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Everyone must have had the 'Sony Walkaman II' which incidentally was referred to as the 'Soundabout' in many other countries.  I remember going down the high street with this with the battery back strapped around my waist.  I guess I could have been mistaken for a 'suicide bomber' if I were to wear one today!



Then I had the Panasonic 'RX-S28'.  I was very fond of this.  I bought it in New Jersey while on holiday and remember listening to Billy Joel singing 'You're Only Human'.  I also liked the quick 'Auto Reverse' function.  It was sure a 'meaty' looking piece of hardware though.


Then I had the Toshiba 'KT-4056'.  Having a graphical equaliser was vital as it corrected many poor quality recordings that I usually made back in those days.  It's wonderful now to think that any song you wanted can be found and downloaded with little ease, but back in the day you had to first get hold of that particular track, then record it manually and then leave a little space after it so as to record the next song.



My brother had the Aiwa 'CA-W20' and I remember watching him presetting all his favourite radio stations onto it.  His TV was being repaired so all evening I remember him listening to the radio.





Then I had the Thomas 'CR-11'Jukebox.  This was a handsome novelty radio/cassette player which lit up at night and had concealed controls on the display.



The Sharp 'GF-1760' was a Christmas gift for me and was my first radio.  I remember sticking shiny red tape all onto the buttons.  The tuning knob had a finger grove to make it easy to turn. 



My brother had the Sharp 'GF-6060' and I remember he had cut a dust cover out of a foam sheet and had it over the top.  I begged him to do one for me, which he later did!





I was the first at home to have not one, but TWO CD players in my new stereo.  This was my favourite stereo to date. The Toshiba 'SA-V10' had  'soft touch' controls.  The LED had a green light and the record player slowly opened from within its housing.  The cassette deck was 'PC-V10', record player was the 'SR-V10' and twin-CD player was the 'XR-V22'.



My mother had the Grundig Professional 'RR-640'.  I was not particularly impressed with this although the controls were softer than those on the 'Sharp' models. 



  The Philips 'D 8734'.  My brother was very proud when Roger Moore was seen handling this in 'A View To A Kill'.  This was an awesome stereo that featured 'high-speed dubbing' . 




I later inherited the Hitachi 'TRK-9050' which was very cool indeed.  I used to detach the speakers and leave the control 'cube' separate.  I remember there was a compartment behind the speakers that had the speaker wire connection lead in.



My brother-in-law had the JVC 'RC-838' and I remember thinking that it was a serious looking boom box.  The solid 'volume' control was very manly indeed.



I was very lucky to stumble across a 'Dixons' catalogue on the web and managed to find the stereo that my sister advised me to get over the one that I was after.  She was of course right as the one she recommended had a TV.  Anyway the one above was the model I chose.  I wish I could get hold of a better image of it but it wasn't far from the more advance model above.   




This was the Ferguson 8922 and I remember seeing these at school.  They were heavy pieces of hardware with chunky buttons and a noisy 'rewind' and 'eject' performance.



The Sony Betamax C5 was our first venture in the world of video and we started off with this.  I remember the first video I ever saw was  'The Rise and Fall of Idi Amin'.  This had a remote control that was connected to the player.  This is somewhat strange now but in those days, you didn't have to 'aim' the remote for it to work, it just did!



We then got the upgraded Sony C7 with the cordless remote that had a clear plastic casing over the 'record' button that prevented it being pressed accidentally.  Not too sure what the difference was as they both look the same.




Then both my brother and brother-in-law had the Sony C9 which had a 'frame by frame' picture search.  This was as close to the DVD picture search we have today.  This was a considerable improvement over the earlier two.



This was my first VHS, the Ferguson Videostar '3V65' and I remembered going to a 'Thorn' Radio Rentals place and seeing it on display with a remote control (which I didn't have).  Needless to say I stole it and was very happy to then be able to control the VHS from my bed!  




I later started renting my VHS recorder and remember this particular one - the Panasonic NV-L25 - as it had a unique bar code scanner system for recording programmes in advance.  You would scan the desired programme by using the remote control with the programming sheet supplied.  You would then press the 'transmit' button and all the details would be sent to the VHS.  No more need to  crouch down in front of the VHS to set the timer for  'Coronation Street' anymore.  Brilliant!


This was my brother's Saisho VHS.  Can't remember much about it other than he got it as a Christmas present and that it had the usual 2 week timer.  




I was immediately hooked when I first got introduced to the new DVD format.  No longer would I have to worry about the wear and tear of analogue film anymore and soon I had replaced my VHS collection and updated my TV.  I could not yet afford a DVD player and was regularly hiring the Toshiba SD-3107 model from 'Blockbuster Video'.  

After that glorious day when my eyes were opened to the future (thanks Bugs Bunny for 'Space Jam'), I was hooked to the new DVD format and set out to replace my whole VHS library to DVD.  I didn't just want to buy one here and a few there no, that's how I built up my VHS collection and I was in a hurry.  Why?  I don't know, I just was!

I was always on the 'DVD Express' website and picking and choosing my first 'consignment' from the US.  Oh yes, I was serious!  My first order was for 40-50 films.  The whole 'buying' process was a lot complicated than simply buying a DVD today from 'Amazon'.  This involved having to fax my order and payment to the company at a sweet shop. 

Anyway before I bought all these DVD's, I was regularly renting DVDs films and a DVD player from Blockbusters -  and that was fine.  I then bought 'The Quick and the Dead' and played it on the machine on my regular TV.  I stared disbelievingly at the TV as the film began to play in 'full screen'.  Had 'Virgin Megastore' sold me a 'full screen' film and not a 'widescreen' film?  I was a WS convert and would spit at anyone who handed me a FS format. 


I was already clued on the FS/WS debate as I used to only buy WS VHS films.  I had all the 'Star Wars' and 'Die Hard' and 'Alien' films on WS.  I had the Indy films, some Connery 'Bond' films as well. 

I can recall waiting to watch my VHS WS films on my WS TV - but being totally dismayed when I got to watch them on a 'bigger' screen only to realise that the picture quality was poorer.  You see, if I watched the film on a regular  TV the image being smaller was 'sharper' than when it was shown an a 'bigger' screen as the image was 'stretched' and looked pixelated.   This was why DVD was better!

Anyway I checked the DVD case to see whether the film was WS - oh yes, I should point out there were three different cases that you could get on DVD.


The KEEP case, the CLIP case and the JEWEL case.  The KEEP case is waht we have today and in the old days usually you had an insert inside.  The CLIP case was a cardboard casing.  These are still around and were OK.  The JEWEL case was like a CD case you get nowadays and these I hated.  They didn't last long. 

The case for 'The Quick and the Dead' showed that the film was indeed WS, but it wasn't showing in WS.  What was wrong?  The TV was wrong!  Well, to be honest the DVD player needed to be switched over to the 'Pan and Scan' setting but I didn't know that then!


28-inch Toshiba (widescreen) TV

 So now I have to buy a WS TV and my first was a 28-inch Toshiba. I do remember letting out a sigh of relief at 'Dixons' when I tested the DVD on their equipment before handing over the 'readies', and remember getting them to give me three DVD titles too - one of which was 'Crimson Tide'.

So I've got the TV and DVDs have arrived, but what DVD player do I choose?   

I was regularly buying up masses of DVD magazines to find out the new releases, or whether to buy the Region 1 or Region 2 version of a film, or what 'extras' were going to be on a DVD.  I was disheartened that the majority of DVDs to buy were from the US as their catalogue was huge.  This meant that I has to wait for the film to be delivered - I couldn't just go out and buy a DVD there and then!
      The last VHS that I remember buying was The Spaghetti Western and I remember asking 'Our Price' whether they had the films on DVD. 
I also remember buying my first DVD, 'The Negotiator' in the UK and then returning because its American equivalent housed tons of 'extras'



I decided that my first DVD player was to be the Denon  DVD 3000.  I bought this from a store up in East Finchley.  I remember that by the time I had it, I already had over 40 DVDs.  The first one that I played on it was 'Cobra' and was mortified when the picture was in black and white.  I soon realised that I did not require the S-Video lead and instead used the cheaper scart lead - phew, my world made sense again.

One thing I hated though was that whenever I wanted to change the Region, I had to change the appropriate code and then turn the player OFF and then back ON.  Nowadays you'd laugh at having to do that. 



That was a major drawback for me, this whole 'Region Coding' thing.  I was aware that UK and other parts of the world had PAL and the US had NTSC but now the world was split up into six areas.  Also the better DVDs were on US Region 1 and so I had to ensure that I bought mine through the Internet. 

The other issue was the 'flipper' disc which meant that like the Laser Disc, you had to get off the sofa, go to the DVD player and turn the disc over.  This problem no longer happens but you had to make sure you knew what you were doing when buying DVDs.



The next DVD player was the Sony RDR-HXD860 which was my first introduction to recording onto HDD.  I wanted to transfer VHS recordings onto DVD and also record TV to DVD too.  This was the perfect choice as it was 160 GB HDD.  When I first got it I remember studying the manual as if I was taking an exam. 

I had updated my equipment too - I can remember going into Sony Centre and seeing that it was possible to connect your PC to your TV and use it as a monitor.  All I needed was to buying more RAM and a new video card for the PC, a new TV, a couple of HDMI leads (one of which was 5 metres), a remote control for the computer and an extension USB lead for using a keyboard in front of the TV - that's all!!!



My dad had this TV and it had the wonderful 'Teletext' feature.  Back when you didn't have a Smart phone or a PC to get onto the Internet with, if you wanted up to the minute information, you got it on either CEEFAX or ORACLE.

I also remembered that the remote control was huge and to control it, you had to use BOTH hands.  




We used to have Telewest Communications supply our Cable TV and below is a link to some of the indents and adverts I can remember.


Television Ads










My first phone was something like the Ericsson SH-888 which I got in the late Nineties.  I think I got a new model after the aerial broke. 




So I changed the phone for the Ericsson PF-768 which had a flip but was not automatic.  This was lost on a bus and I got the next model. 



The Ericsson T-28.  This was my favourite for a long time and bought one for my girlfriend - who has since become my wife.  This was lightweight and easy to open as it has an automatic release clip.  The games were made for the phone itself and you had to tilt it to play 'Tetris'. 



As with everything, you get bored and you want the next toy.  This was the Samsung E-100.  This was a departure from the Ericsson models obtained earlier and I think I wanted a phone that had lots of tunes and themes. 

I liked this one as the phone acted as a clock when closed.  I used to hold it and pretend that it was the 'Noisy Cricket' gun from 'Men In Black'.  I also thought that the buttons were all arranged in the shape of a UFO.


While I played with the Samsung E-100, the wife opted for the Motorola RAZR-V3 which was was a smart looking phone that wasn't very bulky and the screen image was a decent size.  This was the first camera phone that we had.



I then upgraded back to the Ericsson K800i which had a camera - albeit very bulky design and bought a number of games to play on it.  I was a little dismayed that the games looked a lot better on the RAZR-V3 as that had a much better scene to this one. 


The wife then upgraded to the new Motorola KRZR which was a smaller version of the RAZR and a decision she has always regretted.  The screen was too small and just didn't feel like something to be proud of.  Sometimes it's better just to keep the phone you love and not be persuaded to upgrade. 



The next phone I got was the Ericsson V600i - an improvement to the bulky 'Cyber Shot' camera of the Ericsson K800i, but the downside was the hard concaved keyboard which made it very hard to text with. 



Next was the Ericsson C902 which was an improvement over the other earlier versions specifically because the camera was more concealed.  This was a thinner phone and the keyboard was made of rubber.  There was also touch screen buttons which were lit up in blue.  Very nice phone indeed!



The last phone I had was the Ericsson Xperia Ray.  This phone was too small for me but decided that after all the reviews I digested, this phone seemed to be best for me.  However I later realised that all I really wanted was a phone that had a big screen.  I was not too interested in games, I just wanted to access the Internet and be able to comfortably read the display.  I would have to wait until I received the next phone to be fully contented.



Now that's what I'm talking about!  The HTC One for ticks all the boxes.  It feels like you've got a decent piece of kit.  I can't imagine changing this phone - which is what you want to be saying when you choose the phone that is RIGHT for you.