First Click: White is the new black for home electronics

October 12th, 2016


Do you remember the Blown Away Guy? You probably weren’t around to see the original Maxell TV and print ads (lol, you’re old!) of the early '80s, but you might have seen the many parodies produced in the years since. Like this one seen on Family Guy, or this by the guys at Jackass, or this by P Diddy.

Here, take a look at the original:

It’s a vintage ad that still feels remarkably fresh for its age. What doesn’t hold up though, is the black cassette tape inserted into the black hi-fi for playback from the black loudspeakers. It may have taken 35 years but our living room gadgets are finally moving away from the mustachioed bachelor-pad look favored by classic rock-lovin’ playboys to something far more modern.

White is the new black for home electronics.

Just look at the trend. Yesterday, Sonos announced a white version of its monolithic Sub subwoofer first introduced in 2012. Last week it was the white Google Home and Google Wi-Fi. Last month it was the white Echo and Echo Dot from Amazon. And earlier this year we were treated to a white Nest thermostat and Xbox One S. True, we’ve had white smartphones forever, but those live in our pockets. In 2016 our living room devices are finally getting a color upgrade to match the near universal Airbnb aesthetic that’s painting the world’s living rooms from a homogenous palette of matte white and white-washed wood. And from a consumer electronic’s perspective, that’s a good thing.

 Panasonic's transparent display

Unfortunately, the living room TV — the most offensive of all black plastic gadgets — won’t be joining the movement anytime soon. Not until somebody invents an LCD or OLED panel that turns white when it’s off. Or better yet, make them transparent. Because the prototypes we’ve seen will blow you away.

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