The development of Television was not the sole effort of any one person. From the earliest to the current technology, many inventors have actively contributed to the invention process and many innovations have been entirely a collaborative effort employing many technologies and minds.
Few innovations have survived better during the test of times and continued to broadcast news, entertainment shows, etc.
Paul Nipkow – the German student was the first to use rotating discs to project a moving picture. He gave this instrument the name of “electric telescope”.
Other inventors took His invention to the next level; however this technology did not scale well for large scale broadcasting. A microwave relay system and television receivers were used by RCA for the sound. The signals were broadcast to the receiving antenna at the television set.
The next broadcast technology to emerge as a successful system was the traditional microwave relay system. By carrying huge amounts of programming, Coaxial cable was a huge popular choice for viewers.
Cable television was also introduced during the Golden Age and used as the sole redistribution method until the 1960s. With the 1960s, the pace of television technology innovation did slow down; however the first television signal was also received over the Atlantic Ocean in this same period.
Fiber Optic Cables
Fiber Optic Cable allowed cables to carry approximately 65,000 times more information than conventional copper wire. With excellent bandwidth, Fiber Optic Cables use light generated by small lasers or light emitting diodes (LEDs).
Fiber Optic Cable usually contains glass strands that are slightly thicker than human hair. Single mode fiber carries light by using very thin glass strands. The multi mode fibers use LEDs for more clarity.
With Wave Division Multiplexing; techniques were incorporated to increase the amount of data traffic, the strands could carry light at multiple different wavelengths. With much higher bandwidth, the fiber optic cable carrying capacity far exceeded the wire cables of similar thickness.
Compared to cable, fiber optic had much less need for amplifiers to boost the signal.
Cathode Ray Tube Technology
The Cathode Ray Tube consisted of a vacuum tube made entirely of glass, where the stream of electrons pass through and react with the phosphor containing screen. The first prototype using the Cathode Ray Tube was developed by Karl Ferdinand Braun.
The invention of the Cathode Ray Tube was one of the most important inventions in the history of the Television era. Created as a scanning device initially, Cathode Ray Tube combined the principles of the camera and electricity. It was more popularly known as cathode ray oscilloscope.
The existing CRT was improved by Vladimir Zworykin in 1929. The Process being patented was acquired by RCA, who began working on creating consumer television sets.
RCA’s television sales sky rocketed when the speech of the then president Franklin Roosevelt was recorded and delivered to the public. This was the beginning of television sets making their entry into consumer homes.
Black and White television series were the only choice in consumer markets until 1953. Once Color TV was made available, consumers started drifting towards RCA’s Color series.
The Color Technology
Color television was easily the favorite with improved quality, larger screens, sharper cameras and stronger broadcasts.
But long before the Color Technology cropped up, there were two types of TV categories in existence.
The Mechanical television set was developed by John Logie Baird who clearly emphasized building on the Paul Nipkow’s disk system. The first public demonstration was given by John Logie Baird in 1926. Mechanical rotating disks were used to scan moving images into electrical impulses, which were then transmitted by cable to a screen.
The first television program aired by John Logie Baird showed the two ventriloquist dummies’ head which was operated in front of the audience. This was a huge success leading to the adoption of the mechanical system by British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).
John Logie Baird’s first commercially viable television system sold over 10,000 sets in spite of their inherent technical limitations. One of the major issues was the inability to get more than 240 lines of resolution which meant fuzzy images.
If John Logie Baird had been able to make a viable market from the first mechanical television set, this would have been due to the first invention of Philo Farnsworth.
Philo Farnsworth’s realization of the capacity of an electronic beam to scan a picture and reproduce the image instantaneously, lead to the possibility of modern television as we know it. Philo Farnsworth is known as the father of Television.
The Digital Era
When the FCC standards were set, television sets were receiving program information through analog signals. With three methods for the analog signal to reach TVs, the system survived for 60 years in spite of many disadvantages. The limited resolution reduced the clarity of the image with the scan lines being displayed at regular intervals. Many Japanese companies were interested in developing a technology that provided newer and better quality formats.
The Advisory Committee on Advanced Television Services in 1987 tested various TV systems in both analog and digital. When the testing was over, the committee switched from analog to digital format in 2009.
This was done with a transition period in which broadcasters could use both analog and digital channels. When the switch took place, the older analog TV series were not usable without satellite service, digital converter or a cable. The access to analog spectrum allowed signals to travel for longer distances.
The HDTV Era
High Definition era was marked for presence when High Definition TV or HDTV came into the markets. A three dimensional experience was offered to viewers, with higher resolution than the usual standard television systems, resulting in five times as many pixels per frame.
Television viewing has increased with the introduction of HDTV. Reports indicate that people now watch television for longer periods of time since High Definition has become the newest common experience in the living room.