Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Television Cost Then and Now 1953 to 2010

Now this ain't a scientific analysis but it is probably correct if not "true".

In the summer of 1953 my grandfather showed up one afternoon in our Western Oklahoma farm yard with a brand new Admiral 21" Black and White Console TV in the trunk of his Plymouth. He and my mother, one of his seven kids, didn't get along all that much so it was somewhat of a mystery why he brought her such a gift.

Now he paid over $200 for the TV. The exact cost we never knew.
I became a really popular kid for a while in my part of the country. All of the other
kids my age who had TVs, which weren't many, had those with small screens and some were even round in shape. This however was 21" wide, corner to corner, and rectangular. Now there are a lot of stories to tell about TV back then , but right now let us just look at the cost.
Grandad was not rich, but he weren't poor neither. So like most people back then he paid cash our of his pocket for the TV.

Based on the inflation rates a dollar in 1953 would be equivalent to $8 today.
I recently bought me a 26" 1080p HD TV with all sorts of plugs and stuff for about $300.
That got me to wondering what you could get today for the same dollar value as that 1953 TV set?

Well at eight times $200 that would be a $1600 TV set or so.
So what would you get?
Well you could get this one: Panasonic TH-50PX600U Diagonal 50" Plasma HDTV with Built-In ATSC/QAM/NTSC Tuners, SD Memory Card Slot, and PC Input, Deep Blacks, Bright Whites, and 29 Billion Colors, View Digital Programming Without A Cable Box, Receive Over-The-Air HDTV Broadcasts, Share Digital Photos On the Big Screen with Photo Viewer, A Single Cable Carries High-Quality Digital Audio and Video, A Cinema-Style Viewing Experience At Home, EZ Snc HDAVI Control, TV Guide On-Screen Program Guide, Video Picture Memory, On-Screen Display Languages, V-Chip Program Lockout, Built-In Closed Caption Decoder, Timers - Sleep/On/Off, Video Input Labeling.
I guess dollar value wise, I don't have, and most likely never will have a TV as fine as that one back in 1953 relative to the prevailing technology. Technologically we have come so far, but in actual wealth, not so much. Maybe, that is why we have convince ourselves that we are doing so well, when everybody in a family is working to make ends meet but are still drowning in debt.
Looks like we have bought more than we can afford alright and I don't mean TVs.
It used to be that the populace was distracted by "Bread and Circus". Today I think that should be "Chips & Dips and ESPN-HD".


TStockmann said...

What television really costs one is huge chunks of irreplaceable time on earth. Hard to imagine how hours of it a day could allow for a "life well spent."

drlobojo said...

Couldn't agree more TS. The strange thing is now that I have 3 million channels(2 million of them are ESPN), I'm real picky about what I watch. But when I had only 3 or 4 it seemed as though I couldn't pull away from them for fear of missing something.

I will be interested in seeing if the digital divide in America now extends to Television. I've tried to pull the broadcast signals in just to see how they looked and it wasn't easy to do.

Anonymous said...

I have a 17K12X model with chassis 21F1 serial 216836......wondering if it has any value?