We missed an important birthday last month. The colour television turned 50, and as surprising as it seems, it’s only half a century since the first colour television set was manufactured by RCA and the invention began its march to ubiquity in many countries.
The colour television is one of just a handful of electronic devices which have reached the 95% household penetration level – the telephone, the radio (first AM, then FM) and monochrome television having been its predecessors, and the video recorder and mobile telephone the only others to have since approached that mark (neither has yet attained it). For those interested in visualising society’s embrace of worldly goods, check out Karl Hartig’s http://www.karlhartig.com/chart/techhouse.html incredibly informative chart of US Household penetration of Consumer goods, and some of his other wonderful work. It’s notable that very little has changed in the colour television technology in our homes since that point 50 years ago, and in the next 50 years all of the devices mentioned above will converge into a seamless communications and entertainment system for the home.