Die, TV, Die!


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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46 Responses

  1. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Why not see if someone will take it off your hand on Craigslist and then you can get a new TV?

    My TV is relatively old and relatively small screened. This suits me fine because I don’t watch much TV but it is almost the first thing everyone comments on when they see my place. “Why do you have such a small TV?”Report

    • Generally, you’ll have to pay someone to take a TV with a tube because it’s illegal to dump them these days — lead in the glass to protect you from the soft x-rays the electron guns produce. Just a few years ago my suburban city ran a Saturday morning event where they took tube TVs for disposal and the fee was only $15 for <32-inch screen, $25 for larger. They had to stay open all afternoon and into the evening and collected a few thousand of the damned things.

      Of course they’re durable — other than the CRT proper and a few adjustable controls, it’s all solid-state electronics (if you have one that has actual tubes in the electronics, you might be able to get someone to take it as a collectable). Consider that we still don’t know how long discrete transistors last in actual consumer circuits functioning within spec, we just know that the resistors or capacitors in the test circuits have always failed first. Essentially all lifetime testing of transistors is done out of spec, with guesses about how that translates into in-spec lifetimes.Report

      • Avatar Saul DeGraw in reply to Michael Cain says:

        I mean maybe someone wants it for personal use. “Free TV. Just come and take.”Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Michael Cain says:

        To repeat: that simply doesn’t work these days for CRTs. They are difficult to haul around so you need a vehicle and 2 people, they ave too much footprint in living spaces where free stuff is most important, you generally need an adapter to get ota xmissions. And as said you can’t ditch them when they finally do break.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Michael Cain says:

        Yeah. About 10 years ago, I got permission to purchase a 36″ Sony television. It was a flat screen CRT. It weighed approximately as much as Your Mom.

        About 3 years ago, I got permission to replace said television. I called up some friends and told them that they could have this television so long as I didn’t have to touch it.

        They currently are debating whether to switch to bigger, lighter, HD television. Part of the reason they’re skeptical is that they’ll have to get rid of the CRT and they aren’t sure about how they’ll do that.Report

      • To extend Kolohe and Jaybird’s accurate comments… If you came to me and said, “Look! Free TV!” but didn’t add, “for the cool retro project I was telling you about,” I’d do my best to talk you out of it. I’d start with it’s only temporarily free, eventually you have to either find a bigger fool (yay, JB!) or pay the disposal fee. Then I’d add weight, depth, flicker, overscan, and glare. Then I’d ask you what you were going to watch on it. Over-the-air? That’s all digital now, you’d need to get a converter box. Cable? That’s all digital too, you’d need some sort of cable box. VHS tape player? Probably works. DVD player? If it’s relatively new, you probably have to buy a modulator (although you might be able to coax the VHS player into doing that job). Blu-ray? Most likely a scan converter and a modulator. Roku? Same thing, but now the scan converter is likely to run you >$200.

        Seriously, once I knew what you wanted to watch, I’d take you down to my basement to see if we couldn’t jury-rig something with one of the old LCD monitors and the drawer of old electronics down there to tide you over. $4/week for a year gets you up to simple 32″ sets; 42″ if you’re willing to stand in line at Wal-Mart at the right time of the year.Report

      • I could throw in a converter box. I have two of those!

        It’s actually not quite as bad as all that. I think most RGB still works. Everyone I’ve asked about game consoles say those still work. And you can hook it up to a laptop, even if it’s a bit spotty.

        TThe problem is that the number of people looking to get rid of CRTs exceeds the number of people that want them. It’s as much a supply issue as a demand one.Report

      • Yes, I assumed the worst case — only NTSC-modulated video and audio input on 75Ω coax or 300Ω antenna wire. The closer it gets to being a monitor and audio amp that happens to have a tuner thrown in, the more things you can connect (and the less likely someone’s giving it away for free). Game consoles still support some old stuff — hey, we’re at grandma’s house for the holidays — but I expect that to disappear in another generation. Newest TV gadgets like Amazon Fire TV or Roku, forget it — HDMI-out only, so unless that’s one hell of an analog monitor, you’re going to need something to do frame resizing.

        Price for that varies, but one of the things that you get when you pay more for an expensive digital TV is a billion-transistor frame resizer instead of a 100-million-transistor one, and much fancier resizing algorithms.Report

      • It was a flat screen CRT. It weighed approximately as much as Your Mom.

        For part of the late 1990s, I did road-show demos of where cable TV systems were going (high-def, cable modem internet access, phone service, etc). We had a CRT-based high-def TV, 32″ IIRC. That sucker was three feet deep from screen to the back of the enclosure, and it took four of us to lift it from the carrying case up to the display stand. Before doing so, double-check the floor that there’s nothing anyone might slip on, and shoo everyone not lifting well out of the way.

        The question I got from the video folks when I had my technology forecasting hat on at that point in time was “How soon will there be high-def televisions thin and light enough to be practical?”Report

  2. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    TV’s are either very fragile or very durable. A minor static electricity discharge accumulated from putting on a sweatshirt lunched my friend’s 72″ Samsung, two days before his family from Oregon was going to gather at his house and watch the Rose Bowl.

    Happy ending: when they learned about it they got tickets to the actual game instead, which seems better than hanging around their brother’s house in the northern exurbs of Los Angeles, but still.Report

    • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Burt Likko says:

      Tickets…to the real game?


      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to James Hanley says:

        Unless it’s Pac10 champion vs. Big10 champion, it’s not the real game.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to James Hanley says:

        Will you take Pac 12 vs B1G?Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to James Hanley says:

        …Also, there would have been an entirely colorable case to make that the Rose Bowl as designated (2 vs 3) could have featured those two teams as it was. Or even that the Sugar Bowl as it was set up (1 vs 4) could have, which then could have been designated the Rose. (Imagine if the Sugar had featured the Pac12 champion vs. the Big10 champion! The horror.)

        It should have happened. Tradition (well, some traditions: this one, to be sure) is important to preserve when possible, and it was possible here. Lame.

        I’d actually be okay if they didn’t seed the top four teams and let traditional bowl affiliations govern match ups in the playoff for the duration of the only-four playoff era. Possibly even in a six- or 8-team playoff era, though that would get messy. I suppose even in a four-team situation the bowls want to know who they’re getting well before the last week of the season. But I agree with Mike: they really should remain flexible enough to preserve traditional affiliations as much as possible, even to the point of ending up not being a playoff bowl (I know, fat chance).

        Tradi-shuuunnn… tradition.

        (Some of the above may be slightly tongue in cheek. But then again, maybe not.)Report

      • @michael-drew the championship game is Pac-12 v. B1G.

        B1G. That just feels dumb to type and dumber to say. It’s the freaking Big Ten.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to James Hanley says:


        the championship game is Pac-12 v. B1G.

        It is. But Schilling said that it is necessary for a game to be the Rose Bowl to be Pac-12 champ v. B1G champ, not that it’s sufficient (and I agree in spirit). To be the Rose Bowl it also, I would think, needs to 1) be played on Jan. 1 (in rare instances on other days if the 1st falls on an NFL Sunday, or I guess if the Championship game ever gets called the Rose Bowl game and has those two conferences’ champions in it …though perhaps that requirement can’t ever be waived, you’d have to ask Schilling); 2) be played in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.; and 3) has to be designated by the Pasadena Tournament of Roses (Football Committee) as the Rose Bowl Game. (Notice that the Tournament of Roses has the power to deny the status of Rose Bowl to any game, but has the power to grant such status only to games that meet certain criteria (laid out above).


        “B1G” to me is nothing more than a typing shortcut; “Big Ten” goes through my head as I type it. In the conference I think it’s more of a logo than an actual abbreviation for the name of the conference. Gets painted on fields and floors, etc. It is weird, yes. I just use it as a shortcut; it’s not what I call the conference. It is indeed “The Big Ten”: you are correct.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to James Hanley says:

        B1G. That just feels dumb to type and dumber to say. It’s the freaking Big Ten.

        It reminds me of the squiggle The Artist Formerly Known as Prince changed his name to when his conference added a few teams. B1G isn’t even English. It’s the sorta foolishness that only Big Ten officials could think was a good idea, the same guys that brought us the Legends and Leaders divisions. Yikes! I’m embarrassed for my people!Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to James Hanley says:

        B1G. That just feels dumb to type and dumber to say. It’s the freaking Big Ten.

        It reminds me of the squiggle The Artist Formerly Known as Prince changed his name to when his conference added a few teams. B1G isn’t even English. It’s the sorta foolishness that only stuffy, old, Big Ten officials could think was a good idea, the same guys that brought us the Legends and Leaders divisions. Yikes! I’m embarrassed for my people!Report

      • Once you know you’re going to do it repeatedly, it is quicker than typing out the words repeatedly. Lots of practice with it on Badger chat boards for me…


      • I consider B1G to be the equivalent of B12 or BE or AAC. Something I write for shorthand.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to James Hanley says:

        You couldn’t write BTen, or B10, or even BT if you’re really short on time?

        Say it out loud: “B-One-G”. It’s silly. And someone probably got paid a lot of money to come up with it. Or actually, that’s the onlyway anyone could have come up with something that silly, seems to me.Report

      • Still, I mostly either use it on Twitter, where every character counts, or where I am listing off a bunch of conferences. B10 or BT are fine, but the Big 12 has ten teams, and it would take people a second or two to recognize BT.Report

      • Avatar ScarletNumbers in reply to James Hanley says:

        @michael-drew 11:08am

        in rare instances on other days if the 1st falls on an NFL Sunday

        The Rose Bowl moving to Monday, January 2 has nothing to do with the NFL. The game was played on Monday, January 2, 1961, even though the NFL played its championship game on Monday, December 26, 1960.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to James Hanley says:


        It doesn’t seem to me like that one atomic fact proves much one way or the other about why it happened a couple of years ago or why it might if it did again…Report

  3. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    When I was quite young, one of my uncles worked for Singer (the sewing machine company), which made TVs for what must have been a good month and a half. He sent us one for my birthday. It was the same size as your average sewing machine (I think, literally, a seven-inch screen), and getting a watchable picture out of it was a black art (the fine tuning setting and antenna placement that worked Saturday night would be a complete fail by Sunday morning.) I loved it, of course — it was all mine. It lasted for years, with no failures more serious than some blown tubes, which were, of course, consumer-replaceable items in those days. I don’t know exactly how many years, but I do recall watching late-night shows (e.g. Sergeant Bilko reruns) on it when I was in high school, so at least 10.Report

  4. Avatar ScarletNumbers says:

    there was no coaxial cable either

    Ahh, yes. I completely forgot about the 300 ? connection standard. I remember that the Atari 2600 used it, but Nintendo used 75 ? (coaxial cable).

    With the Atari, you used to have to manually slide a switch to go from TV to video game.Report

  5. Avatar Saul DeGraw says:

    I’ve noticed that cars are a lot more durable these days as well.

    When I was a kid, my parents had to take their cars to the mechanic pretty frequently. I’ve never had a car fail on me or refuse to start.Report

  6. Avatar Damon says:

    You’ll not get much cash off of craigslist for that. I have some experience in that area.
    I’ve got a 36 inch CRT tv that was hand me down like 20+ years ago. It weighs so much, it’s hard for one person to carry. I’m not doing anything to it until I move….then I’m tossing it….Report

  7. Avatar Rufus F. says:

    It’s amazing how cheap and thus omnipresent sets have become. I also remember growing up in the era of “hey kids, can one of you get up and change the channel?” I wouldn’t have predicted there would be screens and cable playing in waiting rooms, libraries, banks… I remember when it was a big draw that bars had ’em and your dad could go watch the fights there!Report

  8. Avatar Michael Drew says:

    On our last move we flat ran out of room on the truck (well, I’m sure the packing could have been just that bit better but we damn sure weren’t rearranging anything when we realized) and just left our TV behind and got a new one. It was a heavy beast. One of the best days of my life (except for the whole moving away from beloved Madison AND Wisconsin thing). I’d say just pull the trigger.

    Also: see if a Best Buy or appliance place will take it for free – that’s what we did. The TV we ditched was a little newer, though. But they sometimes take ’em. I imagine especially if you’re buying.Report

    • A couple of years ago my daughter recycled one at Best Buy. She had to pay the federally-mandated recycling fee (covers the cost of reducing the glass to a powder from which the lead and glass can be separated) in cash, but they gave her a Best Buy gift card in the amount of the fee. Which makes it a profitable transaction for them, and less of a loss for you.Report