Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Clare3 How Is It We Have TV?

How Is It We Have TV?

What is your favourite television program? 
Do you have a TV in your toilet? Your kitchen? Your bedroom? On your mobile phone? How is it we have television?...

The television had no single inventor. Some worked alone, others collaborated, and were from varying countries and scientific disciplines. Televison's many inventors and contributors have been refining television since approximately 1831 to the present day.


American scientist Joseph Henry and British physicist and chemist Michael Faraday work with electromagnetism kickstarts the era of electronic communication. (Image of Michael Faraday below.)http://www.inventors.about.com/od/tstartinventions/a/Television_Timer.htm

1862 First Still Image Transferred

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


Bell's Photophone used light to transmit sound and he wanted his device for image sending. The Photophone is credited with being the modern progenitor of fiber optic communications.

This worked unless objects such as large buildings or clouds got in the way.

1884 First mechanical Television

Paul Nipkow, German engineering student, sends images over a wire using a rotating metal disc technology calling it the electric telescope with 18 lines of resolution. He devised the notion of dissecting the image and transmitting it sequentially. Nipkow's disc is pictured below. He proposed and patented the world's first mechanical television. The word Television was first known to be used in 1900.

1906 Mechanical TV?!

Combining Nipkow's disc and the cathode ray tube (pictured), Boris Rosing, Russian scientist, builds the first working mechanical television. (Also pictured.)

The cathode ray tube pioneered by Rosing & American A.A. Campbell-Swinton. The cathode ray tube design is integral to the function of modern televisions.

First working mechanical Televison! Where's the remote control?

1907 Going Electric

Campbell-Swinton and Rosing independently develop electronic scanning.


Russian emigrant Vladimir Zworkin who worked for Westinghouse and later RCA, advanced the electronic models of televisions. He patented his ionscope, which he called 'an electric eye,' and the kinescope (the receiver.) Here he is below in 1929 with the kinescope.

1927 First Long distance Use of Television

Using American Philo Farnsworth's design of the Image Dissector (in part, pictured below), which needed very bright light, the first long distance use of the television was made between Bell Telephone in NY and the U.S. Dept. of Commerce in Washington. Farnsworth successfully patented the first complete electronic television set, which he called the Image Dissector.

1928 > 1933

Between 1928 and 1933 the first television station license is granted, the first television studio is opened, although reception was poor, and the BBC began regular transmissions.

1936 How many TVs in your house?

By 1936, 200 televisions are in use worldwide. Only 70 years later, a Nielsen Media Research reported that in 2006 the average U.S. household had an average of 2.73 t.v. sets, to an average of 2.55 people. Somewhere between 2001 and 2004 the number of sets outgrew the number of people. A spokesman for Nielsen said that "half of US homes have three or more sets today, and a mere 19 percent have one set. That is compared to 1975 when 57 percent of households had one TV set and 11 percent had three or more."

The now available fog free LCD Television for your bathroom, this model by Tilevision.

Coaxial Cable Accelerates Availability

The introduction of coaxial cable, which is a pure copper or copper-coated wire surrounded by insulation and an aluminum covering were and are used to transmit television, telephone, and data signals.
The first 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 programs.

1937 UHF TV

Introducing the Klystron, from the brothers Sigurd and Russell Varian. A Klystron(pictured with the brothers below) 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.

The inventor brothers with the klystron, early 1940s.

Russell Varian and Sigurd Varian (right) appear in this 1951 photograph with a high-powered klystron. In the palm of his hand, Russell Varian holds a smaller type of klystron used for radar, aircraft instrument landing and microwave communications.

1939 Antennas on Skyscraper

Vladimir Zworkin and RCA conduct experimentally broadcasts from the Empire State Building. Diagram pictured below.

Did King Kong inspire this?

A detailed view of the upper portion of the Empire State Building showing locations of transmitting antennas.

One element of the master FM antenna seen from window on 102nd floor.

RCA TRK 9 at the 1939 World Fair.

The see-through Lucite model of the RCA TRK-12 was very popular with World Fair goers.  Reminds me of the original Apple iMac computers.

The DuMont company starts making tv sets.

The DuMont Clifton model tv set.


Peter Goldmark invents a 343 lines of resolution colour television system. The FCC release the NTSC standard for B&W television.

1943 Orthicon

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

1946 Colour!

Dr. Peter Goldmark, working for CBS, introduces colour by spinning an RGB wheel in front of a cathode ray tube. This 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.


One million homes in the United States have television sets.


Robert Adler invents the first practical remote control. (Below left)

It was proceeded by wired remotes and units that failed in sunlight.

Man's best friend as we know him today.


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

UHF tuner

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

Telstar satellite

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

1973 Giant screen projection TV is first marketed.

1981 1,125 Lines of ResolutionNHK demonstrates HDTV with 1,125 lines of resolution.

1982 Dolby surround sound for home sets is introduced.

1993 Closed captioning required on all sets.

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

The Advent of HDTV

High definition television is the highest form of digital television. It has a 16:9 aspect ratio, which is the same as a movie theater screen. This is possibly HD’s biggest selling point. The other is the resolution. High definition is the best available picture on a television. It comes in three different flavors: 720p, 1080i and 1080p.
What do 720p, 1080i and 1080p mean?
High definition programs are encoded with a type of resolution: 720p, 1080i or 1080p. The number stands for the amount of lines embedded within the signal. The letter describes the type of scan the television uses to display the picture. The ‘i’ means interlaced and the ‘p’ means progressive.
Owning a high definition television is just the first step in watching HD content. The second step is to acquire a HD tuner. The tuner is either built into the television or an external set-top box. The set-top boxes can be bought in stores, but most will come from the cable or satellite provider. The third step is to either subscribe to a HD package or buy an antenna for over-the-air reception. Once steps one, two and three are in place then it is up to you to turn to the HD channel to get started watching high definition programming. And, this is only when the signal on the HD channel is delivered in high definition.
What is the future of HDTV?
High definition is expensive to produce and not every production company has access to it, but HD programming does have a bright future on television. The image is so clear that it appears as though you are looking at the image in person.
www.tv.about.com/mbiopage.htm reference.
The debated performance of Plasma vs. LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) screens.. http://www.pcworld.idg.com.au/article/276479/lcd_vs_plasma_tvs_what_screen_technology_best?pp=3
In depth HDTV info, up to 2007.
Electronic waste recycling in Australia.
Flat screen TVs blamed for accelerating global warming.
Most information for the Timeline of this blog was taken from
Most images supplied by Google's Image Search function.
Google's "Image Search" and Copyright Law.

1924/25 First Moving Silhouette Images

Scotsman John Baird used Nipkow's disc (from 1884) to transmit the first moving silhouette images using a mechanical system. Below is an image of a televised human face, probably Baird's.

In 1926, Baird operates a television system with 30 lines of resolution at 5 frames per second.

Today's standard television operates at 480 lines of resolution and a refresh rate of either 24, 30 or 60 frames per second.

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