Sunday, May 9, 2010

History of the Television Set

The history of the television set must start with the invention of television. The first television broadcast was in 1926 in England when inventor John Baird sent images from one room to another using his home made device. It was based a mechanical scanning device invented by Nipkow in 1884. Baird�s scanner used two wooden hatboxes, with holes drilled in concentric circles, rotating on a shaft to slice the images into rows. His collector was a coffin lid coated with selenium that was attached to an electrical circuit that turned the information into a video signal. The video stream was transmitted using a conventional radio transmitter. On the receiving end, Baird again used a radio receiver to send the video signal to circuitry that converted the signal into electrical impulses to be sent to a cathode ray tube (invented in 1897 by Karl Braun). The electron gun in the tube read the electrical impulses and shot electrons at the phosphorous coating on the inside of the screen so it would glow at the proper intensity in the correct places. The history of the television set began that day.

From this humble beginning began the history of the television set. John Baird went on to found the British Broadcasting Company (BBC). He also started the first company to manufacture television sets. An ad from a 1928 London newspaper stated, �November 1928 - "Television at Olympia" The Model "A", is a portable instrument which contains a televisor only. The Model "B", a somewhat more elaborate instrument, which in addition to the televisor contains a loudspeaker, and finally, the Model "C", the most elaborate piece of furniture, where the lower part contains two super radio receivers, one for speech & music, and the other for television!�

The era of mechanical scanning TV sets was soon to be over because the history of the television set was taking off in a different direction in the US. Philo Farnsworth invented an electronic image scanning device that worked by varying current intensity over an image as it scanned back and forth in horizontal lines reading each pixel. Farnsworth successfully transmitted an image with his electronic device in 1927. Unfortunately he became immediately embattled with the giant RCA Corporation in a patent infringement lawsuit. Farnsworth eventually won, but World War II had begun and the manufacture of TVs was suspended until the war was over. After World War II, the manufacture of mechanical TV sets was abandoned for the electron version and the history of the television veered off into the electronic revolution.

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