The Packard-Bell Color TV Line
July 1957 Radio & TV News Article
if you are even old enough to remember the Packard Bell line of desktop
computers that appeared during the PC revolution of the late 1980s,
you probably do not know that before making PCs, Packard Bell made television
sets. Before that they made radios. Herb Bell and Leon Bell formed the
company in 1933, then marketed their first radio model, the 35A. Neither
Packard nor Bell had any direct family ties to the automobile maker
or the telephone company of similar names, respectively. Packard Bell
was sold to Teledyne in 1968, then in 1986, an American businessman
named Beny Alagem
and a group of Israeli investors bought the Packard Bell name from Teledyne.
Because of a failing brand name, Packard Bell left the U.S. altogether
in 2000. If you visit the
Packard Bell homepage
today, you will not find the U.S. or Canada in their list of companies.
I owned at least two Packard Bell computers - an Intel i386 model and
an i486 model - in the late 1980s and early 1990s and don't recall having
problems with them. In fact, my famous
Designer (now RF Workbench) system simulator software was developed
on the Packard Bell computers. Here are some
photos of Packard Bell TV sets.
July 1957 Radio & TV News
of Contents]These articles are scanned and OCRed from old editions of the Radio & Television
News magazine. Here is a list of the
Radio & Television News articles
I have already posted. All copyrights are hereby acknowledged.
See all available
vintage Radio News
The Packard-Bell Color TV Line
By Walter H. Buchbaum
Television Consultant, Radio & TV News
One of the oldest west-coast manufacturers of radios and TV sets, Packard-Bell,
has joined the growing ranks of color-receiver producers with a line
of four cabinet styles, each using the same chassis and 21-inch color
picture tube. While not in the lowest price range, all four models are
competitively priced. The mahogany table model with legs has a list
price of $595 and the blonde oak version lists at $625. Consoles range
from $695 for the mahogany to $725 for the colonial maple finish. Since
Packard-Bell stresses quality cabinet work and produces most of its
own cabinets, the various list prices reflect mainly the difference
in wood crafting and finishing. The sound system of the table models
has a single, side-mounted 6" x 9" oval speaker, while the two console
models use two 6" x 9" speakers mounted side by side on the conventional
front baffle board. Aside from this, all four models are identical in
circuitry, construction, and adjustments.
Three of the four available Packard-Bell cabinet styles are
Four models, all using the same basic deluxe
chassis, feature simplified consumer controls.
Only two dual controls are available for normal manipulation
by the set owner, and these can be seen from the illustrations. At the
upper left is the "on-off," volume, and brightness control, while the
channel selector and fine tuning are at the upper right. Just below
the screen, a hinged subpanel gives access to six more controls which
the customer can adjust if necessary. These are the horizontal and vertical
holds, contrast, tone, and the hue and color gain controls. In the manufacturer's
instructions to the set owner, it is anticipated that, once the controls
under the subpanel are set, they are not likely to require adjustment
for long periods of time. Because of the various automatic control circuits
used in the chassis, some of the color adjustments, such as background,
gray balance, and color balance, may indeed be rarely used.
The full array of conventional color adjustments for installation
and servicing by qualified technicians is available, but the customer
would have to remove the back cover and the sub-panel in order to get
at the secondary controls. Adjustment of all these controls must be
made very carefully and with reference to the manufacturer's instructions.
The service technician will check these settings under all signal conditions
encountered in the particular installation because the various automatic
circuits can only function properly when carefully adjusted. Especially
sensitive are the noise threshold controls, the a.g.c. threshold, automatic
color-gain controls, and the color-killer threshold setting.
The Packard-Bell models 21CT-1
and 21CC-1 both use the same type 98C-1 chassis, which is a single pan
mounted horizontally below the picture tube. About 60% of the circuitry
is in the form of printed wiring, divided into five separate sub-assemblies.
An additional sub-assembly contains the color-demodulator section, and
that is wired in the conventional manner. In these sets, the picture
tube assembly is mounted to the cabinet and not to the chassis. To change
the picture tube, the entire chassis as well as the tuner must be removed
first. The tuner and a bracket containing the "on-off," volume, and
contrast controls are mounted separately in their respective upper corners
of the cabinet and are connected by cables to the main chassis. The
tuner used is a Standard Coil "Neutrode" turret tuner, which features
good noise figure and can be adapted for u.h.f. reception by the insertion
of the proper coil boards. The power supply has a transformer and two
5U4 rectifiers followed by a two-section pi filter. Two separate fuses
protect the "B+." A total of 29 tubes plus the picture tube is used
as compared to 26 or fewer in some sets.
The circuitry and operational
features of the new Packard-Bell color sets are in many respects similar
to other sets previously described in this magazine, but there have
been some significant changes. In general these novel circuits are intended
to insure better performance rather than a saving in cost. Like most
manufacturers, Packard-Bell is more concerned with producing a quality
color set which will require a minimum of servicing rather than bringing
the price down.
for the beginning of the color TV era, Packard-Bell offers a factory
service contract, factory branch installation, and separate servicing
through its own service organization. The initial contract offered to
a color set customer covers delivery, installation to a satisfactory
existing antenna, and 90 days unlimited service. The cost for this is
$39.95 with additional labor and material charges for installing a satisfactory
antenna. After the 90-day period, unlimited service including all parts
is available at the rate of $7.50 per month for the first year and $12.95
per month for the second year. By breaking the service contract up into
monthly installments, the customer is not faced with a relatively heavy
charge in advance and has the right to cancel any time. This seems to
be a desirable feature and may well be duplicated by other service organizations.
Aside from the service contracts offered, each set is covered
by the standard 90-day warranty on parts and 1-year picture-tube replacement
guarantee. Although the manufacturer has established his own service
organization in some communities, he does not restrict customers to
this factory service exclusively, especially in areas where no local
factory branch is available. In line with this, Packard-Bell will provide
service data on its color sets to qualified technicians.
Posted February 6, 2014
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