TV IN A CAR (Jul, 1958)


The kids looking so raptly at the TV screen at left are seated in the back of a moving automobile. This was a demonstration of an experimental auto television set developed by General Motors’ Delco Radio Division for Oldsmobile. It is dual-purpose, operating in a car and removable for use on line current. Having eight-inch screens, such sets were first shown by Oldsmobile this year at the Chicago and Detroit automobile shows.

  1. dean says: February 18, 201112:22 pm

    No all they have to do is figure out seatbelts in a car!

  2. Thundercat says: February 18, 20115:37 pm

    this will never catch on!

  3. Daniel Rutter says: February 19, 201112:28 am

    > It is dual-purpose, operating in a car and removable for use on line current.

    But thieves will still break into you car to see if you just stuck it under the seat.

  4. Mike says: February 19, 20118:04 pm

    I bet in a moving vehicle with 1958 technology you were lucky to be able to pick up one channel with any sort of clear reception.

  5. GSL says: February 20, 201112:38 pm

    Mike: Oh, I don’t know. If you were in an urban area, and had a small VHF antenna on the car, I bet you’d be able to pick up two or three (which is, of course, about all they had anyway).

  6. Kosher Ham says: February 20, 20116:05 pm

    Why of course: ABC, CBS, NBC (and if you are really lucky an independent.)

  7. Mike says: February 20, 20117:37 pm

    GSL, in a major city maybe but I would think there would be a lot of signal blockage. In the seventies and part of the eighties my father wouldn’t pay for cable, at one house we had a huge antenna with a motor to rotate the antenna but that was a good distance from the city. In another house within a city, I remember having to adjust the rabbit ears to get the stations, just a little variation could change the quality of reception. I would think a moving vehicle would make for lousy reception.

    (I remember when AM radio was king and you would loose the signal going under a bridge.)

  8. Anton says: February 21, 20116:06 am

    Kosher Ham, I thought you had mistakenly left DTN (DuMont Television Network)off your list until I found it telecasted from 1946 to 1956. I remember it was very difficult to keep any of the networks in sync even with the best home receivers of that period. But DuMont had the worst signal of all in Indiana and Ohio.

  9. Kosher Ham says: February 21, 20114:33 pm

    Sorry Dumont was before my time (I was born 1958.)

    Not only was the radio signal part of the TV not the great, but also the sync circuits. Change a channel and the picture would roll. As the tubes got weaker in the sync circuits you would have to adjust the vertical and horizontal sync.

  10. Hirudinea says: February 21, 20114:38 pm

    The ironic thing is we can’t have mobile television today because the new ATSC digital standard can’t do mobile.

  11. John says: February 21, 20119:01 pm

    Hirudinea: Didn’t know that! Now what you’re saying is that if I buy one of the new portable digital TVs and put it in the back seat of the car that the kids can’t watch it? That was so unexpected and never came up during the transition.

  12. Toronto says: February 21, 20119:04 pm

    But we have DVD players in vehicles instead. And your cell phone might be able to stream video too from the net while in motion, too, but it’s doubtful (and watching tv on a phone always reminds me of an old Don Martin cartoon, anyway.)

  13. John says: February 21, 20119:14 pm

    Toronto: Yes, yes, yes the car DVD player thing is common knowledge but this inability to watch a TV on the move just caught me by surprise.

  14. Toronto says: February 21, 20119:51 pm

    Ah. Still, I can’t imagine kids going on a great car trip across the country (yours or mine) and not seeing anything except “Sponge Bob: the Movie” 44 times.

    We used to take *long* trips between postings and otherwise and drove through about 35 US states and across 9 provinces in about 3.5 years. Despite being a voracious reader, I doubt I took my eyes off the window for anything other than checking the map (as I kid I was often navigator.)

  15. Charlene says: February 22, 20111:39 pm

    We didn’t even get TV in my (super-remote) hometown until 1980, and that was mainly tapes flown in from Edmonton.

    I wonder if one of those could be retrofitted onto a dog sled.

  16. Toronto says: February 22, 20112:13 pm

    Charlene: No signal at all? I seem to remember 2 channels in the Greater Grand Prairie Metropolitan Area in ’70 (I think that’s when CTV went on the air.) We did, however, get our daily papers one day late.

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