Television set

The inevitable death of the big fat television set

The last decade has seen a massive change in the way we watch television. Flat screens have effectively defeated older cathode ray tube (CRT) televisions, as well as other large and bulky televisions. The above image is not uncommon, as day by day more and more old boxes are being sent to Old Purgatory on the curb, replaced by new, more stylish and stunning displays.


But where do all those old televisions end up? From 1980 until they stopped producing them, 705 million CRT televisions were sold in the United States alone. It is likely that less than a third of them are still in use. This ends up leading to a lot of plastic, glass and lead in landfills.

I was recently at a garage sale where some nice CRT TVs (and a huge projection kit), still fully functional, were on sale for as little as $ 10. There were no takers, not even for a basement screen or a spare in case the regular one broke. Sure, they’re obsolete, but there’s also a stigma attached to old TVs; owning one seems to be as uncool as frosted spikes or bell bottoms. They are from a bygone era and we are in an era eager to reach the next.

So, like any other artefact or arcane technology, the old tubes will only collect dust for the next thousand years until a future human digs them up and marvels at the childish and primitive technological capabilities of the past.

Photo credit: Marsel Minga / Flickr


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