In the 50’s, TV repairmen made house calls. Like doctors. When your set went “on the blink” the repairman showed up with a big case filled with vacuum tubes. He’d remove the particle board back of your set and begin replacing and testing tubes. I don’t recall our set “going into the shop” but if it did, a loaner would have been provided. Being without a TV was unthinkable.

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@smays back in the early 70s my grandfather fixed them for friends. When I visited I'd watch and help. He would be behind the set with a huge box of tubes, troubleshooting as he tried vacuum tubes one at a time. He'd describe the tube he was looking for, and I would rummage through the box and hand them to him. Not sure how helpful it was, and don't remember if anything ever got fixed. Then there's the fact that he was blind.....

@smays They were very expensive, and also huge heavy pieces of furniture you couldn't easily transport

This is my wife and her brother and sister. I, too, recall sitting in front of the set waiting for the first programs of the day.


It's hard to describe how deeply embedded in American culture was in the 50s. When word of cable TV started creeping in, people laughed a the notion anyone would pay for TV when you could get three! channels for free.

@smays Uh, I remember when we first got cable. It was in 1982. We paid for it gladly for HBO and MTV. Before that, the only people who paid for TV were folks like my uncle who lived in a rural mountain area where there was terrible reception

I was in the audience at the NAB (Natl Assn of Broadcasters) meeting in Chicago when a guy from MTV announced the service. Music videos?! Get the fuck out. Broadcasters in the audience laughed out loud. And then they stopped.

@smays @bamfic That's OK, so too did the music videos not long after. :(

@vertigo @bamfic

I never understood why MTV stopped doing the one thing they were good at.

@bamfic @smays

mobile TV repairmen were common in Britain well into the mid 1980s, the trade even continued well into the 1990s but increasingly revolved around refurbishing second hand sets for sale to students and others in lower income groups, this continued until the manufacturers simply stopped producing spare parts at affordable prices for the UK and supplying circuit diagrams and everything became surface mounted components which are way harder to repair

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