An Ode to the Analog TV

By: Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - CommentaryThey are about as useful as the phonograph or VHS tapes now. The analog television is now a thing of the past. It is little more than a curiosity for many young people. Growing up with television, I can remember when television was in black and white screen only, and there were only four channels. I know that sounds like the ancient period before cable and satellite dish TV came on the scene. Never mind computers, the Internet, DVD, and high definition television that we all take for granted today.

For me and my generation the television set was THE main form of family entertainment. My parents, sister and I would gather around the TV set in the living room and watch shows that have since become icons of yesteryear—Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Star Trek (original), the Dick Van Dyke Show, I Dream of Jeannie, Mission Impossible, etc. And when TV sets got smaller (even though they were still black and white) we still enjoyed watching them night after night. Yes, we took small transistor radios to the beach, but by and large TV was the thing that filled our days and entertainment when we came back from school and work.

At that time there was only one type of TV—one that received analog images. Digital was decades away. The whole world changed in my view when analog TV became little more than a museum piece. And what of the fate of many analog TVs? There are many still around. Only they can be used more for DVD players or with cable with special converter boxes. Many people have either sent their old TVs to recycling centers or did what I did and that is donate their old analog TV to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. Interestingly enough, many people still buy the analog TVs from Goodwill and the Salvation Army. Even though they have come down in price, some people would rather buy an analog TV because it is way cheaper than a digital one (especially when money is tight for many families).

Since analog images are no longer sent there is not much one can do with an analog TV beyond using them with a DVD player or with a special converter box. But for many people an analog TV still holds some nostalgic memories. Analog TV had been used from the late 1940’s all the way to the end of the first decade of the 21st Century. For many people, and even for me, it holds memories of a by-gone era.

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