Intrigue in the Big League

A uni student's intrigue in marketing and media

What happened to the “brown box on four legs”?

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As you could probably guess, there have been many changes to TV since the 1960’s. What was once black and white is now colour and what was once a “brown box on four legs” (as my mum puts it) is now a black, flat screen.






My mum was born in Wales and when she thinks of TV when she was younger she thinks of shows like “The Magic Roundabout” and “Blue Peter” (whatever those are). Apart from the obvious change in looks and TV programs, my mum pointed out a few other differences I hadn’t considered before. She only had one TV in the house for her entire childhood, now today finding a household with only one TV is almost impossible. She also reminded me that when she was a kid she had to physically get up and twist the knobs on the TV if she wanted to change the channel or volume.


One of the major differences she remembered was the fact that programs didn’t run all the time. There were only 3 channels, and those channels only ran programs for part of the day. The rest of the time was an image that looked something like this (right) and my mum remembers it distinctly.

Some other things my mum remembered about TV from her childhood were to do with culture and family. She remembers the rule of not being allowed to watch TV before 5pm.

“Dad worked until about 4:30, so sometimes we would risk watching TV after school and switch it off just as he walked through the door. But Dad had this trick where he felt the top of the TV set (the transistors in the TV get warm after you watch a bit) and if it was hot we would miss out on TV that night and the next day.”

When my mum and her family moved to Australia in 1971, TV sets were now available in colour. My mum and her siblings remember begging their Dad for one, but he wasn’t the sort to give in easily. It must have been at least three years after colour TV came out that my mum and her siblings were allowed one.

The way my mum grew up with TV is important. As Tobias and Murray point out in their article (2010), the way children experience TV when they grow up will effect the way they enjoy and perceive television in the future.



Tobias & Murray 2010, How has the culture of TV (and TV-watching) changed?, A.V. Club, viewed 8 August 2014, <>.

One thought on “What happened to the “brown box on four legs”?

  1. Pingback: Connecting with my audience: media, audience and place | Intrigue in the Big League

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