Monday, August 08, 2005

Remember test patterns in the middle of the night?

After reading a recent email that took me down Memory Lane, I couldn’t help but recall other bits of nostalgia from my own childhood. My earliest memories are from the black and white television era of the late 50s. Our first television was housed in a large wooden console and, in those days, when you wanted to change to any of the five channels that were offered at the time you had to actually get out of your chair and manually turn the channel selector knob. But our television was more high tech. The channel changer was a rotary dial and you pressed the button of the desired channel and it started to automatically change to each channel until it reached the one you had depressed. Ooo – ahhhh. We kids almost wore it out, pressing buttons and enjoying the wonders of automation. You still had to get off your duff to go press the button but it was worth the effort!
There wasn’t as much programmed viewing in those days and each evening the stations eventually signed off with the recital of the Television Code, the playing of the national anthem and the screen went to an Indian head test pattern with an annoying test tone. I’ve read up a little on this (I love Google!) and learned that the purpose of the test pattern design was to help you adjust your vertical and horizontal linearity. Duh! Who knew? We always did that in the middle of a program.


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