Soundscape Articles of Interest

History of TV History of TV

1831 Joseph Henry’s and Michael Faraday’s work with electromagnetism jumpstarts the era of electronic communication.

1862 Abbe Giovanna Caselli invents his Pantelegraph and becomes the first person to transmit a still image over wires.

1873 Scientists May and Smith experiment with selenium and light, this reveals the possibilty for inventors to transform images into electronic signals.

1876 Boston 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.

1880 Inventors Alexander Grahm Bell and Thomas 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 light-sensitive cells. 1881 Sheldon Bidwell experiments with his Telephotography that was similiar to Bell's Photophone.

1884 18 Lines of Resolution Paul Nipkow sends images over wires using a rotating metal disk technology calling it the electric telescope with 18 lines of resolution.

1906 - First Mechanical Television System Lee de Forest invents the Audion vacuum tube that proved essential to electronics. The Audion was the first tube with the ability to amplify signals. Boris Rosing combines Nipkow's disk and a cathode ray tube and builds the first working mechanical TV system.

1907 Early Electronic Systems 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. John Logie Baird is remembered as being the modern inventor of mechanical television. Mechanical television, an earlier version of TV that was discontinued, was developed in late 1920s in England. During W.W.II,  Baird developed the first color picture tube. Learn about Baird's mechanical television system. What John Logie Baird did towards the development and promotion of mechanical television in Britain, Charles Francis Jenkins did for North America. Jenkins invented a mechanical television system called radiovision and claimed to have transmitted the earliest moving silhouette images on June 14, 1923.

1924 Vladimir Zworkin 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. Zworkin later develops the kinescope for picture display (aka the reciever).

1924/25 First Moving Silhouette Images American Charles Jenkins and John Baird from Scotland, each demonstrate the mechanical transmissions of images over wire circuits. John Baird becomes the first person to transmit moving silhouette images using a mechanical system based on Nipkow's disk. Charles Jenkin built his Radiovisor and 1931 and sold it as a kit for consumers to put together (see photo to right).

1926 30 Lines of Resolution John Baird operates a television system with 30 lines of resolution system running at 5 frames per second. Vladimir Kosma Zworykin invented the cathode-ray tube called the kinescope in 1929, a tube needed for TV transmission. Vladimir Kosma Zworykin also invented the iconoscope, an early television camera. See the personal photographs of television pioneer Dr. Vladimir Kosma Zworykin and his involvement with television history. Color TV was by no means a new idea, a German patent in 1904 contained the earliest proposal, while in 1925 Zworykin filed a patent disclosure for an all-electronic color television system. Learn about the RCA color television system - Living Color - The history of early color television.

1927 Bell Telephone and the U.S. Department of Commerce conduct the first long distance use of television that took place 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.”

1927 Philo Fransworth, files for a patent on the first complete electronic television system, which he called the Image Dissector.

1928 The Federal Radio Commission issues the first television station license (W3XK) to Charles Jenkins.

1929 Vladimir Zworkin 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.

1933 Iowa State University (W9XK) starts broadcasting twice weekly television programs in cooperation with radio station WSUI. 1936 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.

1937 CBS begins its TV development. The BBC begins high definition broadcasts in London. Brothers and Stanford researchers Russell and Sigurd Varian introduce the Klystron. 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.

1939 Vladimir Zworkin 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.

1940 Peter Goldmark invents a 343 lines of resolution color television system.

1941 The FCC releases the NTSC standard for black and white TV.

1943 Vladimir Zworkin developed a better camera tube called the Orthicon. The Orthicon (see photo right) had enough light sensitivity to record outdoor events at night.

1946 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.

1946 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. Louis Parker invented the modern changeable television receiver. The patent was issued to Louis Parker in 1948.

1948 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.

1950 The FCC approves the first color television standard which is replaced by a second in 1953. Vladimir Zworkin developed a better camera tube called the Vidicon.

1956 Ampex introduces the first practical videotape system of broadcast quality.

1956 Robert Adler invents the first practical remote control called the Zenith Space Commander. It was proceeded by wired remotes and units that failed in sunlight. (then known as Zenith Radio Corporation).

1960 The first split screen broadcast occurs on the Kennedy - Nixon debates.

1962 The All Channel Receiver Act requires that UHF tuners (channels 14 to 83) be included in all sets.

1962 AT&T launches Telstar, the first satellite to carry TV broadcasts - broadcasts are now internationally relayed.

1964 The very first prototype for a plasma display monitor was invented by Donald Bitzer, Gene Slottow, and Robert Willson. 

1967 Most TV broadcasts are in color.

1969 July 20, first TV transmission from the moon and 600 million people watch.

1972 Half the TVs in homes are color sets.

1973 Giant screen projection TV is first marketed.

1976 Sony introduces betamax, the first home video cassette recorder.

1978 PBS becomes the first station to switch to all satellite delivery of programs.

1981 1,125 Lines of Resolution NHK (Nippon Hoso Kyokai) demonstrates HDTV with 1,125 lines of resolution.

1982 Dolby surround sound for home sets is introduced.

1983 Direct Broadcast Satellite begins service in Indianapolis, In.

1984 Stereo TV broadcasts approved.

1986 Super VHS introduced.

1993 Closed captioning required on all sets.

1996 The FCC approves ATSC's HDTV standard. A billion TV sets world-wide.

May 30, 2007 NHK's (Nippon Hoso Kyokai) Science and Technical Research Laboratories demonstrates Ultra HD signal; 16 times better then HDTV. NHK's Science and Technical Research Laboratories demonstrated Super Hi-Vision technology capable of a 7680x4320 resolution.

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