The future of TV repair - from 1973


This was a US magazine advert in 1973 - and suggested that a bright future existed in the “home entertainment electronics” industry. But how did it really pan out? Back then, TV repair was still a job - but those jobs disapeared as TVs become more reliable (a good reason), and became cheaper & hence disposable (a bad reason). Eventually even the manufacturing jobs went overseas…

Photo from the Vault of the Atomic Space Age


There are still people who make a living repair appliances! Our interview with Steve the Spindoctor is really revealing about how lean and smart these businesses have to be, and what challenges they face into the future.

Moreover, there are examples of disruptive small businesses that help people fix their stuff.

Some favourites are for

GHD Hair irons (Repair service, parts and guides)

Televisions (small business in Derbyshire that repairs TVs and provides TV-saving spare parts)

Lastly, what you would you make of the suggestion that Rico Cerva represents the future of mobile repair (which will inevitably go the way of television repair, when we move on to the next mobile communication device)


Its good to see there is some kind of TV (and other appliance) spares/repair industry still viable (if only just). :wink:

In the 60s and 70s (when I was growing up in suburban Manchester) TV repair vans were a common sight. Many people rented their televisions back then, and the cost of repair was covered in the rental cost. I noticed that people who bought TVs would often put up with appalling picture quality - as once their set was out of warranty, repair call-outs were expensive - and (bizarrely) most people were even scared to touch the picture adjustment controls that were available to them.

Interestingly, in the 1980s Comet Stores made all their TV warranty repair staff redundant. I guess by then it was deemed cheaper to replace a faulty set than employ staff to fix them. As sets were becoming more reliable, the repair/replace economics favoured replacement. And, let’s face it, many people preferred it that way. If a set broke down during its warranty period, many owners would see it as a bad omen for reliability post warranty - so would want to get rid of the thing at the earliest opportunity. I can remember a lot of stories on consumer-rights TV shows (such as “That’s Life!”) where companies would be slated for insisting on repairing faulty appliances rather than replacing them. Complaints about these practices even resulted in changes to consumer law. Of course, it wasn’t seen as an environmental issue back then…


On the topic of repairing TVs, I’ve just come across a beautifully-shot video about Chi-Tien Lui, a Chinese electrical engineer who opened a shop in New York in 1969. He now mostly focuses on repairing old TVs for art installations in US museums.

(For more about him, there’s a feature from 2016 on the NY Times

I’d love to see a series of video portraits about repair heroes, giving further impetus to Right to Repair.


well i must be old i have been repairing tv since 1960 and still dobut modern tv with screen problems are a cost problem and a lot of manufactors will onle suply panals and not spercific conponants but most of the tr ic are redely available but u have no chance with 500 pin cpu with a blow torch