The Best TV Set I Ever Owned

Published 2002-02-20

I inherited the best television set I've ever owned from my maternal grandmother. It was a portable, vintage ca. 1973, with a built-in radio. At the touch of a button, the screen popped up from the main unit.

I'd estimate the screen was about 4.5, maybe 5 inches, diagonal.

This set's best feature was its marginal reception. I've owned a few secondhand sets with atrocious reception on every channel, and one with fantastic reception just a few channels. But none that received at least a little signal from every receivable station, the way Grandma's old Panasonic did.

I had to babysit it. Watching TV became a full contact sport: one hand on the fine tune, one hand on the antenna. Constantly in motion. Regardless of reception, you had to sit within four feet, with a screen that small.

I never truly appreciated TV until I had to engage myself physically in the act. The Simpsons was worth it, worth the tweaking, the sitting too close, the grainy black-and-white. Reruns of Saved by the Bell were not.

I take TV for granted now, that's why I hate it so much.