Sony Watchman in Popular Science Magazine.
While the 1960s and 1970s saw a number of smaller and more portable television sets hit the marketplace1), it was not until 1982 that people were able to hold and watch TV in the palms of their hands. The Sony Watchman™, powered by a mere set of four AA batteries, weighed just shy of one pound and seven ounces. Its two-inch beveled glass screen was, by all accounts, the very first flat screen television2).
Featured in the November 1982 issue of Popular Science magazine,3 the Watchman, as the article depicted, stood out among its “Go-Anywhere TV” competitors. With a sleek aluminum casing and compact design at only one and a quarter inches thick, it fit easily into its owners’ pockets.
In addition to the black and white LCD screen, the Watchman’s front face included a narrow yet elongated speaker. The upper right corner housed the channel dial with its corresponding tuner display directly to the right of the screen. The back of the device featured a fold-out stand that allowed it to rest atop a horizontal surface like a desk or nightstand. The television’s power button, located on the upper right-hand side, included a setting for sound in order to help conserve battery life if the device was not plugged in.
Other “small” TVs would love to have a body like that, but their picture tubes are just too chubby.
On the other hand, Sony’s new flat display picture tube is as flat as a pancake (literally), making Watchman extremely easy to hold when you’re watching it. And extremely easy to slip into your pocket when you’re not.
Watch what you want, whenever you want to watch it, because Watchman is the first really personal TV.
Netflix became a household name beginning in 1997 when it launched its DVD rental mail-in service.31 As the company grew and technology matured, Netflix began to turn some of its attention online by kicking off a rollout of “instant viewing” for a subset of its video content library beginning in 20073).