We Are Controlling Transmission

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“There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image, make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to crystal clarity. For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. We repeat, there is nothing wrong with your television set. You are about to participate in a great adventure.”
– Opening narration from The Outer Limits (1963-1965)

This year analog broadcasting is coming to an end. On June 12th 2009 television stations in the United States will stop broadcasting in analog and switch permanently to digital. Digital broadcasting promises to provide viewers with a sharper picture and more diverse programming options, but this unavoidable change is forcing millions of people to buy new television sets or opt for getting a converter box that will often cost them $40 or more. I feel for these people because I didn’t have complete cable TV Access or a digital television myself until 2007.

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The fabulous Kuba Komet TV manufactured in Germany from 1959-1962

As much as I enjoy my new television with its giant screen and crisp digital picture, there’s no getting around the fact that the thing looks incredibly generic and lifeless. Much like modern car and home designs, modern televisions have become standardized to such an extent that they all seem to resemble one another. This can be frustrating to someone like myself who enjoys good design and wants their television to compliment the room it’s placed in.

Buying, restoring and modifying vintage televisions can be a pricey and time consuming endeavor, but thankfully there are other options if you want to own a stylish TV set with a retro look. Some modern manufacturers are creating sleek new televisions based on vintage designs that also feature modern technology. If you’re thinking about buying a new television this year, Cinebeats recommends giving the following options some consideration if you can afford them.

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Predicta Televisions

Predicta Televisions from Telstar Electronics
The Philco company originally began producing these stylish televisions sets in the late ’50s. Unfortunately they weren’t very reliable and Philco found themselves bankrupt and out of business in 1960. Their TVs disappeared from stores in 1962. 40 years later Telstar Electronics revived the atomic look of Predicta televisions, but enhanced them with modern technology. The current color Predicta Televisions look as good as the original models, but they offer potential buyers a sharper color picture and they’re HD compatible. To see all of the current Predicta designs available visit the official Telstar site: Official Predicta Television Site

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HANNspree Televsions

HANNspree Televsions
HANNspree is a new US company that launched in 2003 and they’re interested in making modern television designs that reflect their buyer’s individual style and personality. They currently offer a wide range of television designs and many of them have a retro look. The images above are just a small sampling of the televisions that HANNspree is selling, but you can see more designs at their website: HANNspree.

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Keracolor Televisions

Keracolor Televisions
In 1968 a British designer by the name of Arthur Bracegirdle created the first perfectly spherical TV known as a Keracolor television. This space age design was well received and briefly distributed in the UK by Decca. Now some innovative Manchester residents have brought the design back to life and are manufacturing a new version of the Keracolor televsion featuring modern technology. According to their home grown website the TVs are being sold to US and UK residents. The site appears to be a little outdated, but it’s well worth a look if you’re in the market for a new TV: The Keracolor Sphere

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Brionvega Televisions

Brionvega Televisions
Brionvega has been manufacturing TV sets in Italy since 1945. They’ve recently modernized some of their classic designs and created new televisions with a vintage look. Unfortunately they’re only selling their televisions in Europe at the moment, but hopefully US residents will be able to purchase them soon. You can contact Brionvega and request more information about their products at their official website: Brionvega – Design TV

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Sony Bravia M Televisions

Sony Bravia M Televisions
Most of the televisions that Sony produces look the same and are impossible to tell apart, but last year Sony released their colorful Bravia M series. These new modern looking 19″ LCD HDTVs are a nice option for anyone who wants a modern television with a little style, but hopefully in the future they’ll produce larger models of the TV with the same colorful look. You can find more information about Sony’s Bravia M series at their official site: Sony Style.

This has just been a small sampling of the current TV options available to anyone who’s seriously interested in retro design. I recommend doing some more hunting online and make sure you compare prices and read consumer reviews before deciding to purchase a new TV.

For more information about the changes coming to television on June 12th please visit the official government sponsored site where you can get a coupon to help purchase a converter box for your current television if needed: TV Converter Box Coupon Program.

10 thoughts on “We Are Controlling Transmission

  1. Rick says:

    As an owner of a generic-looking Sony, I want the blue one, the one with little ears. I’ll bet it would fit Mickey like a glove.

  2. Vanwall says:

    Some of them look almost Soviet in their spareness and cobbled-together plainness – not that that’s bad, it’s just funny that styles seem to be going backwards into the past. I’ll take the Brionvega, tho – love it!

  3. Marilyn says:

    Kimberly – These are so fun! It reminds me of my past, when a pizza parlor near my home showcased the owner’s vintage TV and radio collection. All of the machines were great, but I most remember one with a gigantic lens separate from the screen that was used to make the picture appear larger. Wild stuff.

  4. Chuck says:

    Great job Kimberly; you definitely struck a chord with me. It looks like the new Sony M will only be white or black; alas. Three years ago Hannspree released a Batman TV; very cool.

  5. cinebeats says:

    Rick – The one with the ears does have a Mickey Mouse look! I was reminded of an insect or alien when I saw it. I like it too!

    Vanwall – Some of them are home grown creations so I can understand what you’re saying. I love the Brionvega with the clear back myself.

    Marilyn – Glad you enjoyed it! I really wish more companies would experiment with TV technology these days as well as design.

    Chuck – Glad you found the post interesting, Chuck! I thought of you when I was writing it. It’s a shame that more companies don’t experiment with design more often and offer consumers more options. Home entertainment systems have a terribly generic look these days and I think people would welcome more choices.

  6. Nouniard says:

    I am an owner of one of Hannspree’s 37″ Hannslounge HDTVs. It’s absolutely great and gives off an awesome retro feel without being cheesy like most other ‘retro’ televisions. Beautiful design, chrome feet that it sits on, six speakers in that grille under the screen, great picture, etc.

    Retro elegance.

    I’d love to have a Brionvega if I had space for it.

    Nouniard

  7. cinebeats says:

    Vicar – Glad you like them!

    Nouniard – Thanks for sharing your experience with Hannspree televisions! I really like their designs so it’s nice to know that the TVs work as good as they look.

  8. Ed says:

    Kimberly
    Your blog is wonderful and i love this post on televisions.

    by the way in the photo of the Sony Bravia M Televisions the top left model has a photo of a girl holding a gun. Is that a movie still? Look like something out of “Deadlier than the male” or a Mario Bava movie. Any idea what the movie is?.
    cheers
    Ed

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