If you’ve been saving for a bigger screen TV but haven’t quite managed it yet, this will make you feel better.
In May of 1948, General Electric (GE) advertised “the one and only kind of television you can enjoy in broad daylight.”
Their ads promoted a television with a “super-big” screen─3 square feet—and they promised clear reception of all 13 American channels.
These days “daytime television” means soap operas, inane talk shows or re-runs of sit-coms. In 1948, daytime television meant a physical TV set with an image bright enough to see during daylight hours.
We take our big screens with clear colour pictures that we can see in any light for granted. Every once in a while it’s good to pause and acknowledge with gratitude the technology behind it all, and the people in our past who harnessed that technology to create something that has become so omnipresent in our lives.
Isn’t it a shame that all that marvelous technology gets used for such frivolous, and sometimes harmful, drivel? Don’t you wonder what the great minds of our television pioneers, John Baird, Kalman Tihanyi, Leon Theremin and Philo Farnsworth would think about the potential of their technology being harnessed for such beauties as Sharknado, or Duck Dynasty, or 19 Kids and Counting, or—God help us all—Real Housewives of Beverly Hills?
I think they would throw their hands up in despair. I think that if they had known what was coming they would have drawn up legal contracts forbidding anyone with the name Kardashian from ever appearing on their screens.
I hope that they are—right now—plotting ways to come back to haunt the producers of Toddlers and Tiaras.
As I write this, my words appear on a computer monitor with a screen larger than the one in the 1948 GE advertisement. Its picture is bright and clear and colourful. I take a moment for gratitude for this incredible technology and the pioneer minds of the people who invented it.
Tonight, I think I’ll go home and kiss my big-screen television in all its bright, clear glory. And I won’t watch The Bachelorette. I respect the great minds of television pioneers far too much to do that.