The evolution of television

  • era of electronic communication

    Joseph Henry's and Michael Faraday's work with electromagnetism jumpstarts the era of electronic communication.
  • First Still Image Transferred

    Abbe Giovanna Caselli invents his Pantelegraph and becomes the first person to transmit a still image over wires.
  • transformation of images into electronic signals

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

    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.
  • Late 1870s

    Scientists and engineers like Paiva, Figuier, and Senlecq were suggesting alternative designs for Telectroscopes.
  • rudimentary system

    Inventors Alexander Graham 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.
  • Telephotography

    Sheldon Bidwell experiments with his Telephotography that was similiar to Bell's Photophone.
  • 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.
  • And We Called It Television

    At the World's Fair in Paris, the first International Congress of Electricity was held. That is where Russian Constantin Perskyi made the first known use of the word "television."
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • electric eye

    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).
  • 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. Vladimir Zworkin patents a color television system.
  • 30 Lines of Resolution

    John Baird operates a television system with 30 lines of resolution system running at 5 frames per second.
  • electronic television system

    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.”
    Philo Farnsworth, files for a patent on the first complete electronic t
  • first television station license

    The Federal Radio Commission issues the first television station license (W3XK) to Charles Jenkins.
  • first practical electronic system

    Vladimir Zworkin demonstrates the first practical electronic system for both the transmission and reception of images using his new kinescope tube.
  • first TV commercial

    Charles Jenkins broadcasts the first TV commercial.
    The BBC begins regular TV transmissions.
  • starts broadcasting twice weekly television programs

    Iowa State University (W9XK) starts broadcasting twice weekly television programs in cooperation with radio station WSUI.
  • The first experimental coaxial cable lines

    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 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.
  • CBS begins its TV development

    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.
  • The Dumont company starts making tv sets

    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.
  • color television system

    Peter Goldmark invents a 343 lines of resolution color television system.
  • black and white TV

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

    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.
  • first to introduce a broadcasting color television system

    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.
  • Cable television

    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.
  • the Vidicon

    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
  • first practical videotape system

    Ampex introduces the first practical videotape system of broadcast quality.
  • the Zenith Space Commander

    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.
  • first split screen broadcast

    The first split screen broadcast occurs on the Kennedy - Nixon debates.
  • All Channel Receiver Act

    The All Channel Receiver Act requires that UHF tuners (channels 14 to 83) be included in all sets.
  • first satellite to carry TV broadcasts

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

    Most TV broadcasts are in color.
  • first TV transmission

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

    Half the TVs in homes are color sets.
  • projection TV is first marketed

    Giant screen projection TV is first marketed.
  • betamax

    Sony introduces betamax, the first home video cassette recorder.
  • satellite delivery

    PBS becomes the first station to switch to all satellite delivery of programs.
  • 1,125 Lines of Resolution

    NHK demonstrates HDTV with 1,125 lines of resolution.
  • Dolby

    Dolby surround sound for home sets is introduced
  • Direct Broadcast Satellite

    Direct Broadcast Satellite begins service in Indianapolis, In.
  • Stereo TV broadcasts

    Stereo TV broadcasts approved.
  • VHS

    Super VHS introduced.
  • Closed captioning

    required on all sets.
  • HDTV

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

    Bellis, M. (2012). The Invention of Television. Inventors. Retrieved from