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The Cost Of A Color TV In 1960 Was Approximately $300 – Equivalent To $3.26 Today!


Most of us take for granted watching color television, but this wasn’t always the case. It’s time to celebrate Color TV Day on June 25.

  • In 1904, a German patent for a color TV system was mentioned. Later, in 1925, Vladimir K. Zworkykin, a Russian inventor, filed a patent disclosure for an electronic color TV system.
  • The first working color TV systems was developed by Scottish inventor, John Logie Baird in 1928.
  • Researchers at CBS invented a color television system in 1940 that was based on the 1928 mechanical TV designs of Baird.
  • First demonstrated by CBS to the press in 1940, to the public in January 1950, and adopted as the standard for color TV by the FCC on October 11, 1950, it seemed like this newfangled device was going to be the future.
  • Another early patent for a color TV was granted in 1942 to a young Mexican inventor named Guillermo González Camarena. His patent was for an “improved chromoscopic adapter” using the “Trichromatic” system for color television transmissions.
  • The cost of the first color TV for consumers expensive!  The model was an RCA set with a 15-inch screen which sold for $1.000 (comparable to $7850 today!)
  • In 1951, CBS made a television program that is regarded as the first color television broadcast.  The program was called Premiere and was an hour-long variety show.
  • The first live national TV broadcast in what was called “living color” was made in 1954 on New Year’s Day. The event was the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California.
  • The production of color TVs was stopped during the Korean war because metals needed for the war which were also needed to produce color TVs was scarce.
  • Color television would remain a bit of a dream until December 1953, when the FCC adopted RCA’s NTSC as the standard color TV technology — still the standard in the United States today.
  • The first coast-to-coast color television broadcast would be made by NBC on January 1, 1954 — a telecast of the Tournament of Roses Parade.
  • By 1958, there were about 350,000 color TVs in the US, mainly manufactured by RCA.
  • September of 1961 was a turning point for the purchases of color television when the Walt Disney show “The Wonderful World of Color” made its debut appearance.
  • The cost of a color TV in 1960 was approximately $300 – equivalent to $3.26 today!
  • The first television season when all three major networks showed their Prime-time TV lineups in color was the 1966-67 season.
  • The Perry Mason TV series experimented with just one episode in color.
  • The first cartoon shows shown in color were in the fall of 1962 – The Flintstones and The Jetsons.
  • By 1966, all of the news on NBC was shown in color.
  • Daytime soap operas were some of the last shows to switch over to color.
  • By 1972, there were more color televisions than black and white TVs in the USA.
  • Many early TV shows switched over to color partway through their runs. Lost in Space had three seasons but only seasons 2 and 3 were filmed in color.
  • Morning talk shows, of which modern viewers have dozens to choose from, also developed during this golden age of television. The “Today” show, created by Sylvester L. Weaver Jr. and hosted by Dave Garroway, was the first, debuting in 1952.
  • The first live-television breaking news event was in 1958.  On Oct. 23, 1958, one of the deepest coal mines in the world collapsed in Springhill, Nova Scotia. Ninety-three men were trapped below ground, desperately attempting to dig their way out just as rescuers attempted to dig their way in.
  • The moon landing tapes have all been lost.  NASA employees believe that these original tapes were likely wiped clean and used again, which was standard practice at the time.
  • In 1950, the Zenith Radio Corporation released the first remote control. Connected to the TV set by a bulky cord, the remote could change channels and turn the TV on and off.
  • The world’s first TV commercial, an advertisement for Bulova watches, aired before a Brooklyn Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies baseball game on July 1, 1941. Lasting only 10 seconds, the ad cost the company a mere $9.
  • While we tend to think of cable TV as a more modern invention, it’s actually almost as old as television itself. The first cable services delivered broadcast channels in three states—Oregon, Arkansas, and Pennsylvania—way back in 1948.


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