Television has come a long way from its humble roots airing in black and white, to all-in-one remote controls, high definition, and 3D-TV.
1. The Idea is Born
Way ahead of its time, the idea for television was born in 1887, as conceived of by civil servant George Carey. While it couldn’t be tested because the technology to sustain it had yet to be invented, the theories were sound and ‘seeing by electricity’ could have been produced if not for lack of ability.
2. The First Television Transmission
There are two significant dates here: January 23rd, 1926, John Logie Baird of Scotland gave the world’s first real demonstration of television apparatus to 40 members of the Royal Institution. This marks the first time living images were used, not just silhouettes or stick figures. There was no sound, but there was gradation in the shadows.
Then on April 7th, 1927 Herbert E. Ives of AT&T Bell Telephone Labs, successfully transmitted live picture and voice long distance from Washington D.C. to New York. The subject was a speech by Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover. This is the same year Al Jolson starred in the first talking film, The Jazz Singer.
3. Commercial Televisions Unveiled
Baird mechanical scanning disc television sets were displayed to the public at the Olympia Radio Exhibition from September 22- 29, 1928. While production was low at only a few dozen models, it tipped off the production boom that was to follow from 1948-1949. However at this point, the public at large is not affected by television. The average household would not be able to afford a TV set until after World War II.
4. First TV Broadcast
Between 1928 and 1936, television would undergo some amazing changes as the technology was streamlined and redefined. The first TV, with its scanning disks, would give way to an electrical version in 1934, which is the basis of the TV used to this day. By 1932 the first commercial ad would be broadcast, and Iowa State University, with the call letters of W9XK, would start a bi-weekly transmission. In 1936 the first broadcast show would be available to the public in England and the BBC was born. CBS began its TV development in 1937, while the BBC had already begun high definition broadcasts. Of course, extremely few people owned any TV sets at that time.
5. The Color TV
The first color TV was presented by Peter Goldmark of CBS, but did not become the standard. This model was used at a convention center to broadcast operations conducted by surgeons in color. The very first standard color television came out in 1950, only to be replaced by a new standard in 1953. However, in 1948, a true milestone would occur- the advent of cable TV and the Ed Sullivan Show. By 1967, most TV broadcasts would be in color.
6. Remote Controlling
This toy was created in 1956 and changed the definition of ‘couch potato’ forever. Previously the controller had been wired remotes, tethered to the set, and those that failed to operate in direct sunlight.
7. Satellites Begin Beaming
In 1962, AT&T launched Telstar, the world’s first satellite designed specifically for TV broadcasting, with the effect that broadcasts could then be internationally relayed. On July 20th 1969, 600 million people across the world tuned in to see the first footage beamed from the moon.
8. Plasma Screens and Flat Screens
Not widely known, the plasma screen and flat screen TVs were actually invented in 1964 by scientists at the University of Illinois.
1981 would see the introduction of HDTV demonstrated with a whopping 1,125 lines of resolution. Incidentally, the Supreme Court would rule that HDTV cameras would be allowed in court rooms.
10. How Many Were There?
By 1998, 98% of all American households owned at least one TV. By 1992, 900 million sets would be in use around the world, with 205 million in the U.S. alone. In 2006, both analog and digital formats would be receivable, with more amazing discoveries and advancements ahead.