There was once a day where the best toys were made out of wood, and believe it or not, children didn’t complain about it all that much. And there once was a time where our favorite technology was pretty basic and clunky. Yet today everyone complains about “loading time.”
Our entertainment tech has gone through a massive evolution over the last century, and much of this development has come within the last 20 years.
Today, it’s as simple as downloading the right apps if you want to supercharge your Firestick. But years ago, this wasn’t the case. In fact, technological advancement moved much slower in the later part of the 20th century. But we’re all here now, with a “bazillion” little gadgets that occupy our time.
Today’s entertainment tech owes its ingenuity to the pioneers who came before. Here, we’ll explore a few of the relics of our technological past.
Before television, if you wanted to watch a show, you had to go to the theater. And in fact, most people relied on radio broadcasts for their entertainment before the 1950’s.
The fact is, the television was invented in 1927 by Philo Taylor Farnsworth, a 21 year old who lived without electricity in his home until the age of 14. But it wasn’t until the World’s Fair in New York City that the television was first sold to the public.
At the time, televisions were extremely costly, and if you owned one, this was a sure sign of affluence. However, at the time of the first sales, New York had the only broadcast station, so elsewhere in the country the radio was still king.
Fast forward a few decades and just about everyone has a television in the home. And today, all you have to do is use ditch cable for streaming services if you want to watch a range of programming.
Video Recording Technology
You probably take a lot of videos using your smartphone without even giving it a second thought. Well, while we might all take our handheld technology for granted, there was once a time when video recording was much more complex and costly.
In 1951 the Video Tape Recorder (VTR) was first developed and used to capture live images. This tech was made by Ampex and the first VTR was sold for $50,000 in 1956 when the average cost of a single-family home was just less than $12,000.
To put this in better perspective, that’s equal to approximately $504,246.32 today. Naturally, this made film recording a specialized focus in the entertainment industry in the 1950s, and it also made for a fairly expensive toy and hobby for the wealthy.
It wouldn’t be until 1971 when the first Video Cassette Recorder (VCR) was sold by Sony, and even thereafter in the early 1990s VCR systems could be sold for an average price of around $500.
Today, the VCR is largely obsolete as digital technology has eliminated the need (or desire) for the old magnetic tape systems.
One art form which has been a part of human culture since the days of antiquity is music. No matter where a culture sprang forth from or in what time period it appeared, music of some sort was certainly a part of it.
Whether this was the beating of drums, clapping, or grunting, music has defined human evolution over countless millennia. But our idea of modern music didn’t emerge until the late 19th Century.
Though the music was created in many forms in ancient societies, what we know of music today would be a foreign concept to the men and women of Hellenistic Greece; as music was often reserved for the wealthy, or as part of a theatrical play.
In fact, mass consumption of music was only available at theaters and during local festivals until the first broadcast of music over radio occurred in 1906. And today, we can carry around thousands of songs in our pockets and play them at will.
Our culture has changed significantly. And along with it, the way we live and entertain ourselves has changed along it. And if history is any lesson, what we think of as normal today will be obsolete within the next 20 years.