The history of television in America encompasses almost 70 years and includes everything from the invention of the devices to transmit and receive the broadcasts up and including the kind of programming that was made available to the viewing public. Although the first TV broadcast was in England in 1926, an American inventor created the first electronic image scanning device in 1927. This article discusses some of the highlight of the history of television in America, both from a programming and a device point of view. The events are arranged in a time line by decade to allow for a better understand of how the technology not only drove the programming but also changed our society.
The 1920s history of television in America:
� 1927: Bell Telephone and the U.S. Department of Commerce conducted the first experiment in using TV for long distance communication. Then 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.�
� 1928: The Federal Radio Commission issues the first television license (W3XK) to Charles Jenkins.
The 1930s history of television in America:
� 1930: Channel W3XK broadcasts the first TV commercial.
� 1933: Iowa State University (W9XK) starts broadcasting twice weekly television programs in cooperation with radio station WSUI.
� 1936: About 200 hundred television sets are in use world-wide.
� 1937: CBS begins TV program and a microwave transmitter is invented at Stanford which makes UHF broadcasting possible.
� 1939: RCA conducts broadcasts from the Empire State Building. Television was demonstrated at the New York World's. Presidential Roosevelt made the first political speech on television to introduce RCA's new line of television receivers
The 1940s history of television in America:
� 1940: the color TV was invented
� 1941: The FCC releases the NTSC standard for black and white TV.
� 1946: CBS demonstrates color television system to the FCC. The system produced color pictures by having a red-blue-green wheel spin in front of a cathode ray tube.
� 1948: Cable television is introduced in Pennsylvania as a means of bringing television to rural areas. One million homes in the United States have television sets.
The 1950s history of television in America:
� 1950: The FCC approves the first color television standard
� 1956: The first practical videotape system of broadcast quality was demonstrated
� 1956: The first remote control called the Zenith Space Commander was introduced.
The 1960s history of television in America:
� 1960: The first split screen broadcast occurs on the Kennedy - Nixon debates.
� 1962: The FCC requires that UHF tuners (channels 14 to 83) be included in all TV sets.
� 1962: AT&T launches Telstar, the first satellite to carry TV broadcasts so that TV can be broadcast internationally
� 1967: Most TV broadcasts are in color.
� 1969: 600 million people watch TV transmitted from the moon
The 1970s history of television in America:
� 1972: Half the TVs in homes are color sets.
� 1973: Giant screen projection TV is marketed.
� 1976: Sony introduces betamax, the first home video cassette recorder.
� 1978: PBS becomes the first station to switch to all satellite delivery of programs.
The 1980s history of television in America:
� 1981: NHK demonstrates HDTV with 1,125 lines of resolution.
� 1982: Dolby surround sound for home sets is introduced.
� 1983: Direct TV begins service in Indianapolis, In.
� 1984: FC approves Stereo TV broadcasts
� 1986: Super VHS is introduced.
The 1990s history of television in America:
� 1993: FCC requires closed captioning on all sets.
� 1996: The FCC approves an HDTV standard. There are over a billion TV sets world-wide.
The history of television in America since 2000:
� LCD, DLP and Plasma TV Sets introduced
� Reality shows become popular
� Home DVD recorders become common
� The 911 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center televised live
� Some TVs programs can be viewed over the internet on a personal computer.
This is not a complete history of television in America. Instead I tried to hit the highlights or at least the things that I consider important. For a more complete discussion of the history of television in America buy one of the excellent books available at your local bookstore.