A brief history of world television

Thiết bị dựng phim digital tại Đài TH NHK Nhật Bản - ảnh Tấn Đức

(E-info) – For a long time, television viewers in Vietnam have been familiar with the terms “television”, color television, analog television, … to help readers understand more about the history of the world television industry. The E-INFO editorial board invites you to refer to and interact with the following article by Tấn Đức, E-INFO reporter.

 
Television is a Sino-Vietnamese term combining wireless which means wireless, and television, which means the transmission of image data. The term tivi (pronounced as TV in English, short for television) is a compound word, combining Greek and Latin. “Tele,” in Greek, means “far”; while “vision,” from the Latin word visio, means “seeing” or “sight.” In English, it is abbreviated to TV and pronounced as tivi.

The development of television technology can be divided into two main phases: advancements in mechanical and electronic aspects, and entirely electronic advancements. The latter is the foundation of modern TVs, but the former was essential for the discovery and understanding of the mechanical system.

A German student, Paul Gottlieb Nipkow, introduced the first electro-mechanical TV system in 1885. Nipkow’s spinning disk design was seen as a method of converting images into point patterns. However, it was not until 1907, with the invention of the amplifier tube, that these designs became feasible. During that time, Constatin Perskyi proposed the term television in a presentation at the International Electricity Congress at the World’s Fair in Paris on August 25, 1900. Perskyi’s presentation summarized the electro-mechanical technology, highlighting the achievements of Nipkow and colleagues.

In 1911, Boris Rosing and his student Vladimir Kosma Zworykin succeeded in creating a TV system using a mirror drum scanner to transmit images. According to Zworykin, “the images were very crude” through wires to the Braun tube (cathode ray tube) in the receiver. Moving pictures were impossible because the scanner had “insufficient sensitivity and selenium cells were too slow.” Rosing was exiled by Stalin to Arkhangelsk in 1931 and died in 1933, but Zworykin later returned to work for RCA to build an electronic television, which was later found to infringe on the patent of Philo Farnsworth, who had demonstrated the first complete television system in 1928.

  • In 1920, American scientist Charles Francis Jenkins and British scientist John Logie Baird successfully created the first prototype of the TV.

  • In 1927, a young American named Philo Taylor Farnsworth successfully developed the commercial version of the cathode ray tube to transmit electronic television signals, a breakthrough in the television industry.
Philo Taylor Farnsworth
Philo Taylor Farnsworth
  • In 1930, several TV technology standards emerged and competed to dominate this nascent market. One of the dominant products was the EMI-Marconi, capable of running 25 frames per second and quite popular in the UK. Another TV standard could run 30 frames per second and was mainly developed in the US.
  • The first commercially successful TVs began appearing in showrooms in the US in the early 1950s.
  • As the value of TV content became apparent, companies rushed into the television industry. This led to the need for regulations on broadcasting frequencies of channels.
  • The power of TV was demonstrated by the live broadcast of American astronaut Neil Armstrong’s historic steps on the moon on January 20, 1969.
  • Efforts to develop color TV began in the early 1950s, with RCA introducing the first color TV in 1954. However, it was not until the 1960s that color TV sales became profitable. By 1974, color TV had become a symbol of wealth in American households.
Analog equipment converted to digital at Channel 8 TV Station, USA - photo by Tấn Đức
Analog equipment converted to digital at Channel 8 TV Station, USA – photo by Tấn Đức
  • In 1959, Philco introduced a TV with only a 2-inch screen that could also receive radio signals.
  • Digital television signals can transmit images up to 1,080 lines. It has been a long journey since the invention of the first TV by John Logie Baird in 1926, which only used 30 lines to create a crude image.
Journalist Lưu Hoàng Vân and colleagues visit Channel 8 TV Station, USA - photo by Tấn Đức
Journalist Lưu Hoàng Vân and colleagues visit Channel 8 TV Station, USA – photo by Tấn Đức
  • In 1980, the American television industry was dominated by three major networks, while audiences in European and Asian countries had limited programming options.
  • On February 17, 2009, American television stations exclusively broadcast digital signals, ending the analog television system used in the United States for 55 years.
Digital equipment at NHK TV Station, Japan - photo by Tấn Đức
Digital equipment at NHK TV Station, Japan – photo by Tấn Đức
  • In 1972, Japan began producing and testing HDTV programs.
Digital editing room at NHK TV Station, Japan - photo by Tấn Đức
Digital editing room at NHK TV Station, Japan – photo by Tấn Đức
  • In 2000, Japan broadcast the first HDTV programs.
Digital editing equipment at NHK TV Station, Japan - photo by Tấn Đức
Digital editing equipment at NHK TV Station, Japan – photo by Tấn Đức
  • On July 24, 2011, Japan ceased nationwide analog broadcasting.

Digital equipment in the studio at KBS TV Station, Korea - photo by Tấn Đức

  • On December 31, 2012, Korea completed nationwide television digitalization.
  • On June 12, 2009, the US nationwide transitioned to digital television broadcasting.
  • In June 2010, the UK ceased analog broadcasting.
  • In 2015, Vietnam ended analog broadcasting.

Tấn Đức – E-info

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