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Remembering Old Console Televisions

old console televisions

Do you remember your old console televisions? Really big boxes. Really small screens! How things have changed.

Recently, my eight year old  55″ Samsung LED television died. I had hoped for ten years, but the backlight gave out. So, I brought up a spare 32″ Samsung to the family room as a temporary measure.

Boy, is that screen small. When you move from 55 to 32 inch diagonal, you actually lose 67% screen area.

But that got me thinking. Back thirty years ago, most of us were happy with a 26″ screen. Like the one shown above, in my one of my old console televisions, the RCA Colortrak. This thing was huge at the time. We lived with 25-26″ screens for years during the 1970’s to 1990’s.

Now, I know that vision weakens as you get older, but I think the real reason I want a large screen television is the immersive experience. Some say it’s an increased sense of physiological arousal. And, of course, we no longer think of a TV as furniture.

When I was born, the average television screen size was around 12″. My first Sony Trinitron in the 1970’s was 21″. Times have changed.

Old Console Televisions – Never Going Back

So, off we went to Costco searching for a replacement. I am still sticking with 55″ as that is just right for my needs in the family room. But technologies have changed a lot over eight years.

I wrestled with LED versus QLED versus OLED. For me, the current sweet spot (cost, benefit, reliability) seemed to be a Samsung Neo QLED with mini-LED technology. And, that’s what I settled on.

Being retired, I spend too much time watching and enjoying television, both linear and streamed. But, I never buy the latest generation nor break the bank. One generation back is good enough.

And, of course, old console televisions are a fond memory, but no longer practical.


  1. Mike says:

    Hi John,
    Just finished reading this on the early TV s.and it brought back a flood of memories. Remember when BW TV s came out we were the first in our block to own one and it was exciting stuff. I can remember the neighbors coming over on Saturday evening, the men in their suits, the ladies in nice dresses. It was a social evening of watching Diana Shore or Ed Sullivan show or Hockey Night in Canada.Refreshments, rye, beer, coke, 7up, cheese and meat trays, also served were Old Dutch potatoe chips in the metal canister, and Kraft caramels, individually wrapped in a fancy gift tray. Lots of laughter and visiting, a short walk home and not a late evening. As TV s progressed, dad always had the lastest and when dad bought the first color set the social part continued. As the neighbors adopted the technology the Saturday night get together lessened.
    Sundays in our home were routine, church in the morning, and at supper the family gathered in the living room to watch Disneyland with the Walt, and we waited with anticipation whether it would be Frontier World, Cartoon World, Adventure Land. Dinner was on TV trays and very special occasions, a frozen TV dinner.
    Another aspect was TV repair and the repair fellow was from your neighborhood, mostly straight forward tube replacement. What you never wanted to hear was we need to take to the shop.
    Great memories of how TV changed the social part of our lives


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