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Television January 5, 2017

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Culture.

The 14 year old Television that was massive and weighed a ton finally met it’s doom today. Having managed to get it into the back seat of the car, my son sat beside it on the journey to the shop to get a new TV. We were laughing at the size and weight of it compared to the TVs that are around today. Suddenly the questions started coming from the back seat….
“Did you ever watch a Black and White TV?” . I explained how we only got a colour TV in 1979 (for the Popes visit) and up until that it was a black and white TV which had a dial you had to move to change channels, much like moving a radio dial. So you had a dial to move and some TVs also had different frequencies you could turn the dial to, UHF, VHF and so on. There were just 4 channels here RTE, BBC1, BBC2 and UTV and if you were down the Country it was only RTE, unless you were near the border or had a massive aerial down in Wicklow or Wexford where you might get BBC Wales or HTV.
“Wow only 4 channels?” Yes and they weren’t on all day. RTE might start at 3pm and the others around midday. There was also shutdown where channels would finish around 11.30 or midnight and then slightly later at Christmas time or Easter. They might also come on earlier if there was something on in the morning like Cricket ,Golf , a Mass or again Cartoons at the weekend or at Christmas.
I then remarked how the TV in the back was the first Television that we had bought, up until then we had rented our Television just as our parents and many others had done right up until the late 90’s…. from the back seat came the question “Why would you rent a Television?” …..
It really is astonishing how much Television , the technology, streaming, channels, pay TV and so on has changed in my own lifetime….


1. benmadigan - January 5, 2017

my grandmother’s original TV came in a beautiful wooden cupboard. You closed the doors when it was off so it looked just like a cabinet in the room.
Mum eventually re-cycled the cabinet for drinks and glasses.


irishelectionliterature - January 5, 2017

I remember those alright, the TV could be hidden away rather than it being the central focus it is in many rooms now.


2. yourcousin - January 5, 2017

My grandmother had something similar, sans the doors. I remember growing up how my dad being the handy guy he was put our TV on a swiveling block so you could move it around. We were all very impressed.

I have very much fallen out of love with the TV and it always irks me to see the TVs on 24/7 at my parent’s house.


3. rockroots - January 5, 2017

I think we were a little behind the times in having a black & white telly until the late 80s (and yes, a massive aerial on our midlands roof to pick up the northern signals). Funnily enough I went off watching snooker on the TV once we got colour, it must have been much less challenging when the balls weren’t all shades of grey! I have fond memories too of my first flat in the 90s where I was gifted my deceased aunties old b&w telly – it had three push-button channel options, it had be switched on for a half hour to warm up before it would work, and when it was switched off the picture would slowly shrink down to a single dot in the middle of the screen before vanishing. To see what was just around the corner would have blown my mind.
My present job involves trawling trough thousands of Irish TV ads from the 1960s to 1980s, so it’s useful to know the context of Irish (RTE + UTV) television at the time, and how quickly parts of the island went from having no electricity at all to having glamorous vacuum cleaners and sun holidays beamed into their living rooms – I imagine it was a much more gradual process in urban areas and in our more developed neighbouring countries.


4. Dermot O Connor - January 5, 2017

Sheets of interference when the weather got bad would destroy many a TV show from HTV or the BBC. Herring-bone interference was particularly annoying.

One day in the mid 80s we completely lost HTV, but I was a stubborn bollix and kept trying to tune it back in. Found a channel with a new presenter giving soccer results.

Bordeaux 1: Paris 0

I do have fond memories of 70s and 80s TV though, in spite of the defects. We did get a healthy dose of high-weirdness, to be fair.


5. roddy - January 5, 2017

We got our first tv in the mid 60s. Problem was we had no electricity and it was powered by a 6v car battery.The screen was only about 12inches to start with and as the battery went down the picture went down till you were watching something the size of a cigarette packet.At this stage my uncle would take the battery to be charged at his workplace and we were sans TV for 2 days.Sign of the times that we could’nt afford a second battery to keep us on air when the 2 day charging process was taking place!

Liked by 1 person

Joe - January 5, 2017

No electricity? Seriously? In the mid sixties? Was it the whole area you lived in or what?


6. roddy - January 5, 2017

The whole “townland” received the electricity in jan 69.I have the bill from that date from the local electrician who wired dozens of houses at thattime.He got £45 for supplying all cable and switches including labour.


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[…] Television […]


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