Television Set Prices

Discussion in 'The OT' started by Mark Holtz, Aug 5, 2019.

  1. Mark Holtz

    Mark Holtz New Texan

    Mar 23, 2002
    At the beginning of July, I purchased a 50" Hitachi TV with a Roku built in for my home office. I will admit, this isn't the "best" television available, but it does the job. However, I was wondering about television pricing, and saw this page. Although not linked, I also found this old television ad from 1970:


    Note that this $250 television is for a 12" diagonal tube in 4:3 format without a remote. To put this in context.... $250 in 1970, after adjusting for inflation, is around $1,650. No wonder most households at that time only had one television. Note that the average salary in 1970 was $9,870.

    Now, conversely, I purchased a 50" low-end television that is more technologically advanced, or as I like to say, "it's a glorified computer monitor and mini-computer intended to receive television". Instead of a glass tube, it has a LCD panel, making it much lighter and thinner. It can also stream media though the Internet. And, it has a remote... something that was rare in those days (most parents used the "kid" remote). $270 in 1970 dollars would be $41.

    Anyone remember the first "flat screen" TVs from 1998. I remember seeing the television in a Good Guys store in 1999.... and got sticker shock from the $10,000 price. No wonder those kids could only afford a tiny shack in this commercial and drove a really old truck:

    jimmie57 likes this.
  2. SamC

    SamC Hall Of Fame

    Jan 20, 2003
    Yes. One of the things that many people forget is just how much the price of TVs, accounting for inflation, has declined over time.
  3. jimmie57

    jimmie57 Hall Of Fame

    Jun 26, 2010
    Texas City, TX
    I have bought a new TV about every 10 years.
    Each time the set is bigger & more advanced than the last 1 and is cheaper.
    I remember paying almost $1,100 for a 23" console TV.
  4. RBA

    RBA Well-Known Member

    Apr 14, 2013
    What country makes the components that are assembled in Mexico, Malaysia, Korea.ETC.
  5. AntAltMike

    AntAltMike Hall Of Fame

    Nov 20, 2004
    In the mid 1960s, when color TVs were coming into vogue, a 23" color TV cost a working man a month's wages. The decision for many working class families was, if you thought you could get one more year out of the car when you made the final payment on the three year car loan, then that was the year you bought your first color TV

    I first "saw" a flat screen TV on the cover of Popular Science, over a decade earlier than when they were commercially produced. Maybe two decades earlier. I bought my first projection TV, an Advent Videobeam model 1000A, in 1978 for $4,000 and it had no remote control, though for another $500 they could have sold me the model where the entire top panel was in a big box and tethered to the projector by about a 25 foot long mulitiwire cable.

    My cousin bought his Advent model 1000 in 1975 for $2,500. It has a low, 3 digit serial number on it, I think under 200. Most people in that era didn't know that there was a model 1000. It had even more primitive tuner in it that didn't have tunable pre-sets, so when you click-changed channels. you'd then have to spin the perimeter fine tuning knob until you zeroed in on it. Advent used to let him bring it to their factory in Cambridge for repair.

    One great thing about the presettable tuner in my 1000A is that I could tune the channel 7 slug down to "midband" channels. My local cable company had exactly one premium channel, HBO, and it was on a midband channel, and anyone who subscribed to it was given a "block upconverter" that converted all of the channels up to UHF where they would be tuned at UHF channel numbers in the 30s and 40, so I "dropped" HBO a month later but kept watching it for free.

    The first "remote control" was your kid brother who you would station next to the TV to switch back and forth between two concurrent sporting events. He'd turn the rotor, too. The next one was probably the RCA Space Commander, which would change channels when you jingled your key chain or set your silverware down too hard.

    I did some TV buying for some sportsbars in the later 1980s and early 1990s, and by then, your Magnavox/Sharp/Emerson/Goldstar etc TVs each had the same manual in them, titled Color TV, and the only name they mentioned was Philips and said to contact them and not the brand name on the cabinet for service.

    In the 1950s and 1960s, you knew your TV repairman by name because he came to your house two or three times a year. Of course, you could avoid a repair call now and then by pulling out all your vacuum tubes and bringing them to Western Auto or Woolworth's.

    When I picked up a lot of upscale retirement homes as customers in the late 1990s, you wouldn't believe how many of them had old, junk TVs, and believe me, these were well to do people. Several were afraid to get rid of their TV because it was their lucky TV, the one that never broke... because unbeknownst to them, it was their first that was transistorized.

    But the other thing was, you could put a doily on top and the family photos, too. My mother kept buying TVs with legs on them even in the early years of this century. The appliance store would have to special order them for her.

    I couldn't find any good pictures of a cat sleeping on top of an old TV. They used to be easy to find.
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2019
  6. Mark Holtz

    Mark Holtz New Texan

    Mar 23, 2002

    In 1979, the only commercial stations in Sacramento was KCRA-3 (NBC), KXTV-10 (CBS), KOVR-13 (ABC), KTXL-40 (Independent), and Spanish/religious station on Channel 19 (KLOC, later KCSO). There was no such thing as cable television.... Sacramento was yet to be wired, and the HBO was a OTA scrambled but easily decoded station. No VCRs at that time, so you had to catch the programming when it aired.

    As some of you know, I moved from Sacramento to Dallas at the beginning of the year. Just prior to the move, I got rid of all of the televisions simply because I felt they would not survive the trip, plus the technology improvement. I got a 50" for the master bedroom (for my mother) in late February, followed by two more in early July for my home office and the media room turned into my mother's office (with protest). I do not nor do I have plans to put a television in my own bedroom, and am using an older Android tablet. All are capable of streaming.

    Was it one of these units?

    I have mixed feelings about this. On one hard, those older televisions were easy to repair. Today's televisions are so cheap that it's practically as expensive to repair as it is to get a new one, with most repairs detailed on YouTube due to capacitor issues.
  7. billsharpe

    billsharpe Hall Of Fame

    Jan 25, 2007
    Our first TV in 1948, an RCA 7-inch set, didn't need a remote. There was only one channel available in Philadelphia at the time -- WPTZ, channel 3.They broadcast about three hours each night with some afternoon sports on weekends WPTZ test pattern.jpg .
  8. AntAltMike

    AntAltMike Hall Of Fame

    Nov 20, 2004
    Nope. That TV, the Advent Model 1000/1000A, used a curved screen with an "aluminized", reflective surface, also known as, the giant Norelco shaver.


    The voltage "triplers" used to burn out but were easily to replace. I was responsible for the maintenance of four of them and never had a picture tube fail.

    Convergence was a hoot because of the complexities of "keystoning", as the light beams traveled different distances to each corner of the screen, and they had a "bow" board to help the scan lines dynamically match up with the curved screen, and while I never actually saw one, Advent also made available what they called a "wob" board to swap in if you used it as a back projector, which curved the lines the other way, because wob was bow spelled backwards.

    The flat TV prototype shown in the magazine was actually rather small, like hardly larger than the portable radios of their hey-day.
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2019
  9. inkahauts

    inkahauts Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2006
    I worked at good guys when those came out. I helped set up ours in the store. Brings back memories.... we sold them at a decent clip in my store for what they where and priced at...

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