THROWBACK THURSDAY: Big Screens of 1944

Every year the blog team travels to the CES Show and this year was no exception. And every year, we’re just bombasted with big TVs. Even though you ca spend $400 at your local discount store and get a TV that would have thrilled the pickiest videophile in 1998, CES keeps showing us more and more, bigger and bigger.

Before I ask, “when will it end…” I guess the first question is, “when did it start?” and the answer seems to be, way back during the second world war. Many people first heard of television when it was shown during the New York World’s Fair in 1939, but it seems that almost from the very beginning there was a fascination with making the screens ever bigger.

This image found by Gizmodo about four years ago, depicts an idea for a projection TV that would give a (gasp!) 20″ diagonal picture, a big jump from the standard 12″ TVs that were available in small numbers before the war. Such a large, lifelike picture would have ensured a place in history for the Emerson Radio and Phonograph Corporation, a company that still exists in name only although it hasn’t manufactured anything since the 1970s. Unfortunately, that big, massive projector was not to be.

After the war, 19″ console televisions were the must-have accessory for the suburban living room, and while projection TV technology did have a bit of a heyday in the 1980s and 1990s, it’s since disappeared unless you count movie projectors which are nothing but big fancy televisions now. Sure, we saw a few of them at the CES show but not enough to really make a difference in a sea of flat TVs.