White Noise Fades Away

Sharp 3S111 Red-orange B&W TV, Space-Age design.
It’s sad to think, with the recent change from analog to digital television, that my vintage 1970s, orange-hued, space-age portable b&w TV will no longer be able to pick up a signal.  Nor would the b&w television my brother & and set up in our bedroom in the 1960s, wire coat hanger antenna extended out the window, festooned with a flag made of aluminum foil.
We spent hours adjusting that antenna until the white noise faded away, making the television programming that much sweeter.  We would become quite adept at adjusting rabbit ears, a skill made obsolete with the advent of cable television and digital TV.

Now those rabbit ears may have been promoted to the status of collectibles and exotic artworks, but there’s still the chance they may capture some stray television broadcasts.  As reported at CBS News.com:

“The antenna is alive and well,” said Michael Godar, who runs one of the nation’s few hand-made antenna companies out of a TV repair shop in Gilbert, Arizona. And he says that, even at the dawn of the digital age, there’s plenty of life in that old antenna. “There was almost a sport adjusting your antenna on your TV,” said Sieberg. “Oh yeah, battling it, you know, Image via CBSespecially when you had a remote control,” laughed Godar. “You’d change the channel and then get up, adjust the antenna!” Antennas are as old as television itself. Their limitations were spoofed in the very first episode of Jackie Gleason’s “The Honeymooners.” The antenna is the sole survivor of our analog past. And while it just receives over-the-air channels, digital is the reason there’s more of them. “An antenna will still work,” said Godar. “Even some of these antiques here will actually pick up a digital signal.” Of course, some things never change. You still need to be in a place where it’s possible to get good reception. In fact, unlike an analog signal with its fuzzy picture, a weak digital signal can leave you seeing . . . well, nothing at all.
Artist Rick Doble works with television static to produce abstract works of art.  His organic imagery is created in PaintShop Pro v.6, from original digital photographs of different static patterns on a television screen.  Doble has tried to capture the essence of white noise and television snow.  A memorial to things past?
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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. flash
    Jul 07, 2009 @ 01:55:59

    Great post!


  2. David Kellas
    Aug 29, 2009 @ 20:26:16

    when my boss changed television from digital to analog as he was a tv repair technican at the time, they where all crazily busy researching how to repair such mechanisms, the poor guy is sixty years old now and retired soon after plasmas and lcd’s came out, he got sick of people saying “cost too much to repair etc” – interesting insight into the life of an electro technician, we’re commonly studying new tv’s like the led’s nowadays and it surprisingly NEVER stops… i getting tired of change aswell :(


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