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September 2013 Retro Gaming Article


September 9, 2013 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

TVs have gone from being furniture to requiring furniture & now hung on a wall

Retro gamers know the value of a good CRT. A 72" HD TV with HDMI is swell and looks nice when wistfully masquerading as a picture frame on an otherwise barren white wall. However all that money won't do justice to 8-bit games. 8 bit games thrive when electrons are fired from a cathode ray gun at a phosphor coated glass screen. That'll make your joystick wiggle! :)

Vintage portable black and white tv I remember the portable black and white TV we had in our kitchen. It's screen couldn't have been more than 4 inches. I watched Viet Nam news reels and Walter Cronkite on it while my Mom made dinner and we waited for my Dad to return from work. The concept of family was much different way back then. We also has a larger B&W TV in the living room, but it too was fairly small - maybe a 10" or 12" screen. But things were about to change.

I was so young, this seemed satisfactory to me. Our TV was tucked away and viewed in short spurts until Saturday morning cartoons came on. But television was going to take a big leap and become the dominant focal point of living rooms everywhere.

Vintage Zenith logo Downplayed would be the small table-top TVs. The television was going to become furniture! Beautiful wood grained boxes, raised up on legs, would offer a large tabletop surface in your living room. Family and friends would gather around this wondrous device and revel in the moment. It wouldn't be too long that fascination with televisions would take them from a passive form or entertainment to a life-changing interaction with every pixel on the screen.

Our first color TV was a Zenith console style model on legs Our first color TV was a Zenith console set that I believe we got around 1970. It was a mammoth toy for me to explore. I discovered the pinpoint accuracy necessary to dial in a UHF channel and the lower flap that revealed controls for hue, brightness and other settings. I felt like I was in control of an amazing device - for a 6-year-old I kinda was!

Time marched on and we found ourselves with yet another color TV to replace the behemoth Zenith. I don't recall the model, but it was the same screen size, yet remarkably smaller than the Zenith. VCRs were coming into vogue and the price was dropping accordingly. We got cable TV the same year Mtv debuted and suddenly we realized our TV had accessories.

Gone was the behemoth with that large tabletop surface. Where would we put all these extra boxes? We needed furniture for our TV. The term entertainment center began to take meaning. So we bought a coffee table height entertainment center that had a long top on which the TV sat and 2 shelves below for the VCR and... well it would someday house an Atari 2600.

Any product that catches on will go through changes and improvements, but it's so hard to predict the future. When I was mesmerized by the Zenith's hue dial, It never occurred to me that TV's would grown to 6 foot diagonals, morph to a few inches in depth and hang on the wall like a painting. But it happened - and it happens to all lasting products.

Zenith Electronics - A Brief History

As an American manufacturer of consumer electronics, Zenith was a leader in many facets of modernizing our lives. it was founded in Chicago, IL in 1918. Today, you might have a hard time finding a Zenith product, but they created the TV remote control, pioneered the concept of subscription television (Phonevision) and were first to develop HDTV in North America. In 1995 LG Electronics purchased a controlling share of Zenith and bought out the rest in 1999.

"The quality goes in, before the name goes on"

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