14 January 2012

Curtis Mathes, Muntz, Sylvania, Zenith... On And On.

I pushed the button on the remote control and the TV came on but the picture was about half its normal size, and although it still displayed colors the overall tint was blue, like viewing it through blue sunglasses. I pushed the button again, then again, to reset it...
How old was this set? Wow... lemme think.
It's a non-HD set. We bought it on sale "a while" ago. It was on sale because the remote was missing. I initially bought a "universal" remote for it that worked most of the functions, but when we started using "Dish Network" I was able to make the Dish remote work all the functions but "picture on picture".
No big deal.

Its first duty station was downstairs in the living room, then we moved it to the Master B-room when we bought the new flat screen and installed that downstairs.
It was heavy. I was a blockhead and wanted to prove I could move it upstairs by myself, and I did too...
One step up. Stop and rest. Another step up. Stop and rest.

Thirteen steps. Stop and rest, wheezing.
Finally, lift the thing four feet into its new cabinet.
Wheeze some more.

But the memory of that move makes me realize how quickly time has passed and how old this set is.
Is it even worth fixing? I haven't seen or talked with my old friend Jim the TV repairman in YEARS... is he even still in business?
Grab the phone book and EUREKA, he's still listed! I sheepishly call him...
"Whatd'ya think Jim? Is it even worth the effort?"

"Well, bring it in and I'll look at it, but I'll have to charge you $40 to open it up. If it's worthwhile to fix it, the forty bucks will pay part of the bill."

This set is a Sanyo. You tell me... Korean?
I think Zenith was the last brand made in the USofA and I bought one of the last sets they made within our borders. (Got good service out of it too.) Zenith moved their factory, I believe to Mexico, years ago. Can you even buy something with the name "Zenith" on the front now?
Samsung. Sanyo. Vizio. Magnavox! (Where is that old American name now made?)

And we all know the "problem" don't we?
We can go into Wally World and buy a brand-spanking new (HD!) TV for nearly nothing...
Why fix an older non-HD set?

But having called Jim I feel obligated to give him a shot.
I lug the thing downstairs...

Step. Rest. Wheeze. Repeat. And load it into the rear seat of the car.
More wheezing at his shop, I hand over forty bucks cash and he hands me a receipt and tells me he'll call with the diagnosis.
I shudder at the thought of having to tote the thing back upstairs and secretly hope he calls to tell me it's dead.

Unfortunately, he's able to fix it. And it only costs me another $20...
A bad capacitor or somesuch.

That was a couple years ago, and the old soldier soldiers on.

We pretty much invented TV. For years we were the leaders in the technology. Sets were so expensive you repaired them when they broke. I can remember when "remote control" meant Mom or Dad telling me or my sister to "change to channel 4".
Now? They're not worth fixing. (And they're much lighter... easier to put out alongside the garbage cans on "trash pick-up" day.)

We're told by REALLY SMART people that this global market is a good thing...
That cheaper goods from other countries means we have more discretionary income to spend if we want more cheap goods from Korea, Viet Nam, or China.

Maybe I'm not so smart.
But the fact we don't make our own cars, motorcycles, electronics, etc. still scares me.

I fear we'll one day look back at the 1950's with nostalgia in many ways.
Please. Let me be wrong.


Ed Bonderenka said...

I feel your pain.
Finally bought an LCD TV to replace the 32" CRT in the Living Room.
Nothing wrong with the old TV, just wanted PC inputs for YouTube, etc.
I forgot how heavy it was. Once the wife and I got it on the floor I had to get a dolly to get it out of the house.

wksaz said...

I am one of the few that still make products here in the US. It seems like it gets harder every day, some new EPA regulation or city or county ordinance. It is almost like "they" (the powers that be) want me to quit, which I don't understand since I provide them the "financial engine" that finances their cause....My conclusion is that subjects with no skills are easier to control since they cannot do for themselves. I am becoming more and more concerned every day, the "SMARTER" people are winning, but they still can't fix their own houses, cars or computers.....much less FLY something thank god.


P.S. Some New Balance shoes are still made in the US

The Old Man said...

Y'all be so far from being wrong that the Hubble 'scope is needed to find you. This will bite our children or grand-children on their seats. We've tried to become the managerial class of the world and have only cultivated a disdain for the "sweaty" work that oils the gears of commerce. (The French tried first and had their je-ne-sais-quoi handed to them butt-first.)
We do indeed live in interesting times....

Ed Bonderenka said...

Old Man: Back in the 70's or 80's I read "The Third Wave" or some such nonsense that posited that in the future ("now") all our manufacturing would be offshore, unsullying our environment, and we'd do all the managing here. What racist crap, I thought. As if other cultures couldn't take the technology and do it themselves.
Here we are.

Old NFO said...

No, you are dead on the money... We don't make much of anything here anymore... We've become consumers, not producers!

Anonymous said...

We have done the same in Australia - willingly throwing away our manufacturing base. The government said we were to become a smarter, white collar work force. Except that those jobs are also furiously being offshored too. Scares me to be honest.

Beau's Mom said...

Your words: "But the memory of that move makes me realize how quickly time has passed and how old this set is."

Is actually telling you how old YOU are...all that wheezing and panting....

I thought I could easily lift the old tv off the tall chest in the corner of our bedroom.

The only thing I accomplished was ME crashing backwards onto the bed with the "small yet built like a bunker" tv on MY chest.

Bloviating Zeppelin said...

When I kicked my former girlfriend to the curb back in 2004, before she stripped my house bare (to include the pulls on all the cabinets, my washer, dryer, bed upstairs, my TV and my sofas), I had to bring my house back.

I bought a HUGE Toshiba CRT TV in 2004, a 36" screen, and it weighed about 19 tons. For its time, it was very clear, great color, so-so volume. But I still have it to this day. At MY house.

Since then I purchased a 45" LG LED flatscreen for the wife, purchased HD channels for her, then recently purchased a Blu-ray player when her old DVD player died.

I won't spend ANY money to bring back ANY TV. It is what it is, they are what they are. America is simply no longer a Player. If you want a TV, you buy what you can.

America simply won't "get it" until it completely tanks, fiscally and industrially.

It is what it is.