Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Sony Journey; 45 years plus

I posted a "wordless piece" with two photographs of our family room before and after  updating our television system yesterday. D and I have owned a lot of  TVs in our 33 years of marriage. Many have been Sony brand but we've had many others as well. I don't have a particular affinity to Sony products but it struck me that my very first television back in 1966 was a Sony. Just how far technology has taken us during those four plus decades floored me as I thought back to my girlhood and that first television.

My first TV looked very much like this...
Aruba in 1964; I was ten years old. Under the Christmas tree that year was a sturdily wrapped (and heavy) package. I'll never forget the pure joy when I opened the box and found a tiny, tabletop TV with a 5 inch screen, a Sony. Television was new to Aruba in those days and there was only one channel available, the (relatively) new "Tele-Aruba" station. A lot of the programming was in Dutch or Pappiamento but there were also broadcasts of stateside shows like The Beverly Hillbillies, Bewitched and I Dream of Jeanne.

The station had been broadcasting for awhile but my parents shunned the idea of buying a television even as I whined that "all my friends' families had TV". I was never quite sure why they were so resistant; was it the money they'd have to put out for a TV that held them back or some more fundamental dislike? I never really figured that one out. When spending summers stateside, I watched  television like an addicted couch potato for endless hours, memorizing the advertisements and the NBC logo of the peacock's plumage fanning outwards as the announcer broadcast, "The following programing is brought to you in living color on NBC". They could barely drag me out to do anything; the TV promised and provided all I needed. Perhaps that soured them. I'll never know.

Nonetheless, that first black and white set provided thousands of hours of delight before it finally gave out. We saved it for many years; I had it in the back of my closet thinking that someday it might be vintage. I was right but somewhere along the line, that tiny Sony got thrown out, recycled or donated. I don't even remember.

And now, after much discussion about "the look" of our family room and the pros/cons of going big screen, I find myself in awe of this new Sony, high definition, flat screen, LCD television that mounts on the wall atop our fireplace. I had been the resistant one this time, flinging off my husband's regular comments that "everyone is going big screen these days (years, actually)". Was it the expense? Was it what a big screen whispered to me? Was it something else? Finally, I said to him and to myself, "What the hell, I've always kinda wanted a big ass TV set". And so it goes. He was only too delighted to oblige.

Two thoughts about the expense:
1. The original black and white Sony in 1964 cost my folks $200.00. I remember seeing the entry in their check book. The inflation calculator says that 200 bucks back then equals 1,407.00 in 2010 dollars. That's about right although what you get for the money is awesomely different. How could we have even imagined, us old timers?
2. I've said it before and I'll say it again; it is very nice to be DONE with college expenses and have our two, beloved offspring launched. The kids are wont to say, "Geeeeeez, you guys are really sprucing up the place. How come you didn't do it when we were around to enjoy it?" Sigh.

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