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The Zenith Space Phone
Zenith, a renowned electronics company, gained a reputation for producing exceptional televisions during its heyday. Many customers, like my Grandmother, were loyal to the brand and wouldn't consider purchasing any other model. My earliest encounter with a remote control TV was likely on a Zenith set. In fact, I vividly recall the first time I got scolded for changing channels too frequently, and it happened to be on a Zenith TV.
While Zenith's televisions were already impressive, the company also introduced an intriguing and now almost forgotten technology called the Zenith Space Phone. Despite its name, this device wasn't intended for communicating with outer space, which would have been an incredible and memorable feature. Instead, the Zenith Space Phone was a speakerphone integrated into their TV sets. This unique feature was available in select models of their "System 3" TVs from the 1970s to the 1990s.
To use the Zenith Space Phone, you would simply plug your telephone into a jack built into the TV and then utilize the TV's remote control to make calls. As soon as a call was initiated, the TV would automatically mute itself and transform into a communication command center. The phone number being dialed would be displayed on the TV screen, providing a convenient and centralized experience. Although this concept was innovative and ahead of its time, it didn't manage to achieve widespread popularity. However, in recent times, with advancements in modern technology, the idea of a centralized communication hub has made a comeback.
If you haven't had the chance to witness a vintage Zenith commercial, you're in for a delightful experience. The commercial for the Zenith System 3, which I highly recommend watching, captures the enchanting and futuristic atmosphere reminiscent of the film "TRON." These eighties commercials exude a magical charm that continues to captivate audiences even today.
Watch this commercial for the Zenith System 3
and here is a video of the Zenith Space Phone being dialed…