Hey, where’d the television go?

Published 10:41 am Thursday, January 7, 2010

There’s nothing like aging yourself by simply studying the history of the television.

After checking out the latest unveil from LG, a seven millimeter thick television, I started checking my arms for liver spots.

If you’re wondering just how thin seven millimeters is for comparison, it’s just less than a quarter of an inch and if you’ve shopped for jewelry at some point you’ve probably come across rings with a width of seven millimeters.

Across the years and decades, humans have made it their purpose to take household items and make them more “compact” and user friendly. We’ve done it with cars, telephones, computers and televisions are no different.

Remember when TVs where a colossal, lug-of-a-box that you had to design your whole living room around?

I remember those days like it was yesterday…huge, intricately carved, wooden consoles to fit a doily and your kids’ latest school photograph on top, a heavy glass picture tube and those in-trend fabric speakers.

Televisions in their yesteryear were hefty…they had something hold on to and, in many incidents, something to run into. Console televisions left their marks on their owners frequently—countless toes, noses and lips have been busted by the sharp corner of the wooden consoles with little to no evidence left on the electronic offender. As a maladroit kid, it happened to me all of the time.

Probably one of the very first TVs that comes to mind is my grandparent’s old television with a turn dial. It was their surplus television from probably the 1970s and unlike the one in the living room, somewhat portable as it was a “non-console” and positioned on a cart. There it stood in all its glory with rabbit ears pointing towards the heavens lodged in the corner awaiting my grandfather to switch it on for a game of Atari’s Jungle Hunt.

In the 1990s, my uncle bought the “latest” widescreen television, a huge monstrosity of a television that would probably eat the fandangle LG seven millimeter TV for a snack.

As televisions get skinner along with the numerous other electronics in our lives, I often worry if I’ll begin to momentarily lose my television between the cushions of my sofa, like my cell phone or random coins.

And as I search for my TV between the crannies and the crevices, I’ll begin to wonder why we insist on creating a television so thin a mere sneeze could blow it off the wall.

Amanda VanDerBroek is a Staff Writer for the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. For comments and column suggestions email: amanda.vanderbroek@r-cnews.com or call (252) 332-7209.