While the Internet is the future of the news industry and a by product of the consumer electronics industry it is crawling along for acceptance like the consumer electronics industry in its early days.


I am old enough to remember when for all practical purposes there was no real such thing as a consumer electronics industry.


It is the business of creating, designing, producing, and selling devices such as radios, televisions, stereos, computers, digital camera, semiconductors, transistors, and integrated circuits


Sales of electronic products in the United States have grown from some $200 million in 1927 to over 173 Billion in 2009


The industry traces its origins to the invention of the two-element electron tube by John Ambrose Flemming in 1904, and the three-element tube by Lee De Forest 1906.These are two men well known in the industry as the pioneers of the industry but seldom given much mention in modern history books.


When I was child I remember my father and my brother and I setting down in front of out RCA Victor  radio and listening to a young Red Skelton with Ozzie and Harriet on his show or Jack Benny with Dennis Day and even Jack Webb and Howard Duff doing Sam Spade.


At this time I thought for myself this was as great as it was going to be.


Then in 1948 my father surprised everyone in my family including my mother and brought home a television set with a screen that looked more like it was a bottom of a fish bowl then what you would think of as a television set today.

We got Howdy Doody and the Mr. TV himself Milton Berle plus that miracle of miracles that my brother and I could stare out for hours at a time the test pattern. My sister when she would be born seven years later never even got to see a test pattern so when my parents would tell her what we would do for hours she would do that sister thing and say we were just trying to have fun with her.


Her personal favorite on TV was the Mickey Mouse club and Winky Dink of which she got very unhappy when they were replaced for a week for the national conventions. Seems so long ago that the networks did gavel to gavel coverage.


We thought the 13 inch television that my father had bought was as good as it could get then my father found out the Cisco Kid was being shown in color and that Laramie and Bonanza were going to be shown in color and much to my mothers dismay he went out and purchased a very huge Zenith Color TV of which as far as we could tell the color looked no different then the RCA we had been looking at in the window of the store across the street from Mel's in Los Angeles. They constantly told everyone in their ads that there was a difference.


It now was a time when transistor radios were coming into their own and like all high school students I had a clunker that was to big, sort of reminds of those boom boxes kids carry today.


In shop classes it seemed that everyone had a radio that we listened too the world series on. Today I have a radio on my cell phone that fits in my pocket but then you carried your radio by its strap and as far as being portable it was as portable as far as the plug in would allow it to be.


Batteries would soon to come and we would eat thru them so much parents would get very miffed at us at their weekly cost. Today we have batteries that last for hundreds of hours and batteries that can be recharged, never then would we have thought that this would ever come about.


I remember in 1960 when I bought my first color TV and it had VHF on it and no UHF because I was living in a area that did not as yet have a UHF station and the only sets that were sold therefore where VHF. This was to change soon and converters had to be purchased so you could see UHF which had came to the area. (Buying converter boxes like many are going to be doing to get the HI-Def is nothing new if your old enough to remember.)


When I went to college I got my first car with a stereo in it and my first real portable TV.


It just seems with every birthday now there was something new coming in consumer electronics of which no one really called them. We still called all copy machines Zerox because it was a name we knew. Made in Japan was also thought of a a joke at this time and China, who would buy something from China.


I then got into the broadcasting at a time when the NAB was the governing body and they were drawing the line about movie studio's getting heavy into television production to move their product.


For personal use at home we had very short  8 mm films turned out by studios to watch on very shabby electronic players. Never did we think that soon that such a thing as a VHS player would be available to watch full length movies on. For many they don't remember that the actor Jerry Lewis made a contribution in this field because he used tape machines to record what he was doing and helped to develop a better freeze frame for his personal use that eventually would turn into instant repays that we all hate to see if it goes against us.


It seems that every time in my life that I though that the Consumer Electronics industry has gone as far as it can go they come up with something new. Look no further then DVD's the flat screen TV, Hi-def, and now Blu-ray and 3D sets


Today we are in the 21st century and in my life I have seen the crystal radio, the console radio the transistor radio, the record player, the tape recorder the CD player and soon the Sandisk player, B&W television and color television and now hi-def. The box camera, the 16 mm camera, the SLR, the 8mm, the video camera, the digital video and now the hi-def digital camera in 3D.


Computers, I have five and do everything from email, whom would have thought that more emails would be sent out in a day worldwide then the post office delivers mail in a year. I use them to edit material both written, audio and Video.

My first computer had a 48 K memory, today my cell phone has a 1 gigabyte chip in it.


I have worked with computers the size of a house that had less total memory to work with then I have ram in my new laptop.


I have seen the automobile with no radio go to cars with stereo systems that many homes would be proud to have in them, cars with DVD players and GPS systems in them.


I have been there from Black and white television to color to cable television and Satellite television and now Internet television.


I have actually been involved with 3D since 1952. First infront of the camera in some really bad movies and now still infront but also behind the camera on a daily basis. Nearly 60 years ago would anyone thought 3D on a daily basis. Still pain in the rear to work with but I do work in it.


The same problems that plagued it then still do today but it looks like a effort if finally being made to mainstream it.

At my age I have become a member of this emerging new media that depends solely on the consumer electronic industry to create the equipment and the technology needed to advance the Internet.


The Internet has much in common to what is the consumer electronics industry is today.


No one gave either much of a chance to survive and yet both have grown beyond belief and continue to grow despite the slow down in the economy.


They are both the children of other industries and neither was expected to become what they have become and today few can exist without either.


The Internet is the true child of the consumer electronics industry for with out it the Internet would not exist.

The future of the consumer electronic industry is still in front of us and I hope that I will be around long enough in my role as a news director on the Internet to continue to see it and report on it.


William Oldecam Hoehne



© 2011 MBN

The future of the consumer electronics industry is still in front of us

Written by a senior citizen that has seen it all from the crystal radio to blu-ray to 3D