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Remember when TVs weighed 200 pounds? A look back at TV trends over the years

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Ethelyn Brye is an award-winning author and blogger. Growing up in Switzerland and influenced by renowned Swiss design and a lot of fresh mountain air, she attended and completed design studies in Geneva. Post graduation she moved to Washington State to work for a design firm, but her love of writing brought her to Cyanosaur. She's highly interested in strategy rpgs, mountain climbing, board games with friends and skiing. She lives in Seattle, Washington, with her lovely cat Armstrong.

The author sizes up an 85-inch TV. Sarah Tew/CNET This story is part of CNET at 25, celebrating a quarter century of industry tech and our role in telling you its story. If you could point to one tech trend over the last 25 years, it’s that gadgets are getting smaller. Phones, computers, watches — all pack more power into more compact packages than ever. A quarter century ago a phone was the size of a brick and did nothing but make calls. A PC was a box on a desk with a fat monitor. A watch was pretty much the same size but just told time: It couldn’t begin to imagine all the functions we see in today’s smartwatches. TVs took a different path. They got smarter too, but with the advent of flat-panel LCD, plasma and OLED technology they’ve also grown. A lot. Two decades ago a 32-inch TV was massive and ridiculously heavy — typically more than 100 pounds and bulky enough to require its own piece of furniture. Today that same screen size is considered too small for many bedrooms and you can get an inconceivably gigantic 75-inch screen for less than $1,000.  “Screen sizes keep getting bigger and that has proven to drive interest and demand,” said Steven Baker, VP of industry analysis at NPD group. “The No. 1 reason people buy a new TV is for the screen size and I don’t expect that to change.” Now playing: Watch this: Watch me set up a TV review lab in my basement 6:17 Totally tubeless today Sony’s 34-inch tube TV was a 200-pound beast. Crutchfield I’ve been CNET’s TV reviewer since 2002, and spent years reviewing TVs for other publications before that, so I’ve seen a lot of that change in person. I remember getting in a 34-inch widescreen Sony cathode ray tube TV for review (one of the last of its kind and a superb performer) and struggling with a colleague to lift it onto a stand for evaluation. The thing weighed nearly 200 pounds. Today I routinely lift 65-inch LCD and OLED models out of their boxes and onto stands by myself — especially now that I’m working from home due to the coronavirus pandemic and my coworkers aren’t around to help. I asked Baker for some stats on how TVs have changed along two basic metrics: price and screen size. His earliest numbers were from 2004. That’s two years after I started at CNET and a time when most TVs were still CRTs and rear-projection models — just 7% of TVs sold that year were flat-panel. Today every TV sold is a flat-panel TV. TV size and price averages over 15 years Screen size Selling price $/sq. inch 2004 25.4 $552 $2.15 2019 47 $336 $0.39 Even though I’ve been reviewing TVs for that entire 15-year stretch, it’s still amazing to me how stark those numbers are. The most impressive is the last one: Calculating from that average size and price, a square inch
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Hands-on with the Hyper GaN Stackable USB-C charger [Video]

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