In Living Color: The Dawn of Color TV

After years of high hopes and disappointments, color television started to take off in 1963. Picture quality had improved, and big sales were expected for the year.

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—From “Color Catches Fire” by Sandford Brown, from the August 10, 1963, issue of The Saturday Evening Post

Gone are the green halos above the performers’ heads, the strange pinks and purples of color TV’s infancy. The reliability of color sets has been considerably improved, and maintenance costs have been cut down.

The industry expects to sell 500,000 to 750,000 color sets this year against 400,000 last year, and all customers will have more to watch. NBC will broadcast more than 2,000 hours of “prime” color time in 1963, twice as much as three years ago.

Conspicuous by its absence is the Columbia Broadcasting System, which has been cutting back color programming since 1956. CBS’s reasons point up the big obstacle that color TV has yet to pass. While selling sets may be profitable, color broadcasting isn’t. Costs run as much as 20 percent over black and white because of the extra expense for costumes, scenery, technicians, and film.


Read “Color Catches Fire” from the August 10, 1963 issue of The Saturday Evening Post


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  1. Color TV (almost) nearing the time of going mainstream across the board, but not quite yet, fortunately.


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