In addition to the increase in real incomes explained in this post, referencing Steven Landsburg's post here, we really don't have a good measure of real incomes through time because the CPI is not necessarily an accurate measure of price changes.
For example, while looking for a news story from 1984, I ran across the following newspaper advertisements.
Here are the prices of these items converted into June 2012 dollars using the CPI.
Is it really meaningful to say that the price of a standard television set (and 19" was pretty standard back then) increased about 116% between 1984 and 2012? Is the quality of one of these sets even comparable to the quality of an average television set sold today? On Amazon, you have nearly 100 different television sets you can purchase new in this price range. My guess is that all are higher quality, but I'm not sorting through them all to verify that.
If there was any meaningful way to control for quality diffferences, the real price of a television set today would be significantly cheaper relative to one sold in 1984. This is true for most goods and services sold today. This means that real incomes are even higher today relative to 1980 than that calculated using raw CPI data.
I love the reference to the wireless remote. That was a big thing back then, yet something we take for granted today. My first Beta video recorder/player (yes, a beta player) had a wired remote with a 6-foot cord. If you wanted to fast forward remotely, you had to be pretty close to the television set. Oh, and the dog eventually chewed through the wire. So it was eventually a wireless remote, but rendered useless.