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The History of Television

May 22, 2008
There have been very few inventions that have made the same effect on modern American culture as television. Before 1947 the number of U.S. homes in the United States with television sets could be calculated in the thousands. Yet, by the late 1990s, 98 percent of U.S. homes had a television set, and those sets were watched an average of about seven hours per day.

The electronic television was first effectively demonstrated in San Francisco on Sept. 7, 1927. The system was designed by a 21 year old inventor by the name of Philo Taylor Farnsworth, who had lived in a house without electricity until he was 14.

Farnsworth first conceived of a method that could capture moving images in a form that could be coded onto radio waves and then transformed back into a picture on a screen all the way back when he was still in high school.

Boris Rosing in Russia had conducted some basic experiments in transmitting images 16 years before Farnsworth's first success. Also, a motorized television system, which scanned images using a revolving disk with holes arranged in a spiral pattern, had been demonstrated by John Logie Baird in England and Charles Francis Jenkins in the United States prior in the 1920s. Nonetheless, Farnsworth's innovation scanned images with a beam of electrons which makes it the direct ancestor of modern television.

It wasn't until 1941 the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), which rivaled RCA's in the dominate radio market at the time, started broadcasting two 15-minute newscasts a day to a tiny audience on its first New York television station.

However, about 20 years earlier, the very first image he transmitted on this new invention was a simple line. Soon Farnsworth aimed his prehistoric camera at a dollar sign because a financial backer had asked, "When are we going to see some dollars in this thing, Farnsworth?"

Depending on the time of year, the typical American spends from two-and-a-half to almost five hours a day watching television. It is noteworthy not only that this time is being spent watching television but that it is not being spent engaging in other activities, such as reading or going out to socialize.

RCA was the company that dominated the radio business in the United States with its two NBC networks RCA invested some $50 million toward the development of the electronic television. It was in 1939 that RCA televised the opening of the New York World's Fair, including a speech by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who, by the way, was the first president to appear on television.

Later that same year RCA paid for a license to use Farnsworth's television patents. RCA began selling television sets with 5 by 12 in picture tubes soon after. RCA was also the first company to start broadcasting regular television programs, including scenes captured by a mobile unit and, on May 17, 1939, the first televised baseball game that was between Princeton and Columbia universities. Thus began the history of television.
About the Author
Michael Littles, a technology history buff is a big supporter of Satellite TV to your PC. He writes about the benefits of this technology often and shares what he knows about the advantages of this new technology. Get your free video by visiting: http://www.tv2pc.nxagemco.com
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