During the past century, the consumer electronics industry has evolved from isolated hobbyist creations to lavish audio and video systems to a complete range of work style technologies. The U.S. consumer electronics industry is now a $209 billion market that continually develops innovative products and consumer technologies.
With the phenomenal rate of change occurring with digital technology, we can only guess at what technology will enable us to do in the next few years. We take the devices we use every day for granted, but technology has not always played such an active role in our work and personal lives.
It wasn't until the birth of commercial broadcasting on Nov. 2, 1920, when Pittsburgh station KDKA signed on the air with news of President Warren G. Harding's election, that "the radio receiver became a home appliance you could buy," according to Time-Life Books' The Encyclopedia of Collectibles. Radio dramatically changed consumers' lives bringing the world into their living room. The pioneers from Addison, Crosley, Dahlberg, Emerson, Fada, General Electric, Grunow, Majestic, Motorola, Philco, RCA, Sears-Roebuck, Stewart, Stromberg-Carlson, Warner, Westinghouse and Zenith invented radio's image and, in some cases, elevated it to an art form. Today collectors scoop up classics such as the DeForest Crosley radio, complete with earphones and horn, the wonder of the neighborhood when it was new, and the 1932 wooden cathedral-case radios that were so popular at the time.
Although in the 1940s, analysts predicted that TV would take a long arduous path before it arrived in consumer's homes, in fact, it has seemed more like the twinkling of an eye for those of us who grew up with it. TV technology developed rapidly - moving from black-and-white (1946) to the first color broadcast (1954) to solid-state color sets (1967), to electronic tuners (1970) to videotape recording (1975) and stereo and digital TV (1984) - that the color sets sold today with high-definition TV (HDTV) and flat-panel TV are dramatically different from those offered just a few years ago.
All of these developments that we have become so accustomed to are due to the tenacity and vision of the pioneers in the consumer electronics industry. The Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame inductees have made a significant contribution to the world, and without these inductees, our lives would not be the same. We owe these leaders our gratitude for laying the foundation for the marvels yet to come in this century full of opportunity and providing us with inspiration. It is truly amazing what a profound impact an idea can have once it is unleashed on the world. So with this in mind, the Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame honors the leaders whose creativity, persistence, determination and sheer personal charisma helped to shape an industry and made the consumer electronics marketplace what it is today.
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