the 80's/early 90's. TV's also had this wooden look which was supposed to be classy, but that was soon replaced with the wood/silver (well, grey) look, and later in the 90's again replaced with the plain black plastic look.

1980 Magnavox 19inch - clicking those buttons; CHAK, CHAK, CHAK!

1984 Zenith

1991 Sony Trinitron

1995 Elite Projection

Projector TV's also started appearing as consumer demanded bigger screens and the full theatre experience. They were actually introduced to the market in the middle of the 80's, but only really took off by the mid-90's as their prices came down to reasonable levels. They still weren't very clear to watch though in bright rooms. Anyhow, the TV had reached a milestone in 1996, as by that time there were a total of 1 billion TV's world-wide. Whew.

In 1997, Pioneer introduced the first Plasma TV to the market, and suddenly having a TV wasn't just a necessity, it was actually 'cool'. Plasma technology was around for quite a while, but only in this year was it actually sold to the public.

1997 Pioneer 50" Plasma

2000-Modern Day:

Having a TV was now cool. Plasma TV's, then LCD screens, then HDTV's and so on, slim enough to put in your room and make all that old furniture you have look stylish. Yup, TV's were the one thing you needed to make any home look modern - see the difference:

boring home...

Extra Cool Modern Villa!

And so it goes. Personally, I can't tell the difference between your average plasma, LCD and HDTV. Maybe it's just a conspiracy to get us to pay more for the same stuff. Nevertheless, LCD TV's have now become the mainstream, and cover 50% of all the TV's to be shipped globally in 2008, and they come in all shapes and sizes:

42 inch LCD

12 inch LCD

Sizes? They also keep getting bigger; so far the largest LCD screen has recently been unveiled by Sharp at a whopping 108":

Dude, that's a big TV.

And I guess the coming years will be even more exciting! That's all for now; we've pretty much covered the past 80 years of TV, so hopefully i'll be doing the next of these reviews in 2088. Stay tuned!

Ref: Tvhistory.com, Wikipedia, & About


Evil Odd said...

I ordered a Sony Bravia 40' W Series a month ago!

They've been out of stock and completely back-logged at the factory..so I'm burning with 'waiting'...

The worse thing is that I got rid of a tiny t.v. that I had - so now I HAVE NO T.V.! I'm starting to get tired of watching Nip Tuck and playing Silent Hill...

Anonymous said...

I'm not liking you right now , you just can't steal pictures from the web and write your name on it. there is a thing called copy right you know.

But very informative , did you write it by yourself?

icon said...

woow .. thats awesome you know..?!!
just compare between the first and the last pictures

ammaro said...

evil; where are you? if im correct and youre not in bahrain, you can watch everything you want online. if you're here, well, the net is too slow to watch anything.

anon; excuuuuuuuse me? yes i can! the pics weren't copyrighted, and i spent far too long researching this whole article to have someone just come and rip it off my site (which has been done before) so i tagged my photos :p and yes, i did write the whole thing myself!

icon; haha, yeah, you're right!

Maya // مايا said...

Mashallah Ammaro :) I've never enjoyed the evolution of technology and stuff but hey- you made it fun :) Wouldn't miss DHW for the world :D

Looks like you won't be getting a loan for a tv, huh? Its a perishable. :P I won't ever do that- thanks loads aye.. Your posts on finances are enlightening! :)

@Anon: This guy can write. Its *sooo* him! You obviously haven't read his old posts.

Redbelt said...

You are one with too much time.
However, let me say that Pioneer has a great deal going on. a 42" plasma, 1080p for BD 399. Yes! ONLY! That's like a steal man!
Oh, BTW, yacoub stole your Japanese DVDs from me in the last bloggers gathering. Your loss mate.

'Grey' said...

I am so confused ! Think i will buy a 1080 in the near future ( i.e in 5 years from now )

Semaj said...

Off topic point; I watched Close Encounters of the Third kind (on a HD movie channel), and you would believe the amount of detail captured even on a movie nearly 30 years old.

BTW, that last picture is nuts. In the words of Red 2 from Star Wars, "Look at the size of that thing."

CG said...

Ammar. I am close to tears. I still have one of those tv's with buttons that go chak chak chak. I have a box of betamax movies that I thought I would one day convert to VHS, but I guess I missed that boat and now need to find out how I will ever get them converted to digital format.
The worst thing about this post is that I ACTUALLY like the tv in the wooden cupboard thingy....oh crap. I am so fecking old, I like things that are considered a joke nowadays. I need to blog. My life is ebbing away from me. Plasma? LCD? Crikey, just go for chak chak chak. you will be happy. trust me.

manutdfanatic said...

Wow. That was long.

I just read the first paragraph, and the pictures did the rest of the trick. Heheh.

Desert-Roses said...

well... let us be honest here!!
I just looked at the pics

and that one..!!??

(1974 Sony Color 19inch)

I have a similar one, and trust me it functions very will ;)

how much you think the museum will take it from me? :P

Desert-Roses said...

hmm..you know of what I am thinking?

You always post long posts, most of times, let us say!!

Now..I was looking at the previous post {Wise words (again)}
and there were 20 comments

I noticed that there are fewer comments on the long posts..

you know, I am thinking...of those who read it..and left a comment ...
are these who really truly enjoy your thoughts?...
I am thinking of me too, when I write long posts...

can't you sense sometimes that ppl leave comments for just the sake of commenting? not bcuz they really enjoyed reading and bcuz what you wrote was influencing or interesting or maybe brought a thought to them....

well..don't take it personal...plz
am not critiquing your blog...but that was what came into my mind when I noticed what I noticed in your blog...

taqo said...

The 1979 Portland.
We have something like that around our house. Vintage, baby! I'm keeping it forever and ever.

rosh said...

Man Alive! my beloved Magnavox - thought I'd never see one again :)

Those tele's had much character to today's gizmo's. The Magnavox represented, family & friends together to watch Who shot JR, amongst plenty other memorable Tele shows....

*humming away Willie Nelson's Sweet memories sweet memories hmmmmm.... *

M. Drummond said...

1939 Andrea 1F5 looks badass

Anonymous said...

you failed to mention the FUTURE of television: HDTV shared for free on the Internet with BitTorrent P2P.


romston said...

Nice article !!! :)


Anonymous said...

Just gonna throw this in - a 150" tv was unveiled at CES this year. - trumping that 108" one

DividedYouFall said...

Just gonna throw this in - a 150" tv was unveiled at CES this year. - trumping that 108" one

Zainal said...

i just wounder what life could be without T.V computers and the internet ...

good post ammaroz , keep em coming !

La Reine said...

ok this was actually interesting hehehe way3a the first tv!!

Anonymous said...

Cool article - just wish TVs was spelled correctly, not TV's, just add an s for TVs.


Charles said...

"1939 Andrea 1F5 looks badass"

that was true & funny

Coolred38 said...

Whenever we visited my grandmother when I was a child there was a tv similar to the 1957 RCA 21 inch in her living room. All the times I went there I never saw the darn thing on...apparently it worked but gramma thought kids shouldnt watch that "sinful" things shown on it...just what the hell were they showing on tv back in the 70' n 80's...lol....must go back and get a refresher course. Compared to now it was all Sesame Street fluff.

We had one in our living room similar to the 1974 Zenith...our house burned down one year and everything was melted or burned beyond recognition...but that tv was still standing there in reasonable shape...didnt work of course but was still standing there.

I recently bought a flat screen...but realized it has a draw back...I can no longer see whats going on from over in the corner where my desk is at cause the flat screen doesnt have the curve obviously...I use to watch tv from the curve...lol. Now I gotta roll my chair away from my desk to get a good view...so now I get entertainment and some sport thrown in too...lol.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the fellow who objects to you lifting pictures from all over the place and pasting your name on them. You say they're not copyrighted, but I don't believe you checked. The right thing to do is credit the sources you lifted them from and not to splatter your name all over them as if they are your pictures when they obviously are not.

So, you searched for a bunch of pictures. That doesn't give you the right to steal.

SwaRwaR said...

this is interesting :P
Thank God i didn't live in the 1900's

Canc3riaN said...

I enjoyed reading this post, really!

Hmmm... Why does it seem like all the "Anonymous" comments are the same person agreeing with himself??

Plus, it sounds like someone we know but probably "too lazy" to use his real account. Hmmmm....? ;)

Greg said...

Like Ammar already said you can watch most TV stations online now, on sites like www.myeasytv.com. Nice article!

Chuck said...

Love the pictures. But if you want to see more...and read a comprehensive history...check out

Woozie said...

LCD and Plasma are pretty similar, except that with Plasma TVs still images left on the screen for a long time have a tendency to be permanently burned into the screen. LCD TVs also tend to keep their color and vibrancy longer than Plasmas, which is why Plasmas are cheaper and LCDs are expensive.

HDTV has to do with the broadcaster and can be picked up by any TV-LCD, Plasma, or otherwise-that is HD compatible.

Anonymous said...

mate how come you have so much to search and share this lovely info with us!! thanks :)

Jerome said...

Very nice historical of invention. It's worth to read...I think human are awesome. They can think very brilliant. Not just about television invention, but also many kind of equipments and tools, such as car, plane, telephone...I believe that this is because the human's Creator is awesome too.

Anonymous said...

Hai =D
I was wondering if you have any more information about the "evolution" of the octagon to the philco to the baird to the tv we have nowadays.
Like how it has changed eg. colour, size etc
If your unable to help me thank you anyway :)

Your article was quite the read :)

Anonymous said...

Hai =D
I was wondering if you have any more information about the "evolution" of the octagon to the philco to the baird to the tv we have nowadays.
Like how it has changed eg. colour, size etc
If your unable to help me thank you anyway :)

Your article was quite the read :)

Anonymous said...

http://www.chooseandwatch.com/ is the future

Annette said...

It is great to see the old TV sets and just how small the screens were back then, the last few years have seen a huge leap forward not only in size but quality, I bought a 42in argos lcd tv for under 1000 and it is amazing the quality of the picture, it is not my first lcd and I did have reservations especially with blacks and dark colors, they do not seem to handle them well and they always quote silly contrst figures, but I suprised how much they have come on in the last couple of years especially with HD and all the new inbuilt engines.

live online tv said...

watch here news, music, adult channels free: http://liveonlinetvradio.com/

Anonymous said...

wow anonymous stfu who cares if he took the pictures im sure no one else will. plus he/she did a good job on this. KUDOS man.

Jackie Chan is my bitch said...

TVs have been around forever. Im doing them as a school progect and i am amazed at the differences over the years.

your mom said...

I can see your wenis

Anonymous said...

WOW! I always thought tv was around forever! my mom was like "ya.ya. we didnt have the nice tvs u guys have today." the other thing i find interesting is that before tv, there was only radio!!!!!

Alia Almoayed said...

Great article! Took me back in time with those 80s televisions... Thanks for doing the research :)

Jean-Pierre said...

This is a very interesting article and very cool to forward.

I think it would be good to add the newest available technologies in the fiels of 3D.

- Stereo 3D
- Autostereoscopic 3D

Our company produces autostereoscopic 3D lcd displays (that means REAL 3D without any 3D glasses!), so if you have any questions about it just contact me.

Anonymous said...

Oh man this is awesome

Anonymous said...

This site is awesome it really helped us with an assignment on tvs.

Anonymous said...

I smell like a TV
I put my toenail clippings in a jar I keep it on my TV.
I love to eat TVs. Any good suggestions of cable as a sauce to go with it?
TVs are awesome aren't they -u can do so many things with them. I like TVs and can openers!
TVs are my best friend they help me when i am depressed, angry, sad or extremely happy
yummo jacko
I cut my toenails with a can opener.
I love TVs so much my husband gets jealous
I am in love with TVs
thankyou for this wonderful wonderful brilliant insane crazy fantastic excellent wonderful wonderful brilliant insane crazy fantastic excellent wonderful wonderful wait i already said that twice didn't i
well anyway thanks for this awesome brilliant so- great -i'll explode- site!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Anonymous said...

ahhh, thanks need this for my D and T (design and technology) project!! but whyy the name on the pic? i get that you dun want ppl to rip you off but... ah nvm thanks anyway!!!

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Anonymous said...

What scientific advancements made the evolution of TVs possible? At school, I'm doing a presentation on television and this would be very helpful.
Oh, and check out this video...it's very similar to what this website says.