A TV to Talk About

You probably know what a solid state console TV is, but the younger people in your life might not.

I happened to be around one over the holiday, watching a football game on a 20-some-inch screen. My sister-in-law Tracey still has an RCA XL-100, the kind of TV that is really a piece of furniture in itself. She has to turn a dial to change the channel and has done so with this set since about 1993.

If you visit the RCA Web site and search for "RCA XL-100," you will find that those terms do not match any documents. Try LCD or HDTV instead.

Tracey's TV comes from the former Radio Corporation of America at a time when other exciting innovations were just beginning. I'm guessing the set was sold new during the 1970s.

Surrounded by today's electronics – two in our party were showing off the apps of their new iPhones – the substantial console TV seems out of place. In fact, someone asked our hostess why she still had it. Nonplussed, Tracey said, "It still works."


This television lacks Digital Age features, but the picture and sound are clear. Kudos to RCA for building a box that can do the job for more than 30 years. I shout "Hurray!" for Tracey for standing her ground, not caving in to buy the latest tempting innovation. Even if the motivation is sticking to a well-planned budget, Tracey's action reinforces my belief in conservation as a valuable environmental tool. She bought used; she didn't upgrade for 17 years … and counting; and she hasn't sent any TV e-waste to the landfill during that time. Admirable.

Anyone else still listening to LPs or 8-track tapes?

If you are ready to dump your old TV, you may want to check out 1-800-Recycling.com, which currently features an article urging consumers to rethink the process of selecting and purchasing a new television set.

Advice from the Consumer Electronics Association includes:

  • Most major CE manufacturers and many retailers have reliable, nationwide recycling programs. Best Buy’s Take Back program accepts all electronics, regardless of point-of-purchase. Also, many cities and towns have instituted community electronics recycling programs and events. Check out www.myGreenElectronics.org or the EPA’s Web site Plug-In to eCycling for a complete list of programs near your home.

  • There are several recognized certification programs for e-waste recyclers that are willing to use safe, market-driven recycling methods that respond to the needs of consumers, manufacturers and retailers, including the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries and the Industry Council for Electronic Equipment Recycling. It is also important for consumers to ask recyclers the process they use to minimize impacts to the environment and community, and to check for certifications on recyclers’ Web sites before engaging with them.

Posted by L.K. Williams, EPonline on Jan 05, 2010

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