Oldest TV in the land still going strong

RICHARD Howard has got the country's oldest digital television - it's a stunning 51 YEARS old.Mr Howard, 59, was a schoolboy when his dad bought the family's first TV for £113 in 1957.

RICHARD Howard has got the country's oldest digital television - it's a stunning 51 YEARS old.

Mr Howard, 59, was a schoolboy when his dad bought the family's first TV for £113 in 1957.

And more than half a century and a few repairs and modern tweaks later, the old post-war screen is now hooked up to a Freeview box and DVD player.

Richard, of Norwich, said: “Other people have got to have the most up-to-date things, whereas we have been stick-in-the-muds about keeping things.


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"But to have something like this, working for 51 years, is certainly something.”

Mr Howard, who still lives in the family home built by his grandfather in the 1920s, said his dad bought the mahogany-encased 17” black and white set from a shop in Norwich's Exchange Street.

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The set arrived just in time to see the Queen's first televised speech that Christmas - the same year as the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1 and as the Suez crisis was still raging.

Richard said: “I came home from school one day and this thing was working and it had a profound effect on me as a child.

“I used to watch the news and saw things like Winston Churchill's funeral, the moon landing and President John F Kennedy's assassination on that screen.”

The family bought a second television to watch BBC2, launched in 1964 and on a higher resolution, but Mr Howard kept hold of the antique set in his dining room.

The ancient TV appeared to have finally given up the ghost last September, after he turned it on to check if it was still working.

That was until he heard Robert Howard, of Sprowston's Vintage TV and Wireless Company, talking on local radio about restoring old televisions.

Richard said: “I sought him out and he was very nonchalant about it all. He simply said there was every chance of getting it to work."

The television was installed with a converter allowing today's pictures to be shown on the set's lower resolution screen, as well as new capacitors and wiring to stop it from burning out in future.

Two days and £200 later, the television was back in his home and as good as it ever was in all its 1957 glory.

The work means the vintage screen can show DVDs and digital channels ahead of the switchover from analogue to digital transmission, which is due to hit Norfolk in 2011.

Digital UK, the organisation leading the change from analogue to digital, believe the set is the oldest ever to be converted to digital.

Richard said: “It is amazing - it looks and watches like it always did.

"It takes a few minutes to warm up when I switch it on but the sound is fantastic.”

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