I was asked this the other day, and I’ll admit that my first response was to laugh. But then, I thought about it. I mean, it’s hard to know what ends up being collectible. I know one thing for sure, if I knew then what I know now, I would have bought a lot more Star Wars figures in 1977.
Things become collectible because they resonate with us and remind us of an earlier time. That’s why people collect typewriters, old blacksmith equipment, and even video game cabinets. It’s why you can go on eBay and find 40-year-old replicas of TV props that still sell for $100,000.
All of a sudden the idea of collectible DIRECTV equipment doesn’t sound so weird.
What would be collectible though?
In order for something to be collectible, it has to be significant and memorable. i think that you’d have to nominate something like this RCA DRD102 receiver. It was released in 1994 and doesn’t even have the DIRECTV logo on it. Instead, it has the DSS logo which was expected to be a common way people talked about satellite TV.
When you bought something like this — and yes folks, you bought all of it with your own money — you were expected to buy the dish and put it up yourself. Then, the original idea was that you would contact one of several TV providers, choosing the best one for you. Realistically this device worked with DIRECTV and nothing else.
Another candidate for collectibility might be this DIRECTV HR20. Introduced in 2006, it was the first modern DIRECTV DVR, and unlike that old RCA box it will still work today. It will be slow and frustrating, but it will still work.
The HR20 was the way a lot of people got into DIRECTV’s ecosystem, as it was widely available for free to new customers. Existing customers could get one for a discounted price. This box took a beating from the enthusiast community when it first came out, but it got better and better over time.
Sony SAT T60
Look at this Sony SAT T60. I’d call it another candidate for collectibility. It was available in the years just before DIRECTV rolled out its own DVRs, and for many years it was considered the top of the line. Despite the lack of high definition capability, it had a strong reputation in the enthusiast community due to its easy upgradeability, rock-solid reliability, and features which took DIRECTV years to implement. This built fond memories that people still have, and I would say it’s likely to be a collectible in the future.
But will people collect?
That’s the real question. Once upon a time, I laughed when considering old tech as collectibles. After all, one could marvel at the manufacturing and design of an antique chair, but an antique computer would just be annoying, right? Yes, I admit people collect typewriters, and I’ve known people to collect old record players. But there’s still a very real, tangible part to those. It’s not about the electrons.
Yet, I have a feeling that today’s tech will one day fetch a small fortune in the open market. Which reminds me, I need to call that old friend of mine. I’m talking about the one who refuses to give up their generation 1 iPhone. I’ve mocked them for years for it, and for the felt cozy they keep it in. Yet, I bet if I took it from them (when it finally becomes unusable next year) and sat on it for a decade, I could make a pretty penny.