I was thinking today to when I first started time shifting TV shows with a VCR and recalled the first TV that I purchased. It was a 16" Phillips portable. The features included IR remote; 12 push buttons channels with an LCD readout of the channel number - no watermarks needed!
I also thought it was modern at the time because there were no dials for volume, contrast or brightness but push buttons instead. The screen size was also a bit unique because most portables were 12 or 14" screens. To tune the stations, there was a pull out tray that had a separate fly wheel and a band selector (Band V low, V high and U) for each of the 12 buttons.
It had an amazing 4 watts of power for the sound! At the time my parents TV was a 27" Kriesler that was fairly common but had a dodgy remote that I think was ultrasonic.
My first VCR was a huge Panasonic VHS machine. I can’t remember why I chose VHS at the time rather than Betamax but glad I did.
My first VCR was a Sharp VHS bought here in Melbourne, soon after I moved from Hong Kong to Melbourne in 1988. At that time, Long play VCRs were on sale but my parents bought a standard play VCR which meant it could only record programs up to 4 hours long depending on the type of the tape. A few years later, we bought an Akai multi-system, long play VHS VCR in HK. (Multi-system VCRs, which allowed recordings to played on TVs in almost everywhere, were popular in Hong Kong up until the end of 1990s, due to the massive number of people moving overseas. They used these VCRs to watch tapes of Hong Kong TV dramas and shows sent by their relatives and friends because they did not like programs on local networks which are in English or other languages they are not familiar with)
My parents had a PYE television which broke down so dad bought a black and white Kriesler (because they were so cheap now) since everyone was buying colour sets (and colour was just a fad good one dad!).
My first VCR was an AWA which I bought with my 10% staff discount from working at David Jones at Christmas.
Yeah, they probably were by then but they did manufacture some things in Australia too.
Actually, PYE and Kriesler in Australia were bought out by Philips. My uncle was a TV technician at PYE then Philips. They did repairs in the old PYE factory at Marrickville/Tempe in Sydney in the 1970s and then I remember they moved to a new Phillips factory at Rhodes in the 1980s & 1990s.
First VCR was a Sony Betamax. It cost $1,150 back around 1979. That was a s*it load of money back then.
It had as many functions as most VCR players had when VCR’s were finally going out of vogue some years later. A magnificent piece of technology, but short-lived in the context of home entertainment advancement.
Buggered if I know why Beta never caught on - it was clearly the better technology of the two.
And yes, I still remember valve TV’s that took some time to warm up before delivering a crap picture which we all ogled over. When my parents brought an AWA 3-in-one TV-Radio-Stereo we thought we were really hip. It was trendy at one stage to turn those old TV cabinets into gold-fish tanks.
Finally, there’s good-old valve car radio’s. They weren’t much good for short trips, because they took so long to warm up!!.
I’ve got this funny feeling that I might have given a teeny weeny hint about my age… Yes, that’s right, never missed an episode of Doctor Who since the William Hartnell days (but I was a wee bairn then).
My parents had one of those monoliths, too. It was quite a prized possession and took up almost the entire wall in the lounge room. The wood veneer finish against the faux brick wallpaper was quite the '70s interior design statement. Shaynna, Neale and Darren would’ve loved it.
The “on the blink” b&w AWA TV it replaced ended up being stored in my bedroom. At one stage I removed the back of it and started tinkering with the insides in an attempt to get it to work. ZAP! It was eventually fixed and I happily used it for several years.
My uncle had a portable colour TV in his room with a very basic remote control attached to it by a long chord. I decided I wanted one and he offered to pay half if I could save $200. That was a fortune to a kid in the early '80s and he probably didn’t think I could do it. It took nearly two years but it was worth saving those dollars from all those car washes and bird cage cleans. We couldn’t get one with a chord remote when we went to buy it and I wasn’t waiting any longer so I settled for a National brand portable with eight push button channels. At 11 years old it was my first major purchase and the experience taught me the value of saving. I treasured that TV and it was still working when I eventually got rid of it in the early 2000s.
I’m pretty sure that some AWA TVs were made in Australia. Who remembers the Rank Arena brand? Where did that name come from? Anyway my parents got a Rank Arena stereo system for the “Rumpus Room” (another term that has gone out of fashion?). It had an enormous AM/FM illuminated dial and could play 45s and 33s and had 2 huge speakers/ They got this album to play on it
I can vaguely remember a merger of companies in Australia that created Rank Arena. I’m pretty sure Rank was a big brand in Australia before that but I have no idea where Arena came into it.
I think Rank is the same Rank Organisation which was a British entertainment conglomerate that also made movies. Do you remember seeing a gong being hit by a bloke in a loin cloth, at the start of movies? That’s Rank.
My parents just the other day were talking about the first TV they bought after they got married. It was the late 1960s and they were considering a rental but the salesman who came to their house was so pushy they ended up just buying one from Myer.
It was a 26 inch Philips. Black and white of course. I remember it because it had a display where above the tuner dial was a “thermometer” where channel 0 was indicated by a little red square but as you changed channels the red mark got higher and higher, then when you got to 11 it was red all the way to the top. That’s the only thing I remember about that TV although we had it until the 1980s sometime.
I was more excited when I came home from school one day, circa 1977, and found a colour TV in the loungeroom. It was a Pye. I don’t remember the size except that it was marginally smaller than the old Philips, but who cares… it was colour and a push button tuner. So modern! I seem to recall it would break down every so often, so we were on first name basis with the TV repairman!
My dad also had an early 1960s set (an AWA Deep Image model) that he’d picked up second hand many years later. One of the real old square box models that weighed a tonne with the old type screen with the rounded corners. The dial had only channels 1 to 10 but the “1” had been adjusted to receive channel 0. The set continued to work quite well even into the 1980s but then Dad did a clean out and took it to the tip even though it still worked. Could have got money for it if he’d sold it!
That B&W thermometer dial sounds so bizarre, it’s hard to imagine. How did you know what channel it was on?
My parents had a separate repair/insurance type policy for the new colour TV - due to frequency of break downs as well - so much per year gave you a certain number of free visits.
Dad sent us Mum and me out to buy the colour TV one week. Instead of push buttons the Kriesler we picked had a touch plate next to the channel number that worked through skin conductivity. There were 8 channels places that had 0,2,7,9,10,3,6,8 pre tuned. You were given a set of other numbers plus some a few "U"s that you could swap out if these numbers didn’t fit your location.
As the red marker went up it also included the channel number. Basically, behind the scenes, the “thermometer” display was a white cylinder with incremental markings for each channel (including the channel number), and the cylinder rotated as the dial changed channel, but only a narrow window displayed the current channel.
A touch pad seems very modern for that era
Our first colour TV had only six channel selections, initially tuned just to 0,2,7,9,10 and a spare (which eventually became 28). This was pre-1980 so we could tune in to GLV10 if the reception was good enough but then of course ATV went from 0 to 10 and SBS came along to the channel 0 position.
That space age, touch pad technology sounds very similar to what was on an early colour television my parents had- it had a horizontal touch plate under a row of channel numbers. Don’t think it was a Kriesler and can’t remember what brand it was but the cabinet was huge and heavy.
I was always getting into trouble for re-tuning the TV and removing the plastic number insert. I was forever pulling shit apart trying to figure out how it worked.
The TVs in the pictures Radiohead posted look similar to the TVs that were used in NSW schools during the '70s. I remember seeing a blackened one on the steps of a burnt out classroom in 1978 and being distressed about it because colour TVs were so expensive and it was still considered something special to own one.
We still only had B&W TVs at school when I started at primary school in the late 70s - typical state schools even then probably didn’t have the money to upgrade to colour! One set was one of those large cabinet models, probably dating back to the 1960s, with one of those spiral antennas perched on top, I don’t remember the timing but I do recall when the school finally replaced its B&W sets with colour ones.
The school also had a video camera attached to a “portable” video recorder which weighed a tonne but was carried around with a shoulder strap. It was only B&W video but we had fun making some films for class. We thought we were so clever that we could have people or items magically appear or disappear on screen just by pausing the filming, moving said person or item, and then resume recording. We thought we were so smart…
I don’t remember seeing a video camera until well into high school and even then it was only used by special people on special occasions. Photography was a big thing at my school and I was heavily into arty photography. I’d hate to think what I would’ve created if someone had let me loose with a video camera.
Of course everyone has a still and motion camera on their phones these days to capture all the mundane moments of their lives. I’m kind of glad they didn’t exist when I was at school. I’m sure I would cringe at the antics of the geeky kid I was at school if such video existed. I couldn’t listen to more than a few minutes of myself talking in an English class when I stumbled across an old audio cassette a couple of years ago.