May 1949 Radio & TV News
[Table of Contents]
Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early
electronics. See articles from
Radio & Television News, published 1919-1959. All copyrights hereby
According to a tally crafted by Radio & Television News magazine in 1949, the total number of television sets sold in the United States in 1947 and 1948 was 964,206. There were approximately 146 million people at the time per the U.S. Census. If there was an average of 4 people per household, that works out to around one television set for every 36 houses. Some households already had TV sets during that time, but far fewer than half owned a television. Nobody owned a color TV then because no commercial broadcaster used a color camera. Color was still a future feature being hyped in Mechanix Illustrated and Scientific American, like flying cars and personal computers. Today, of course, everybody that wants a television has a television... or two... or three. Effectively, every smartphone and computer is a TV (via Internet, not direct OTA transmissions) as well. In 1949, almost all TVs were owned by people who paid for them themselves. Today, many sets are bought by people who have been subsidized by fellow citizens forced to help pay for them via tax policies.
Television Set Shipments by Areas
Editor's Note: The figures herein are presented through the courtesy of the Radio Manufacturers' Association (RMA). In view of the fact that not all television set manufacturers are members of RMA, add approximately 10 per-cent to all of the figures above. Admiral Radio Corporation for one, and all kit manufacturers, do not belong to RMA, and their production of sets accounts for at least 10 per-cent additional.
Posted June 7, 2016