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I urge every one in HN to give this masterpiece a read - "Made in Japan". It's an autobiography of the founder of Sony himself and there is a section in the book where he talks about the engineering and spirit that went behind these TVs. In fact, he talks a lot about the engineering spirit that made Sony the Apple of its era. If you liked Steve Job's biography, you'll certainly love this.[1]


[1] https://www.amazon.com/Made-Japan-Akio-Morita-Sony/dp/045115...


This isn't related to TVs, but I have a couple pieces of old Sony HiFi equipment from the very early 1970's and I'm always amazed by the quality and attention to detail Sony had back then. I feel like it's back when Sony had something to prove. This may have been the case for most consumer electronics manufacturers back then though.

One is a TA-1130 amplifier, and the other is a reel-to-reel tape player (I forget the model). The most amazing to me is that the reel-to-reel still works fine after nearly 50 years, considering all the moving parts.

The record player in my dad's mid-80s Sony hifi recently stopped working.

He called the local Sony store to buy a spare part and the assistant was born after the part ceased production.

Begrudgingly he had to replace the record player.

Every (remaining) part of that old Sony is beautiful, unmistakably 80s but so well designed and finished it's still a joy to use; plus it sounds great.

> the assistant was born after the part ceased production

I can't help but wonder if there's some correlation there. Perhaps the assistant's father was so dismayed at the part's cessation that the only comfort he could attain was in the arms of his wife.

Did you mean causation and not correlation here?

I did, thank you, although causation implies correlation as well.

Sometimes you can buy brand new "old stock" of Sony equipment like that on Ebay.

I think I saw boxed Trinitron tubes for sale there the other day.

Sony was so legendary in terms of their CRT.

There is a saying in Vietnam that goes "Sharp/Fine like a Sony," when someone talks about an act, a product, or a person so fine. That's in the context of a culture that does not (as) often associate products with brands (for example, they say photocopy instead of xerox, clasp locker instead of zipper, permanent marker instead of sharpie,...)

Yes, this is an excellent book. I like how it gets boring towards the end as the discussion turns to USA-Japan import/export issues and other less inspiring subjects. As the book slips into being boring it coincides with the decline of Sony so it's symbolic. But it's only perhaps the final third that is boring. Otherwise, it's a great read that rarely gets mentioned online.

You might also want to watch Frontline: Coming From Japan [The Fall Of The US Television Industry] (1992) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aesJTsZqm6c

and read: https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/opinions/1990/09/30/j...

to understand what happened in home electronics, especially TV sector. It was an economical revenge for WW2.

for me sony is not the apple of its era but much more. It is simply spoken the greatest electronics company that ever existed and their peak was the AIBO

No love for the PS2 which was the champion of its era?

By the time the PS3 rolled around Sony was getting a little too full of itself, lacking the competitive fire that made products like the Walkman and the Trinitron screen. It was a good console, but not one that redefined what a console was.

> No love for the PS2 which was the champion of its era?

Champion perhaps in terms of sales, but the Dreamcast felt like the more forward thinking console of that generation.

It introduced the console industry to online gaming, downloadable content (it was free on the DC though), the idea of games being able to write portable mini games. Ok, that was badly executed but the VMU still had other cool quirks which was new for its era, like an LCD screen showing in game graphics.

The PlayStation 2, as nice as it was, was really just a hardware upgrade rather than a paradigm shift

The Dreamcast ran a version of Windows CE. It's kind of a recurring pattern - you partner with Microsoft, they learn from you, help you design just the perfect API for your use case, then they launch either a competitor or something that allows their licensees to compete against you.

At the time we called it a bacon and eggs partnership where they are the chicken and you are the pig.

The Windows CE APIs were an optional interface rather than its primary OS. But most developers chose to use Sega's APIs rather than CE.

Wasn't DirectX developed at more or less this time?

DirectX had already been out quite a few years by that point. I think I was writing PC games in DirectX 6 or 7 (I forget which) around the time the Dreamcast was released, so it was already quite a few versions along.

That all said, I don't recall DirectX being hugely popular - or at least for games development - until around that era or not that long before. So it might have felt like it was pretty new back then. Particularly with how some of the new releases being quite a fundamental change from their previous releases (I seem to recall one version of DirectX (possibly 7?) dropped the previous version of Dx's DirectDraw APIs in favour of promoting Direct3D for all 2D rendering).

Every PlayStation after the first is just a middle-of-the-road play it safe machine imo.

The first was truly groundbreaking in many ways (though some might say that was in part due to Sony was originally developing it with a games company).

After that later generations have mostly just gone with “make it faster” style evolution and taking the best parts of the previous generations competitors.

No drive to evolve like we’ve seen from Nintendo (Wii, Switch) or MS (Kinect, XBL, or even their games sharing ideas that got them pilloried).

I had a Dreamcast at the time too and while it felt kind of fresh and new, it also felt like it was going on the Neo Geo trajectory: Really cool but something that will never be fully appreciated until after it fails.

The PS2 was better in that it not only became popular, but it had a huge wealth of titles for it. The true gems for a console come out usually near the end of the life-cycle when everyone's pushing the hardware to the limit. Sadly the Dreamcast never got that far.

Another thing that happened in that time was the infighting between the media production branches and the electronics branch.

Apparently you never experienced the aberration that was their earlier generations. Sony had decided in their infinite wisdom to make their laser lenses out of acrylic instead of glass, causing them to discolor and fail.

I've never been as frustrated with a console as I have reading "disc read error" dozens of times a day.

I never had any problems with the PS2 like that, the thing worked like a champion. I did get "red ringed" on the 360, though.

At least lens replacement is a simple thing, not like changing the solder.

Sorry to be a grouch, but I had an AIBO (2nd gen) and the thing was overall corny and very limited, even at the time. Lightyears away from inducing any suspension of disbelief.

(It's that robotic dog, for anyone wondering)

>the greatest electronics company that ever existed

That must be Philips. Google "Philips natlab".

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