History of Television (2022)

- Eureka! A history of Video Technology, By Eric Taub, Published inVariety Magazine April 1996 (I pretty much scarfed the entire article!)

1945- The FCC approves the use of 13 VHF band carrier frequencies,to be used for communications by police and fire departments - and television.Due to adjacent-channel intereference, only 7 channels can operate in any1 market.
1946- 6000 television sets are sold in the US.

- CBS demonstrates it's UHF-band color TV system to theFCC. The system is incompatible with the existing black-and-white standard,though company officials have designed an inexpensive converter for thecountries 250,000 black-and-white sets.

1948- Concerned about cross-channel interference in the VHFband, the government forbids construction of any new television transmitters.

- About 70 stations were on the air in the U.S.

1949- At the start of the year, television is attracting19 percent of the broadcast audience. By December it draws 41 percent.
1950- The FCC approves CBS's field sequential color transmissionsystem as the US standard. Using a spinning wheel inside the camera andset, this color system will be incompatible with the 20 million black-and-whitesets already in use.

- Cable TV is introduced as a means to bring broadcastreception to rural areas of the country.

- The 1st pay TV system is tested by the Skiatron Company,on New Yorks WOR.

1951- See It Now broadcasts simultaneous liveimages of the Golden Gate and Brooklyn Bridges.

- The worlds first videotape recorder is tested at BingCrosby's Los Angeles studios. The tape runs at 100 inches/second, and therecorder's reel holds 16 minutes of programming.

- The Supreme Court upholds the FCC's decision to nameCBS's incompatible color system the country's standard.

1952- The FCC devises a national plan for channel allocation,creating 550 VHF and 1,450 UHF potential channels.

- The first UHF station, KPTV in Portland, Oregon, goeson the air.

1953- RCA demonstrates it's "Compatible" 525-line NTSC colorTV system to the FCC. Allen DuMont testifies that large sets using CBS'sspinning-wheel color system would have to have internal seven-foot disksspinning at 360 miles-per-hour. The FCC reverses its decision and makesNTSC the national standard. Color broadcasts are authorized to begin inJanuary 1954.

- Casper, Wyoming's cable TV system uses a microwave relaysystems to transmit distant television signals from Denver to its own cablesystem.

1954- 500 television sets are sold in 12 months.
1956- WNBQ (now WMAQ) in Chicago is the first televisionstation in the world to broadcast all of it's own programming in volor.Two percent of Chicago homes have color sets.

- Ampex demonstrates its first VTR. The tape runs at 15inches-per-second. The machines are priced at $50,000; the company sells80 within four days of introduction.

1959- Sony, Matsushita, Toshiba, and JVC introduce helical-scanrecording, a method using less tape than the existing standard.
1962- The first satellite transmission of a television signalis relayed from AT&T's telstar bird. Orbiting in a random rather thangeosynchronous orbit, the satellite can only be used during limited periodsof the day.

- The federal government requires that all new televisionsbe capable of receiving both VHF and UHF bands.

1963- The worlds tallest structure, KTHI's transmission tower,2/5ths mile high, is built in Blanchard, North Dakota. It's noted thatif you start a 20-second commercial at the same time you drop a baseballfrom the top of the tower, the commercial will end 4 seconds before thebaseball hits the ground.

- The 1st home videotape recorders are demonstrated. Ampexsells its version exclusively through Neiman-Marcus for $30,000. The unitis nicknamed Grant's Tomb, for its size as well as for the company's marketingdirector.

1964- American Airline switches from 8mm film to video forit's in-flight entertainment system, buying Sony's 1st helical-scan recorder.

- California's voters make pay TV illegal, an effort ledby the movie and TV industries, concerned about lost profits. The SupremeCourt rules the attempt unconstitutional, but Subscription Television,Inc., by then loses $10 million and goes bankrupt.

1965- Early Bird (Intelsat 1) is launched by the InternationalTelecommunications Satellite Consortium.

- CBS announces that virtually its entire schedule willbe broadcast in color.

1966- ABC becomes an all-color network.

- Dual hetrodyne set-top converters allow regular televisionreceivers to receive more than 12 channels.

1967- Seeking to provide an alternative to commercial broadcasting,educational stations banded together to form the Public Broadcasting Service(PBS) - federally funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB)

- The U.K. begins PAL color broadcasts, simultaneouslyswitching its transmission standard from 405 to 625 scan lines.

1968- The FCC authorizes pay-cable transmissions, rulingthat only 1 pay TV station is allowed per market, only markets with 4 commercialstations can have pay, decoders can only be leased, and each pay outletmust carry a minimum of 28 hrs of free TV. Despite the restrictions, theNational Association of Theatre Owners and the joint committee AgainstToll TV go to court to block pay TV.
1969- Avco Industries ends production of its Playtape videocartridge system. Japanese manufacturers begin to take over the VCR market.

- The Supreme Court denies an injunction against pay TV.

1970- Japan's NHK begins research into high-definition television(HDTV).
1971- Electronic channel tuning is introduced.

- Sony's U-matic VCR introduced. The 1st units sell for$2,500. Sony president Akio Morita claims U-matic will be the "color videophonograph" of the 1970s.

- Sync suppression scrambling of television signals isdemonstrated at the National Cable Association convention. This allowscable operators to offer basic and premium service tiers.

- Scientific Atlanta demonstrates 2-way digital communications,the forerunner of interactive cable TV.

1972- Anik 1, the 1st domestic communications satellite travellingin a geo-synchronous orbit, is launched.

- FCC creates the Cable Television Report and Order, creatingmust-carry and may-carry stations and requiring all cable systems to bebuilt with a capacity of at least 20 channels.

- The FCC authorizes 3 over-the-air pay stations: Zenith'sPhonovision, Teleglobe's Pay TV Systems, and Blonder-Tongue Labratories'BTVision.

-The first HBO programming is transmitted to 365 ServiceElectric subscribers in Pennsylvania.

1973- Giant screen-projection color TVs begin to be marketed.

- Systems capable of offering 35 channels of programmingbecome the cable industry standard.

1975- The Walt Disney Co. and MCA sue Sony, claiming copyrightviolation by consumers using VCR's to tape their programs.

- The 1st. personal computers are sold.

- HBO begins distribution of its programming via satellite,becomming, in effect, a network.

1976- First Betamax VCR is introduced in the U.S. Pricedat $1,295, it records for a maximum of 1 hour. "Make your own TV schedule"- early ads proclaim.

-Japan Victor Corporation's (JVC) VHS (video home system)is introduced, offering double the recording time of the beta format.

- Fiber-optic cable is first used to distribute cableTV programming. This new technology increases potential channel capacityand improves picture reception.

1977- Andre' Blay, a detroit businessman, starts Video Clubof America. In 5 months he sells 40,000 pre-recorded films through themail at $50.00 each.

- 75 percent of TV homes have at least 1 color set.

- LA businessman George Atkinson becomes the 1st personto rent videotapes to the public. Within 5 years he franchises more than400 Video Station stores across the country.

- Home color TV cameras are introduced.

1978- Videodisc players are first marketed.
1980- The 1st. protable recorder and camera combinations(Camcorders) are introduced.

- The introduction of addressable cable TV convertersallows operators to control which channels each subscriber will receive,without having to send a technician to the home. With remote control ofchannel reception, pay-per-view events become a reality.

1982- VHS-C format is brought to the market.
1983- CBS describes a 1050-line high defination TV systemthat would be compatible with current 525-line broadcast standards.

- Beta format camcorders are introduced, using 8mm tapethat is incompatible with the existing VHS standard.

1984- Hughes receives an FCC permit to build and operatea high-power direct-broadcast satellite system (DSS).

- After 2 reversals, the courts finally find in favorof Sony in it's copyright dispute with MCA and Disney over home recording.

- Multi-channel stereo TV sound is authorized by the FCC.Stereo TV broadcasts begin.

1986- Scrambling of satellite signals begins, by HBO. Programs and decodersare sold to home dish owners who had been receiving pay and basic cableprogramming without charge.
1987- Sony stops marketing Beta format VCR's in the US.

- The S-VHS recording standard is introduced. Picture quality is superiorto every recorded format except laserdisc and 1-inch tape.

1988- Rupert Muroch establishes the Fox Broadcasting Company- the 4th major U.S. commercial broadcasting network.

- Sony begins it's own manufacture of VHS-format VCRs.

1989- Japan initiates the world's 1st broadcast of 1,125scanline HDTV programs.
1990- Closed-captioning decoders are required in all TVsmanufactured after July 1993.

- Developers of HDTV systems propose creating a digital,rather than analogue standard.

1991- US testing of high-definition TV systems begin.
1993- Wide-Screen NTSC 16:9 aspect ratio TV receivers goon sale in the US.

- The 1st. television program to use only computers -rather than film or videotape - to store, edit and broadcast its contentis created by L.A. special-effects producer Scott Billups.

1994- DirecTV and USSB begin digitally compressed home satelliteservices, using a 18-inch dish. The technology becomes the fastest-growingconsumer electronic item in history, with 1.1 million subscribers signingup the 1st year.
1995- InTV launches the L.A. Project, the nations 1st. interactiveTV network, on Ventura County Cablevision. Viewers can choose differentcamera angles for sporting events and select particular stories from CNN.

- Sony, Philips, and Toshiba agree on a compromise standardfor the next-generation consumer video-playback device, the CD-sized DigitalVideo Disc. DVD offers picture quality superior to broadcast TV.

- An FCC advisory group recommends a digital HDTV standardto the FCC. Wide-Screen HDTV sets are predicted to go on sale by 1997.25.7 million color TV receivers (and 460,000 Black-and White TVs) are soldthis year.


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