Looking Back at 30+ Years from the Dummy TVs of the 1980's to
TV Props of Today...a glimpse into the past
with Jim Barnes, owner of
Props America Inc. |
TV props, and television props, really started to become a
saleable product and make their way to the market place in the mid
1980's. Today we see
fake TV props used across several industries for multiple
uses, but I believe it was the furniture manufacturers who made the idea
of the TV prop a product to be made available to the latest groups of TV
prop users today such as home stagers, interior designers, furniture
retailers and advertising/marketing firms.
In the 1980's simulated electronic
prop TV manufacturers such as Props America did not exist. A
product such as a
fake TV prop for display purposes had to be designed,
prototyped, and manufactured by a point-of-purchase display house.
My introduction to fake TV props, or fake television props for display
use, came when I was a designer at a custom point-of-purchase display
house that was contracted to design, prototype, and manufacture TV props
and desktop computer props for a furniture manufacturer on the east
I use the term "props" frequently these days, but back then we commonly
referred to TV props as dummy TVs or TV replicas (Learn
more about dummy TVs and TV Props by clicking here).
It was the same with computer props. We did not call them computer
props, we called them dummy computers or computer replicas. The
first computer prop I designed in the 1980's had a monitor screen that
mimicked the monochrome monitor screens of real computers at the time.
Remember the days when your computer monitor had one color? In
those days our desktop computer props were available with a dark screen
with either green or orange text to simulate the real deal. The
idea of full color monitors and even laptops was a long ways away.
If you look back at the dummy TV props in the 1980's and then look at
the TV props we have today; the need for fake TV props over the years
has changed greatly. In the 1980's and 1990's the need to replace
real TVs with dummy TV props was mainly cost and liability issues for
furniture manufacturers and furniture retailers. Think back about
the costs of a 19" console TV and a personal desktop computer when they
first came out. In the 1980's the price of a computer prop was
around 15% of the actual cost of a real functioning computer, and today
you could purchase a functioning computer for less than what the 1980's
computer props sold for! It's just amazing to see the evolutions
of the both the electronics industry and the fake electronics industry
over the past 30 years.
In the late 1990's through the mid
2000's there was a major increase in consumption of
fake flat screen TV props and
fake laptop computer props from the housing, interior design,
and marketing industries. With the booming housing market during
the mid 1990's through the mid 2000's there was an exponential increase
in the need for TV props, laptop computer props, and appliance props for
home staging and interior design. Witnessing the growth of the
home staging industry alone over the past 7 to 10 years has just been
amazing, and the industry itself is just full of individuals whose
passions are obvious and highly admirable.
In the late
1990's and early 2000's I watched the technology and style of real
electronic TVs change from the tube style televisions and projection
style televisions to the very popular flat screen TVs that have
saturated the market today. As a result, the simulated electronics
industry followed suit by producing
flat screen TV props to meet the new demand. Ultra
light weight wall mountable flat screen TV props have been
Props America's #1 seller in 2012.
you have enjoyed this brief history on TV props that I have experienced
over the years. One of
Props America's focuses for the upcoming year is to provide
more information to our customers not only about our products and
services, but information on other great products and services out there
to help you grow your business. I look forward to sharing more
with you this year.
Wishing you and your business the best!