The Evolution of Television
The evolution of television from its first broadcast in black and white to today’s systems that deliver high-definition is a remarkable example of how technology rapidly progresses forward. Television began small, but quickly evolved over the years, as technological advances have made it possible to deliver bigger, better, and brighter images. From the dawn of the medium to modern TVs, let’s explore the history of television and the major milestones it has gone through over the years.
The Birth of Television
The world was first introduced to television in 1927 when the first electronic television was publicly demonstrated by Scottish engineer John Logie Baird. However, this system only transmitted monochrome images via radio waves. It would be a few years before a publicly available television set that could actually send and display images was produced.
In 1941, American engineer Allen DuMont released his version of home television sets. Unlike earlier versions, these sets could send and display television signals. The sets were an instant hit and by 1947 there were over 800,000 DuMont sets in operation. This marked the beginning of the age of television for the American public.
Black and White Television
Once the technology had been perfected, many stations began broadcasting in black and white. The first black and white television broadcast of a live event was the coverage of the 1948 presidential election. By 1953, over 35 million sets had been sold throughout the United States, marking a major milestone in the evolution of television.
The introduction of black and white television brought a whole new level of entertainment to the public. Programs such as I Love Lucy, The Honeymooners and The Ed Sullivan Show, showcased the talents of a new generation of entertainers. Audiences could watch events in their own homes and it marked a new era in the development of television.
The Era of Color Television
The 1950s ushered in the era of color television. The first system was developed by British engineer Peter Goldmark, who demonstrated a color television set in 1951. However, the first full-color television transmission in the United States did not take place until 1954.
Despite advances in technology, color television sets were prohibitively expensive for most people. The average color set cost around $1,000 in today’s money and so were out of reach for many. As such, the transition from black and white to color sets was slow. Nevertheless, by the 1960s, television set manufacturers had perfected the color television sets, making them smaller and more affordable. By 1967, color sets had completely outsold black and white sets.
Rise of Cable and Satellite TV
The late 1970s and 1980s heralded the birth of cable television, with services such as HBO and Showtime leading the way. Cable allowed for much better image and audio quality, allowing for clearer images and video. This quickly led to the rise of cable and satellite television, as people clamored for more choices and better picture quality.
The 1990s saw a new generation of satellite services such as DirecTV and Dish Network, which brought even more choices to consumers. With cable, satellite, and over-the-air options, viewers around the country could now watch shows from anywhere in the world.
The Digital Revolution
The late 1990s and early 2000s saw the advent of digital television, which promised bigger, better, and brighter images. Digital television systems began to be rolled out and soon allowed viewers to choose from hundreds of channels at the click of a button. Digital television also allowed broadcasters to offer an expanded range of services to viewers, including interactive programming and high-definition channels.
High Definition Television
The most recent major milestone in the evolution of television came with the introduction of high-definition television in the early 2000s. High-definition or HD offers viewers superior picture and audio quality, with images up to five times sharper than regular programming.
HD is quickly becoming the new standard for television broadcasting and more and more viewers are making the switch to HD. The availability of HD programming is continuing to grow and now virtually every new TV set on the market is HD compatible.
The Impact of Television on Society
The evolution of television from its humble beginnings in black and white to the more sophisticated HD systems of today is an incredible story of technological advancement. It’s hard to imagine a world before television and its impact on society has been immense. Television has allowed us to stay informed, entertained, and connected. It has also spurred technological innovations that have changed the way we interact with one another. From its first broadcast to the HD systems of today, television has come a long way and will no doubt continue to evolve in the years to come.