We're a bit more switched on to colour

By Roger Moroney

At what I recall was some sort of trades show staged at the old Centennial Hall in Napier back around 1965, there was a television stand set up.

The centrepiece was a "colour" television.

It drew people to it, although the description was a loose one.

It was a standard television but across the screen it bore shards of coloured transparent film ... to add "colour" to the background.

Which was fine every now and then, although a green sky looked slightly alarming.

It was all about showing the populace "sort of" what would one day come to their living rooms.

Colour TV.

That wonderful and magical thing the Americans had and we didn't. Eventually, of course, the real thing arrived here - on October 31, 1973 - 13 years after black and white television first began screening.

Television has indeed come a long way, and the journey is not over yet as the digital transmission age edges closer.

This month marks 50 years since people were first able to rent black and white televisions.

Since then the television industry has seen the introduction of colour TV, commercial television channels, the development of pay television services and later this year of course the move to digital TV.

On September 30, Hawke's Bay and the West Cost of the South Island will become the first regions to go digital. The rest of the country will follow in stages, with Auckland and the upper North Island the last to make the move to digital on December 1, 2013.

Back in 1962, the cost to rent a TV was a fraction of the purchase price. Someone looking to buy a 23-inch black and white television would have paid 130 (the equivalent of about $4500 today), making it a luxury item that not everyone could afford.

Now, lit by plasma or LCD, large flat screens at a fraction of that cost are on the market.

The perfect time for sharper images.

"The move to digital TV will give viewers a markedly improved viewing experience, especially in comparison to what was offered back in 1962," said Going Digital national manager Greg Harford.

Indeed, for back then viewers relied on rabbit-ears and ribbons of wire and only received just one channel.

Digital is coming, ready or not ... but if you aren't ready you won't be watching anything at all. It's not scary or mysterious. It is simple, and affordable. To find out more about the move to digital TV, call 0800 838 000 or visit www.goingdigital.co.nz.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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