When looking at the television in this day and age, it becomes quite clear that it has become the centrepiece of the living room. What I would like to explore is the introduction of the television and the effects that it had on my two family members, My Nan and Dad. When speaking with my Nan and Dad there was an obvious difference when it came to their experiences with the television when they were children. As well as this, the experiences of both my Nan and Dad would be very different to the experiences my sister and I would have had.
My Nan was around to see the first coloured television introduced, and in those days it was very rare for people to own their own – both black and white as well as coloured. The television was introduced to my Nan through my Aunty, and one thing that was mentioned was the fact that the old TV’s were big and bulky, and in my Nan’s words she referred to them as a ‘big bulky box’. The television itself had no remote controls and was tuned through a dial on the front of the box.
A fond memory she had before the coloured television was introduced was putting sheets of cellophane over the screen to make the black and white TV colourful. So as you could imagine, the introduction to the coloured television would have been quite exciting. When the coloured TV was introduced, as you can imagine it was expensive, which lead to companies such as radio rentals renting them out. My Nan had a rented coloured TV, but when she didn’t she said that she liked to got to the houses of her neighbours who did and watch it through their windows.
TV shows that were usually shown at this time included more family related shows that included a moral and had limited violence and killing. As the television was introduced my Nan said that most of the time she was glued to the TV, but it often had a show cut off time at night where nothing played.
Typically, the environment around the TV for my Nan was both formal and informal. Some nights her sisters and herself would sit around the TV. The television quickly became the centre piece for the house, where all the lounges faced towards it, and you were lucky enough to have one in your house.
In comparison, my Dad wasn’t there when the first colour TV was introduced, however he did grow up with it. The Television was like my Nan described it, a big box with no remote and dials that had to be manually turned in order to move stations. The television was expensive so kids weren’t allowed to touch it or put anything on top of it in case it broke.
The television was also expensive when my Dad was a kid, which meant that the only TV that was in the house was in the lounge room as you were lucky to even have one. This lead to the television being mainly used by both parents, but particularly Dad’s mum who was home more with the kids.
The environment was the same as what my Nan mentioned, the lounge room was used as both a formal and informal space. Only on special occasions would you find Dads family sitting around the television and eating dinner. Lounges were facing the television, as it became the centre of the room, but bean bags were also used which gave the space a more informal feel.
The television was mostly run by my Dad’s mother, who would be in charge of how it was used during the day. This was until Dad’s father came home, where there would be a shift in who is primarily using the television. However, what was interesting is that my Dad mentioned that both his parents would sit around the television and watch the same thing that his sisters and himself were watching when there was nothing else on.
The experiences of both my Nan and Dad both differ and relate to my experiences with the television. At home the television is the main appliance in the lounge room, and its outlined by all the lounges. There is also more than one TV available around my house that allows for family members to watch their own thing in a different room if they don’t want to watch what is being watched in the main room, which is very different to the experiences of my Nan and Dad.
The space around the television is also quite different, it’s rare to see my family all sitting around the television whilst eating dinner. Dinner is always eaten at the dinner table, and we all sit around it with the television going on in the background. However, my sister and I aren’t allowed to watch it as both our backs are facing it, and its mostly looked at by my parents.
The way in which we use the television has changed over time as it was welcomed into the private home environment. The way my sister and I watch television is also very different to my parents and even my Nan’s and Pop’s. I use Netflix and my sister uses the internet to watch what we want, and we often use these items instead of watching the television in the lounge room with our parents.