When I saw this article from the Wall Street Journal a couple days ago, I was dumbfounded. Free TV as a new concept? TV has always been free. It still is. All you need is a TV and an antenna. No cable required.
We pulled the plug on cable over 30 years ago. We got tired of flipping through 100+ channels and not finding anything good to watch.
When I was growing up TV was free. In the 1960’s we had four major channels, CBS, ABC & NBC. If you had the right antenna, you might be able to pick up a few UHF channels. The only problem was, you needed a TV.
My Dad refused to buy a TV. I’m not sure why, but he wouldn’t buy one. If we wanted to watch a show, we had to visit a friend’s house. I remember watching Saturday Morning Cartoons at my friend’s house. Hercules, Mighty Mouse, Looney Tunes, etc.
when I was eight or nine, around fourth grade, my Dad got interested in electronics. He signed up for a correspondence course with Heathkit. He built an AM radio, complete with vacuum tubes, that I used for many years, until I discovered FM Radio.
Then he got started on his big project, building our own TV. Dad invited me (more like drafted me) to help building this TV. We worked in the basement of our house on Navajo St. in Denver. Honestly, I would rather have been outside playing with friends or riding my bike.
At each step of the way, Dad coached me and explained everything. Dad was always excited to learn new things. I remember learning about the color coding on resistors, the danger of capacitors, and how to test vacuum tubes. Along the way Dad taught me how to make a clean solder, and how to strip and crimp wires with needle nose pliers.
As much as I hated staying cooped up in the basement workshop, I still felt a swell of pride while watching our weird naked TV, knowing I helped build it. I can’t remember if either my brother or sister were kept hostage in the basement learning about electronics.