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Whatever happened to Trinitron?

TIME magazine has just unveiled its list of the Top 50 ‘Most Influential Gadgets’ of all time, and Sony’s venerable Trinitron television sets come out as No 2 in the list.  Apple’s iPhone is No. 1.

But the high position of Sony’s much-loved Trinitron range does make one wonder why they abandoned the name and adopted the current Bravia branding for its high-end displays. Readers might remember that Sony used the Trinitron brand for its Cathode Ray Tube models, and announced in 1968 to wide-acclaim for the set’s bright images (generally accepted to be about 25 per cent brighter than its rivals).

The picture quality, plus a strong reputation for reliability, allowed Sony to achieve premium pricing for the Trinitron range. Patents which covered the design and inherent technology expired in 1996, and while Sony introduced a range of flat-screen displays with the Trinitron range in the early 2000s these were quickly left behind by the introduction of Plasma and LCD displays.  The Trinitron brand disappeared from Sony’s line-up in 2008, although Sony-manufactured high-end video monitors still carry the Trinitron label.

The ‘BRAVIA’ branding (for “Best Resolution Audio Visual Integrated Architecture”) was introduced in 2005, replacing the somewhat anonymous WEGA branding used as an interim following the death of Trinitron.

As to the other TIME-rated products, Apple’s Macintosh is at No 3, Sony’s wonderful Walkman is at No 4, the IBM 5150 computer is at No 5, the Victrola Record Player at No 6, the Regency TR-1 transistor radio at No 7, the Kodak Brownie camera is No 7, Apple’s iPod is No 9, and – somewhat controversially – Hitachi’s ‘Magic Wand’ “Electric Neck Massager” is at No 10.

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