January 21, 2021

Inside North Korean television: The wooden box of wonder

Technology follows global trends but the repetitive, unimaginative programming remains the same

A grandmother in a rural area of North Korea was given a television from her grandson, who works in an urban area. The wooden box was truly astonishing: She could watch many people inside the box and listen to songs, she could even sightsee the capital city of Pyongyang without a travel permit.

Within a short time, the wooden box became a wonder around town, but its popularity didn’t last long. People soon lost interest in the box because the content was so repetitive. What was wrong with it? After some consideration, she wrote a letter to her grandson: