HAPPY 50th BIRTHDAY "COLOR" TV

Discussion in 'Displays' started by Bill Will, Mar 25, 2004.

  1. Bill Will

    Bill Will Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2001
    Messages:
    1,282
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    March 25, 1954 RCA starts selling a 12 1/2 inch color tv for $ 1,000.00

    1954 (Average)
    House $17,500.00
    Car 1,950.00
    Gal Gas .29
    Gal Milk .92
    Doz Eggs .77
    Bread .17
    Stamp .03
    Income 4,684.00
    Min. Wage .75 Hour
     
  2. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 1999
    Messages:
    3,756
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    And people say HD sets are too expensive now.

    HD capable set (26" 16/9 Samsung from Sears)-$599
    HD tuner box $400 (or $5 a month for cable)--total $1000.

    Average car=$20k
    House=$150k
    Gal. Gas=$1.75
    etc, etc,.
     
  3. Legairre

    Legairre Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2000
    Messages:
    815
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday color TV. Happy Birthday to you!!!!

    Thanks for the reminder. It's been 50 great years. [​IMG]
     
  4. Jed M

    Jed M Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2001
    Messages:
    2,029
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    It would be interesting to see the average weight of Americans in 1954 as well. [​IMG]
     
  5. CalvinCarr

    CalvinCarr Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2003
    Messages:
    512
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Was anyone broadcasting in color?
     
  6. Jack Ferry

    Jack Ferry Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2003
    Messages:
    222
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Real Name:
    Jack Ferry
    The one item on that price list that didn't change was a dozen eggs. That's why I left the egg business and became a lawyer!
     
  7. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 1999
    Messages:
    3,756
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    CalvinCarr,

    In 1954 there would be maybe one program broadcast in color every 3 or 4 months. There was one sitcom that ran about 6 weekly episodes in color in 55 or so, but it was cancelled.

    In fact, up until about 1959 there was not a single regular tv series broadcast in color. All color shows were "specials" or "spectaculars"--usually one-time-only variety extravaganzas that ran 90 minutes. These might show up once every couple of months, and were only on NBC.

    Bonanza, which debuted in 59 or 60, was the first regularly scheduled tv series in color, other than that abortive sitcom. It was on NBC, which was then owned by RCA, and was produced with the specific intent to up the flagging sales of color tv sets. Color was in serious danger of disappearing at this point, in fact, although the prices of color sets had dropped to about $500 by '57 or 58, and screen size was standardized at 21" (same as the most common B/W big sets of the time) in '55.

    Even in 59, color sets were more difficult to tune and adjust that B/W. Tuners were mechanical, not electronic, and required a deft hand on the fine tuning knob just to get color to show up without herringbone patterns, then one had to adjust color and tint knobs carefully every time the channel was changed, and many sets had additional color controls we no longer have to deal with. The vast majority of sets lacked remote control.

    The chicken/egg issue that seems to be delaying HD was very much in effect with regard to color--not enough color shows to justify buying a color tv, not enough color tvs to justify producing color programming, color tv more diffiecult to receive properly than B/W.

    The public in general didn't think of color tv as being "perfected".

    At least half the major tv mfgs of the time didn't even offer color sets.




    About the time Bonanza debuted, RCA developed a new color tv chassis that was easier to tune and more stable than previous designs, at a lower cost. This chassis was offered to other mfgs to be sold under their brand names at a reasonable cost, and soon one could see these new RCA sets being sold under about 6 or 8 different other brand names. They were easily identified because they all had the same knob configuration on the front of the set.

    Bonanza, being an outdoor adventure western really showed off color tv, and the flood of new RCA chassis sets in the market at more reasonable prices openned the gates and color finally took off.

    The first network to have all of it's primetime shows in color was ABC, in 1964--fully ten years after color was introduced, and local production and all daytime stuff was still B/W into the early 70s. The TV guide still had a "color" icon next to those shows that were not the normal B/W until the mid 70s or so, then when color became the norm switched to a B/W indication for black and white.

    I often wonder if an HD icon for shows in HD,as well as digital channel listings in the tv guide and newspaper tv listings would help advance the conversion to HD.
     
  8. Bill Will

    Bill Will Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2001
    Messages:
    1,282
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Steve, nice report [​IMG] If I remember right?, 1964 was also the BIG YEAR for Color TV Sales but I remember the average price of a 21 inch set being around $700 but they were consoles & the table top models were almost impossible to find & I'm guessing because they couldn't keep up with the sales they decided to put most of them in a consoles to gain more revenue. I bought my first Color TV in 1964 a 21" RCA Table Top model in a black metal box that had the same chaissis used in the $,1000 RCA consoles but it did take me almost 3 months to find the set & I only paid $379.99 for it & the big reason I wanted that model was beside the chassis was that it had a Tube like today's sets & all the more expensive models had what they called a non-glare tube which was frosted & too me they din't let anywhere near the light (Contrast) come through that the non-frosted tubes did. If I remember right the model I bought was an RCA FG551 & it was also the same model that NBC was using for their studio monitors at the time.
     
  9. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 1999
    Messages:
    3,756
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    the black metal cabinet table models were few and far between, but did have the same chassis as the more expensive consoles. In those days people were a lot more concerned about the "furniture" aspect of tv sets than they are now, and would pay outlandish prices for prettier consoles regardless of the fact that the same electronics could be had for a third the price.

    My family didn't get our first color tv until 1967 or '68, and it was an RCA with automatic fine tuning, the first year that was available. It still had mechanical tuners (separate VHF and UHF) but you only had to get halfway close manually, then press the AFT button to get it perfectly tuned. This was also one of the first rectangular tube sets, 23" if I remember correctly.

    The color on that set was actually quite good, except when watching Mission Impossible which had a greenish tinge to it.
     
  10. Craig Robertson

    Craig Robertson Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    May 12, 1999
    Messages:
    982
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0


    a couple of years ago, i emailed TVGuide suggesting that they start putting the HD logo on their website listings. apparantly my suggestion didn't go very far.
     
  11. Allan Jayne

    Allan Jayne Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 1998
    Messages:
    2,404
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    As far as I was told, experimental color broadcasting in the U.S. was taking place as early as 1950. Today's NTSC composite video was finalized ca. 1954 and was not exactly compatible with the experiments that preceded. There was one common feature, all existing black and white TV's and the experimental color TV's could put up a decent (black and white) picture using 1954 to today's color broadcasts.

    The round 21 inch (20 inch VIS?) color tube from RCA was apparently the only color tube in use for many years. I think it was Motorola who introduced the first rectangular ca. 23 inch rectangular color tube.

    Chrominance resolution of broadcasts was about 130 color changes all the way across the screen for a few colors (orange and blue to which the eye is most discriminating) and about 50 for other colors. Even back in the 1950's less expensive "simplified circuitry" (RCA trademark) color sets with 50 color changes across for all colors were the majority of sets made. Some old timers have said that if TV sets reproduced all the color resolution of correct NTSC broadcasts, the picture would be noticeably better than what we have today.

    1963 -- RCA installs a hundred or so color TV sets about the New York City worlds fair, all fed from a common video source. Program material is mostly video clips of fair attractions. This may have spurred sales of color TV's.

    More:
    http://members.aol.com/ajaynejr/rca2.htm

    It wasn't until 1981 that I enjoyed color TV, and that was months after I had purchased a VCR. "Better to be able to see (time shift) a show in black and white as opposed to miss it in color."
     

Share This Page