Televisions. Those huge panels that sit in your home doing the singular job of pushing pixels to keep you entertained. Well, there has been quite a long history of television and display technology, but what stands out most is that two decades before the advent of the smartphone, there existed portable televisions.
Wait, ‘portable' and ‘television' in the same sentence? That’s odd, isn’t it? Interestingly, I own one of these super-advanced, highly durable portable television sets - that shamefully doesn’t fit in my pocket.
Welcome to the past of television: the Casio TV-480. A brilliant piece of engineering: it has both high frequency and low frequency band tuning, a meter long antenna and an abnormally bright display. Not to mention it's sound quality - simply surreal: at least 4 times louder than the best iPhone available in the market. All this technology packed into a tiny box just slightly thicker than 5 iPhone 6’s piled upon each other.
The standout feature of the TV-480 is, of course, its 2.2” LCD colour display. Watching football on it is so much fun, but you shouldn’t bother about the goals. There just aren’t enough pixels to display the score, and you’d probably have to turn up the volume halfway to even understand what the commentators are saying. Just 90s tech!
As I mentioned before, this portable TV is very durable. Seriously, no one expects a 20 year old device to turn on just by inserting new batteries into it! Then again, it’s made by Casio - the same company that produces the legendary G-Shock watches. Still, I’m surprised that this portable TV works.
What’s interesting to note is the advancement in television broadcasting since the 90s. From radio wave transmission to cable TV and now satellite TV, the world has progressed significantly in this aspect. Hence sadly, the only channel that works on this portable TV today is Doordarshan, the “ancient” Indian television channel that no one watches. There will be a time in future when even that will be gone, and the portable TV will finally rest in peace.
For now though, this childhood piece of tech brings back no nostalgia. Personally, I never used it in my life, and I don’t remember watching SpongeBob Square Pants on a 2.2” LCD display. Oh well.
Remember one thing though: that app on your smartphone that allows you to watch television on-the-go over the internet does exactly the same job as this portable television set. Same purpose, different medium, 20 years apart.