1988 vs. 2008: A tech retrospective

Think the iPhone is pricey? The cool cell phone of 1988 cost $4382 in today's dollars. A 150MB hard drive? $8755. Take a trip with us down memory lane, and you'll never whine about the price of a gadget again.

Big-Screen TVs

1988: Mitsubishi Diamond Vision II 3503

Price: $3000 ($5258 adjusted for inflation)

Size: 35 inches

Resolution: 480 lines, interlaced

Format: NTSC

Display technology: CRT

2008: Panasonic TH-50PZ77U HDTV

Price: $2300

Size: 50 inches

Resolution: 1080 lines, progressive scan

Format: ATSC

Display technology: plasma

When Mitsubishi shipped its 35-inch Diamond Vision television in 1985, it was the world's biggest cathode-ray tube TV. By 1988, popular electronics columnist Harry Somerfield said that the company's model 3503 offered "probably the best big picture available anywhere, at any price."

The phrase "at any price" was apt, since (in 2008 dollars) the 3503 cost $5258. The smooth image quality and excellent color of analog CRTs still beats what plasma and LCD sets can produce, but tubes have some practical limitations: A 35-inch CRT weighs about 200 pounds, and it's about 2 feet deep. The demand for ever-larger screens has prompted a switch to flat-panel TVs. One of today's top models is the 50-inch Panasonic TH-50PZ77U, a plasma-screen television that has garnered a slew of awards.

Sharp predicts that by 2015 the average TV screen size will have increased to 60 inches. Organic light-emitting diodes, the next big thing in display technology, will offer breathtaking image quality. The 60-inch screens of the future may be OLED-based, but the technology still has some maturing to do: The OLED screen on Sony's new $2300 XEL-1 measures just 11 inches.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Becky Waring

PC World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?