Entertainment TV & Radio

Saturday 18 January 2020

Anything good on the (60-year-old) telly tonight?

Ray D’Arcy and Frank Cuffe from Roscommon, proud owner of the oldest working television in Ireland - a 1948 Ecko.
Ray D’Arcy and Frank Cuffe from Roscommon, proud owner of the oldest working television in Ireland - a 1948 Ecko.

Allison Bray

IT'S older than RTE itself but a vintage television is still going strong after more than 60 years.

Built in December 1948, the EKCO black-and-white TV was just a few months shy of broadcasting the London Olympics when the post-war "Austerity Games" were first televised live at Wembley Stadium by the BBC in July 1948.

And it would be another 13 years before it would be able to beam RTE's -- then Telefis Eireann -- first broadcast on New Year's Eve 1961.

Now, 63 years later, its proud owner Frank Cuffe (43), from Ballintubber, Co Roscommon, is looking forward to watching the London 2012 Olympics on its nine-inch screen in July and August.

The former television repairman and avid TV collector won a competition on the 'Ray D'Arcy Show' on Today FM for owning the oldest working television in Ireland.

He outdid the owners of 200 vintage televisions -- mostly from the 1970s and 1980s -- who were invited to send in images and descriptions of their retro sets as part of the Department of Communications' digital switchover awareness campaign.

While Mr Cuffe will get a new Saorview-ready TV valued at up to €500 for winning, he plans to watch the Games on his old-school model that still uses glass valves.

"There will really be no difference except it will be black and white," he said, adding that despite the age of the set, "the old ones work a lot better".

Meanwhile, the Department of Communications is reminding people that the deadline for the switchover from analogue to digital TV is on October 24.

Information is available at www.goingdigital.ie or by telephone on 1890 940 980.

Irish Independent

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