Television was not invented
by a single inventor, instead many people working together and alone,
contributed to the evolution of TV.
Henry's and Michael
Faraday's work with electromagnetism makes possible the era of electronic
communication to begin.
Giovanna Caselli invents his "pantelegraph" and becomes the first
person to transmit a still image over wires.
Scientists May and Smith experiment with selenium and light, this opens the
door for inventors to transform images into electronic signals.
civil servant George Carey was thinking about complete television systems and
in 1877 he put forward drawings for what he called a "selenium
camera" that would allow people to "see by electricity." Eugen
Goldstein coins the term "cathode
rays" to describe the light emitted when an electric current was
forced through a vacuum tube.
Scientists and engineers like Paiva, Figuier, and Senlecq were suggesting
alternative designs for "telectroscopes."
Inventors like Bell and Edison theorize about telephone devices that transmit
image as well as sound. Bell's photophone
used light to transmit sound and he wanted to advance his device for image
sending. George Carey builds a rudimentary system with
Sheldon Bidwell experiments with telephotography, another photophone.
Paul Nipkow sends images over wires using a rotating metal disk technology
calling it the "electric telescope" with 18 lines of resolution.
At the World's Fair in Paris, the 1st International Congress of Electricity
was held, where Russian, Constantin Perskyi made the first known use of the
Soon after, the momentum
shifted from ideas and discussions to physical development of TV systems. Two paths were followed:
Mechanical television - based on Nipkow's
rotating disks, and
Electronic television - based on the
cathode ray tube work done independently in 1907 by English inventor A.A.
Campbell-Swinton and Russian scientist Boris Rosing.
de Forest invents the "Audion" vacuum tube that proved essential
to electronics. The Audion was the first tube with the ablity to amplify
signals. Boris Rosing combines
Nipkow's disk and a cathode ray tube and builds the first working mechanical
Campbell Swinton and Boris Rosing suggest using cathode ray tubes to transmit
images - independent of each other, they both develop electronic scanning
methods of reproducing images.
American Charles Jenkins
and Scotsman John Baird followed the mechanical model while Philo Farnsworth,
working independently in San Francisco, and Russian émigré Vladimir Zworkin,
working for Westinghouse and later RCA, advanced the electronic model.
Vladimir Zworykin patents his iconscope a TV camera tube based on
Campbell Swinton's ideas. The iconscope, which he called an "electric
eye" becomes the cornerstone for further television
development. He later develops the kinescope for picture display.
American Charles Jenkins and
from Scotland, each demonstrate the
mechanical transmissions of images over wire circuits. Photo Left:
Jenkin's Radiovisor Model 100 circa 1931, sold as a kit. Baird becomes the
first person to transmit moving silhouette images
using a mechanical system based on Nipkow's disk.
Vladimir Zworykin patents a color
operates a 30 lines of resolution system at 5 frames per second.
Bell Telephone and the U.S. Department of Commerce conduct the first long
distance use of TV, between Washington D.C. and New York City on April
9th. Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover
commented, “Today we have, in a sense,
the transmission of sight for the first time in the world’s history. Human
genius has now destroyed the impediment of distance in a new respect, and in a
manner hitherto unknown.” Philo Farnsworth files for a patent on the first complete electronic
television system, which he called the Image Dissector.
Federal Radio Commission issues the first television license (W3XK) to Charles
Zworykin demonstrates the first practical electronic system for both the
transmission and reception of images using his new kinescope tube. John Baird
opens the first TV studio,
however, the image quality was poor.
1930: Charles Jenkins
broadcasts the first TV commercial.
The BBC begins regular TV transmissions.
Iowa State University (W9XK) starts broadcasting twice weekly television
programs in cooperation with radio station WSUI.
About 200 hundred television sets are in use world-wide. The
introduction of coaxial cable, which is a pure copper or copper-coated wire
surrounded by insulation and an aluminum covering. These cables were and are
used to transmit television, telephone and data signals. The 1st
"experimental" coaxial cable lines were laid by AT&T between New
York and Philadelphia in 1936. The first “regular” installation connected
Minneapolis and Stevens Point, WI in 1941. The original L1 coaxial-cable
system could carry 480 telephone conversations or one television program. By
the 1970's, L5 systems could carry 132,000 calls or more than 200 television
CBS begins TV development. The BBC begins high definition broadcasts
in London. Brothers and Stanford researchers Russell and Sigurd Varian introduced the
Klystron in. A Klystron is a high-frequency amplifier for generating
microwaves. It is considered the technology that makes UHF-TV possible because
it gives the ability to generate the high power required in this spectrum.
Zworykin and RCA conduct experimentally broadcasts from the Empire State
Building. Television was demonstrated at the New York World's Fair and the San Francisco
Golden Gate International Exposition. RCA's David Sarnoff used his company's
exhibit at the 1939 World's Fair as a showcase for the 1st Presidential speech
(Roosevelt) on television and to introduce RCA's new line of television receivers – some
of which had to be coupled with a radio if you wanted to hear sound. The
Dumont company starts making tv sets.
Peter Goldmark invents a 343 lines of resolution color
FCC releases the NTSC standard for black and white TV.
Zworykin developed a better camera tube - the Orthicon. The Orthicon
(Photo Left) had enough light sensitivity to record outdoor events at night.
Peter Goldmark, working for CBS, demonstrated his color
television system to the FCC. His system produced color pictures by having
a red-blue-green wheel spin in front of a cathode ray tube. This mechanical
means of producing a color picture was used in 1949 to broadcast medical
procedures from Pennsylvania and Atlantic City hospitals. In Atlantic City,
viewers could come to the convention center to see broadcasts of operations.
Reports from the time noted that the realism of seeing surgery in color caused
more than a few viewers to faint. Although Goldmark's mechanical system was
eventually replaced by an electronic system he is recognized as the first to
introduce a broadcasting color television system.
Cable television is introduced in Pennsylvania as a means of bringing
television to rural areas. A patent was granted to Louis
W. Parker for a low-cost television receiver. One million homes in the
United States have television sets.
FCC approves the first color television standard which is replaced
by a second in
Zworykin developed a better camera
tube - the Vidicon.
Ampex introduces the first practical videotape system of broadcast quality.
Robert Adler invents the first practical remote control called the Zenith
Space Commander, proceeded by wired remotes and units that failed in sunlight.
first split screen broadcast occurs on the Kennedy - Nixon debates.
All Channel Receiver Act requires that UHF tuners (channels 14 to 83) be included in all sets.
AT&T launches Telstar, the first satellite to carry TV broadcasts - broadcasts
are now internationally relayed.
Most TV broadcasts are in color.
July 20, first TV transmission from the moon and 600 million people watch.
Half the TVs in homes are color sets.
Giant screen projection TV is first marketed.
Sony introduces betamax, the first home video cassette recorder.
becomes the first station to switch to all satellite delivery of programs.
demonstrates HDTV with 1,125 lines of resolution.
Dolby surround sound for home sets is introduced.
Direct Broadcast Satellite begins service in Indianapolis, In.
TV broadcasts approved.
captioning required on all sets.
FCC approves ATSC's HDTV standard. Billion TV sets world-wide.
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