Big 20: TV
Twenty years ago, you could watch several broadcast television networks for free. You could wait for your favorite shows or program your VCR to record it on VHS. You could pay to watch hundreds of cable channels and for some reason still see commercials. Fifteen years ago you could set your DVR to record broadcast and cable shows, watch them on demand or on DVD. Eight years ago the traditional broadcast stations stopped transmitting analog signals. Old TVs went silent. Free TV was dead.
Now there are lots of ways to watch TV shows, but you have to pay for all of them. Want to see a broadcast TV show? Gotta have cable. Want a watch a show online? Gotta have a cable wi-fi connection or pay a phone company. Even when you watch online, there are still commercials. This does not seem like progress.
As for television sets themselves, there has been some progress. As traditional TVs got larger, their cathode ray tubes grew to huge, almost aquarium size boxes. A 36 inch diagonal TV could be 36 inches deep. Such boxes created the need for even larger boxes to contain them, called entertainment centers. By 2000, 19 inch LCD computer screens were being used to watch TV. By 2010, it was not unusual to see a 56 inch diagonal high definition flat screen TV in a living room.
So basically people can watch whatever they want, whenever they want, but they have to pay more for it.
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