A primer on new TVs
The first television I ever saw in Duluth was viewed through the window at the home of a neighbor. It was about 1950, and to get TV in Duluth you had to bring the signal in from the Twin Cities with a tall antenna on top of your house. Also, pray...
The first television I ever saw in Duluth was viewed through the window at the home of a neighbor. It was about 1950, and to get TV in Duluth you had to bring the signal in from the Twin Cities with a tall antenna on top of your house. Also, prayer and good weather helped.
To view this neighbor's TV, I had to stand on my tiptoes in their driveway and peek into their front room. If they weren't watching TV, I didn't watch. No matter; the picture was mostly "snow' anyway.
I was about 10 years old, and television and I have come a long, long way since then.
The other day we decided to update our TV set, which is maybe eight years old, with a new, modern digital unit that offers a clearer picture than in the past. Our old analog set is basically the same as the one my family got a few years after my TV Peeping Tom days, when network television broadcasting finally came to Duluth about 1953. Only graduates of MIT know the difference between analog and digital, plus a few ham operators who have not seen sunlight in 35 years.
Our first set was a 21-inch RCA table model. We were not the sort of people who were quick to climb up on the roof to install an antenna, so we depended on rabbit ears to bring in the signal, which, in our part of town, was not that great. It was all in black-and-white, of course, and ours seemed always to have murky shadows and strange vertical lines across the screen. Who cared? We had TV, and it was a miracle. All hail Ed Sullivan, and, of course, Lassie.
That first TV and the one we are now discarding had one important thing in common that has now been lost: You could take it home, plug it in, and turn it on. No more.
Accordingly, as a public service to readers, I offer here a primer on TV sets of today, to clear up the considerable confusion I know my fellow Americans feel about the latest television technologies, such as the answer to the question: "Can I hang my new TV on the wall by my Terry Redlin 'realistic' painting of grandma's house at Thanksgiving in 1945?'
The answer is "yes,' if you are willing to pay through the nose for what is called a "plasma' TV. Plasma TVs are only available through the Red Cross and Blood Donors Incorporated. They need regular transfusions, so it helps to have a vampire around the house.
Not everyone is sufficiently into the macabre, or has good enough health insurance, to justify a plasma set, but no need to despair. There are many other, cheaper, choices on the market designed to offer a clearer picture of the Green Bay Packers being shut out by the Chicago Bears than was ever available in the days of Vince Lombardi.
Some of the other units available today include HDTV, DTV, SDTV, EDTV, RPTV and, of course, NAACPTV, CIATV, FBITV, WLSSDTV (pure garbage), DFOTV, ROVETV, BUSHTV and other technologies soon to be designed to make obsolete everything that has gone before.
I figure our new set will be obsolete the latter part of the week after next. We'll see after a technician comes to hook it up for an hourly fee that would make any lawyer green -- yes, green -- with envy.
JIM HEFFERNAN'S e-mail address is email@example.com .