Not to be confused with broadcast programming.
A television show is a series of related productions intended for broadcast on over-the-air, cable television or Internet television, other than a commercial, trailer or any other segment of content not serving as attraction for viewership. More rarely, it may be a single production, also called a television program (British English: programme).
A limited number of episodes of a television show may be called a miniseries or a serial or limited series. A television series is without a fixed length and are usually divided into seasons (U.S. and Canada) or series (UK), yearly or semiannual sets of new episodes. While there is no defined length, U.S. industry practice has traditionally favored longer television seasons than those of other countries.
A one-time broadcast may be called a "special" or particularly in the UK a "special episode". A television film ("made-for-TV movie" or "television movie") is a film that is initially broadcast on television rather than released in theaters or direct-to-video.
A program can be either recorded, as on video tape, other various electronic media forms, played with an on-demand player or viewed on live television.
Television programs may be fictional (as in comedies and dramas), or non-fictional (as in documentary, news, and reality television). It may be topical (as in the case of a localnewscast and some made-for-television films), or historical (as in the case of many documentaries and fictional series). They could be primarily instructional or educational, or entertaining as is the case in situation comedy and game shows.
A drama program usually features a set of actors playing characters in a historical or contemporary setting. The program follows their lives and adventures. Except for soap opera-type serials, many shows especially before the 1980s, remained static without story arcs, and the main characters and premise changed little. If some change happened to the characters' lives during the episode, it was usually undone by the end. Because of this, the episodes could be broadcast in any order. Since the 1980s, there are many series that feature progressive change to the plot, the characters, or both. For instance, Hill Street Blues and St. Elsewhere were two of the first American prime time drama television series to have this kind of dramatic structure.[better reference needed] While the later series, Babylon 5 is an extreme example of such production that had a predetermined story running over its intended five-season run.
In 2012, it was reported that television was growing into a larger component of major media companies' revenues than film. Some also noted the increase in quality of some television programs. In 2012, Academy-Award-winning film director Steven Soderbergh, commenting on ambiguity and complexity of character and narrative, stated: "I think those qualities are now being seen on television and that people who want to see stories that have those kinds of qualities are watching television."
See also: List of genres § Film and television formats and genres
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it.(February 2017)
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it.(February 2017)
When a person or company decides to create a new series, they develop the show's elements, consisting of the concept, the characters, the crew, and cast. Then they often "pitch" it to the various networks in an attempt to find one interested enough to order a prototype first episode of the series, known as a pilot. Eric Coleman, an animation executive at Disney, told an interviewer, "One misconception is that it’s very difficult to get in and pitch your show, when the truth is that development executives at networks want very much to hear ideas. They want very much to get the word out on what types of shows they’re looking for."
To create the pilot, the structure and team of the whole series must be put together. If the network likes the pilot, they pick up the show to air it the next season (usually Fall). Sometimes they save it for mid-season, or request rewrites and father review (known in the industry as development hell). Other times, they pass entirely, forcing the show's creator to "shop it around" to other networks. Many shows never make it past the pilot stage.
The show hires a stable of writers, who usually work in parallel: the first writer works on the first episode, the second on the second episode, etc. When all the writers have been used, episode assignment starts again with the first writer. On other shows, however, the writers work as a team. Sometimes they develop story ideas individually, and pitch them to the show's creator, who folds them together into a script and rewrites them.
If the show is picked up, the network orders a "run" of episodes—usually only six or 13 episodes at first, though a season typically consists of at least 22 episodes. The midseason seven and last nine episodes are sometimes called the "mid-seven" and "back nine"—borrowing the colloquial terms from bowling and golf.
The method of "team writing" is employed on some longer dramatic series (usually running up to a maximum of around 13 episodes). The idea for such a program may be generated "in-house" by one of the networks; it could originate from an independent production company (sometimes a product of both). For example, the BBC's long-running soap opera EastEnders is wholly a BBC production, whereas its popular drama Life on Mars was developed by Kudos in association with the broadcaster.
However, there are still a significant number of programs (usually sitcoms) that are built around just one or two writers and a small, close-knit production team. These are "pitched" in the traditional way, but since the creator(s) handle all the writing requirements, there is a run of six or seven episodes per series once approval has been given. Many of the most popular British comedies have been made this way, including Monty Python's Flying Circus (albeit with an exclusive team of six writer-performers), Fawlty Towers, Blackadder and The Office.
This section needs expansion with: coverage of other countries. You can help by adding to it.(February 2017)
The production company is often separate from the broadcaster. The executive producer, often the show's creator, is in charge of running the show. They pick the crew and help cast the actors, approve and sometimes write series plots—some even write or direct major episodes—while various other producers help to ensure that the show runs smoothly. Very occasionally, the executive producer will cast themselves in the show. As with filmmaking or other electronic media production, producing of an individual episode can be divided into three parts: pre-production, principal photography, and post-production.
Main article: Pre-production
Pre-production begins when a script is approved. A director is chosen to plan the episode's final look.
Pre-production tasks include storyboarding, construction of sets, props, and costumes, casting guest stars, budgeting, acquiring resources like lighting, special effects, stunts, etc. Once the show is planned, it must then be scheduled; scenes are often filmed out of sequence, guest actors or even regulars may only be available at certain times. Sometimes the principal photography of different episodes must be done at the same time, complicating the schedule (a guest star might shoot scenes from two episodes on the same afternoon). Complex scenes are translated from storyboard to animatics to further clarify the action. Scripts are adjusted to meet altering requirements.
Some shows have a small stable of directors, but also usually rely on outside directors. Given the time constraints of broadcasting, a single show might have two or three episodes in pre-production, one or two episodes in principal photography, and a few more in various stages of post-production. The task of directing is complex enough that a single director can usually not work on more than one episode or show at a time, hence the need for multiple directors.
Main article: Principal photography
Principal photography is the actual filming of the episode. Director, actors and crew gather at a television studio or on location for filming or videoing a scene. A scene is further divided into shots, which should be planned during pre-production. Depending on scheduling, a scene may be shot in non-sequential order of the story. Conversations may be filmed twice from different camera angles, often using stand-ins, so one actor might perform all their lines in one set of shots, and then the other side of the conversation is filmed from the opposite perspective. To complete a production on time, a second unit may be filming a different scene on another set or location at the same time, using a different set of actors, an assistant director, and a second unit crew. A director of photography supervises the lighting of each shot to ensure consistency.
Main article: Post-production
Once principal photography is complete, producers coordinate tasks to begin the video editing. Visual and digital video effects are added to the film; this is often outsourced to companies specializing in these areas. Often music is performed with the conductor using the film as a time reference (other musical elements may be previously recorded). An editor cuts the various pieces of film together, adds the musical score and effects, determines scene transitions, and assembles the completed show.
Budgets and revenues
Most television networks throughout the world are 'commercial', dependent on selling advertising time or acquiring sponsors. Broadcasting executives' main concern over their programming is on audience size. Once the number of 'free to air' stations was restricted by the availability of channel frequencies, but cable TV (outside the United States, satellite television) technology has allowed an expansion in the number of channels available to viewers (sometimes at premium rates) in a much more competitive environment.
In the United States, the average broadcast network drama costs $3 million an episode to produce, while cable dramas cost $2 million on average. The pilot episode may be more expensive than a regular episode. In 2004, Lost's two-hour pilot cost $10–$14 million, in 2008 Fringe's two-hour pilot cost $10 million, and in 2010, Boardwalk Empire was $18 million for the first episode. In 2011, Game of Thrones was $5–$10 million, Pan Am cost an estimated $10 million, while Terra Nova's two-hour pilot was between $10 to $20 million.
Many scripted network television shows in the United States are financed through deficit financing: a studio finances the production cost of a show and a network pays a license fee to the studio for the right to air the show. This license fee does not cover the show's production costs, leading to the deficit. Although the studio does not make its money back in the original airing of the show, it retains ownership of the show. This ownership retention allows the studio to make its money back and earn a profit through syndication and DVD and Blu-ray disc sales. This system places most of the financial risk on the studios, however a show that is a hit in the syndication and home video markets can more than make up for the misses. Although the deficit financing system places minimal financial risk on the networks, they lose out on the future profits of big hits, since they are only licensing the shows.
Costs are recouped mainly by advertising revenues for broadcast networks and some cable channels, while other cable channels depend on subscription revenues. In general, advertisers, and consequently networks that depend on advertising revenues, are more interested in the number of viewers within the 18–49 age range than the total number of viewers. Advertisers are willing to pay more to advertise on shows successful with young adults because they watch less television and are harder to reach than older adults. According to Advertising Age, during the 2007–08 season, Grey's Anatomy was able to charge $419,000 per commercial, compared to only $248,000 for a commercial during CSI, despite CSI having almost five million more viewers on average. Due to its strength in young demos, Friends was able to charge almost three times as much for a commercial as Murder, She Wrote, even though the two series had similar total viewer numbers during the seasons they were on the air together.Glee and The Office drew fewer total viewers than NCIS during the 2009–10 season, but earned an average of $272,694 and $213,617 respectively, compared to $150,708 for NCIS.
Main article: Broadcast syndication
After production, the show is turned over to the television network, which sends it out to its affiliatestations, which broadcast it in the specified broadcast programming time slot. If the Nielsen ratings are good, the show is kept alive as long as possible. If not, the show is usually canceled. The show's creators are then left to shop around remaining episodes, and the possibility of future episodes, to other networks. On especially successful series, the producers sometimes call a halt to a series on their own like Seinfeld, The Cosby Show, Corner Gas, and M*A*S*H and end it with a concluding episode, which sometimes is a big series finale.
On rare occasions, a series that has not attracted particularly high ratings and has been canceled can be given a reprieve if home video viewership has been particularly strong. This has happened in the cases of Family Guy in the U.S. and Peep Show in the UK.
If the show is popular or lucrative, and a number of episodes (usually 100 episodes or more) are made, it goes into broadcast syndication (in the United States) where rights to broadcast the program are then resold for cash or put into a barter exchange (offered to an outlet for free in exchange for airing additional commercials elsewhere in the station's broadcast day).
This section needs expansion with: coverage of other countries. You can help by adding to it.(February 2017)
The terminology used to define a set of episodes produced by a television series varies from country to country.
North American usage
See also: Serial (radio and television)
In North American television, a series is a connected set of television program episodes that run under the same title, possibly spanning many seasons. Since the late 1960s, this broadcast programming schedule typically includes between 20 and 26 episodes. (Before then, a regular television season could average out to at least 30 episodes.) Until the 1980s, most (but certainly not all) new programs for the broadcast networks debuted in the "Fall Season", which ran from September through March and nominally contained from 24 to 26 episodes. These episodes were rebroadcast during the Spring (or Summer) Season, from April through August. Because of cable television and the Nielsen sweeps, the "fall" season now normally extends to May. Thus, a "full season" on a broadcast network now usually runs from September through May for at least 22 episodes.
A full season is sometimes split into two separate units with a hiatus around the end of the calendar year, such as the first season of Jericho on CBS. When this split occurs, the last half of the episodes sometimes are referred to with the letter B as in "The last nine episodes (of The Sopranos) will be part of what is being called either "Season 6, Part 2" or "Season 6B", or in "Futurama is splitting its seasons similar to how South Park does, doing half a season at a time, so this is season 6B for them." Since the 1990s, these shorter seasons also have been referred to as ".5" or half seasons, where the run of shows between September and December is labeled "Season X", and the second run between January and May labeled "Season X.5". Examples of this include the 2004 incarnation of Battlestar Galactica, ABC's FlashForward, and ABC Family's Make It or Break It.
Nowadays, a new series is often ordered (funded) for just the first 10 to 13 episodes, to gauge the audience interest. If it is "picked up", the season is completed to the regular 20 to 26 episodes. A midseason replacement is an inexpensive short-run (10–13 episode) show designed to take the place of an original series that failed to garner an audience and has not been picked up. A "series finale" is the last show of the series before the show is no longer produced. (In the UK, it means the end of a season, what is known in the United States as a "season finale").
Miniseries, limited series, and event series
While network orders for 13- or 22-episode seasons are still pervasive in the television industry, several popular shows have deviated from the traditional trend. Written to be close-ended and of shorter length than other shows, they are marketed with a variety of terms.
Miniseries is the traditional term used to describe a very short closed-ended series, typically six or more hours in two or more parts (nights), similar to an extended television movie. Many early miniseries were adaptations of popular novels of the day, such as The National Dream (1974), Roots (1977), and North and South (1985). In recent years, as described by several television executives interviewed by The Hollywood Reporter, the term "miniseries" has grown to have a negative connotations within the industry, having become associated with melodrama-heavy works that were commonly produced under the format, while "limited series" or "event series" demand higher respect.
Limited series are distinct from miniseries in that the production is seen to have potential to be renewed, but without the requirement of it having as many episodes as a typical order per season. Under the Dome, Killer Women, and Luther were marketed as limited series. Individual season-length stories of anthology series such as American Horror Story, Fargo, and True Detective are also described as "limited series". The Primetime Emmys have had to make numerous changes to their miniseries/limited series category to accommodate anthology and other limited series.
Event series is largely considered a marketing term, falling under the general category of event television. The term can be applied to almost any new, short-run series, such 24: Live Another Day. It has also been used to describe game shows like The Million Second Quiz which aired for just two weeks.
UK and Australia usage
In the United Kingdom and other countries, these sets of episodes are referred to as a "series". In Australia, the broadcasting may be different from North American usage; however, the terms series and season are both used and are the same. For example, Battlestar Galactica has an original series as well as a remake, both are considered a different series each with their own number of individual seasons.
Australian television does not follow "seasons" in the way that U.S. television does; for example, there is no "fall season" or "fall schedule". For many years, popular night-time dramas in Australia would run for much of the year, and would only go into recess during the summer period (December–February, as Australia is in the Southern Hemisphere), when ratings are not taken. Therefore, popular dramas would usually run from February through November each year. This schedule was used in the 1970s for popular dramas including Number 96. Many drama series, such as McLeod's Daughters, have received in the majority of between 22 and 32 episodes per season. Typically, a soap opera such as Home and Away would begin a new season in late January and the season finale would air in late November, with 220–230 episodes per season. However, during the Olympics, Home and Away would often go on hiatus, which is referred to as an "Olympic cliffhanger". Therefore, the number of episodes would decrease. Australian situation comedy series' seasons are approximately 13 episodes long and premiere any time in between February and November.
British shows have tended toward shorter series in recent years. For example, the first series of long-running science fiction show Doctor Who in 1963 featured forty-two 25‑minute episodes, this dropped to twenty-five by 1970 to accommodate changes in production and continued to 1984. For 1985 fewer but longer episodes were shown, but even after a return to shorter episodes in 1986, lack of support within the BBC meant fewer episodes were commissioned leading to only fourteen 25‑minute episodes up to those in 1989 after which it was cancelled. The revival of Doctor Who from 2005 has comprised thirteen 45‑minute installments. However, there are some series in the UK that have a larger number of episodes, for example Waterloo Road started with 8 to 12 episodes, but from series three onward it increased to twenty episodes, and series seven will contain 30 episodes. Recently, American non-cable networks have also begun to experiment with shorter series for some programs, particularly reality shows, such as Survivor. However, they often air two series per year, resulting in roughly the same number of episodes per year as a drama.
This is a reduction from the 1950s, in which many American shows (e.g. Gunsmoke) had between 29 and 39 episodes per season. Actual storytelling time within a commercial television hour has also gradually reduced over the years, from 50 minutes out of every 60 to the current 44 (and even less on some networks), beginning in the early 21st century.
The usage of "season" and "series" differ for DVD and Blu-ray releases in both Australia and the UK. In Australia, many locally produced shows are termed differently on home video releases. For example, a set of the television drama series Packed to the Rafters or Wentworth is referred to as "season" ("The Complete First Season", etc.), whereas drama series such as Tangle are known as a "series" ("Series 1", etc.). However, British-produced shows such as Mrs. Brown's Boys are referred to as "season" in Australia for the DVD and Blu-ray releases.
In the UK, most British-produced shows are referred to as "series" for DVD and Blu-ray, except for shows such as the drama series Hex and Echo Beach, which are known as "season". "Season" is only used for releases of American, Australian, and international shows. Although, in the past when an American series was released, it was referred to as "series", for example, Friends: Series 1. However, any subsequent re-release are now known as "season".
In the United States, dramas produced for hour-long time slots typically are 39 to 42 minutes in length (excluding advertisements), while sitcoms produced for 30-minute time slots typically are 18 to 21 minutes long. There are exceptions as subscription-based TV channels (such as HBO, Starz, Cinemax, and Showtime) have episodes with 45 to 48 minutes of program, similar to Britain.
In Britain dramas run from about 45 to 48 minutes, with 57 to 59 minutes on BBC1. Sitcoms vary greatly and are between 22 and 27 minutes generally and 27 to 29 minutes on BBC1. The longer duration on the national television channels (BBC1 and BBC2) is due to the lack of advertising, requiring time only for bridging commentary and trailers in each program slot.
In France most television shows (whether dramas, game shows or documentaries) have a duration of 52 minutes. This is the same on nearly all French networks (TF1, France 2, France 5, M6, Canal+, etc.).
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For other uses, see Television (disambiguation) and TV (disambiguation).
This article is about television as a medium. For the appliance itself, see television set.
Television (TV) is a telecommunication medium used for transmitting moving images in monochrome (black and white), or in colour, and in two or three dimensions and sound. The term can refer to a television set, a television program ("TV show"), or the medium of television transmission. Television is a mass medium for entertainment, sports, education, news, courtroom drama, vintage programming, politics, gossip and advertising.
Television became available in crude experimental forms in the late 1920s, but it would still be several years before the new technology would be marketed to consumers. After World War II, an improved form of black-and-white TV broadcasting became popular in the United States and Britain, and television sets became commonplace in homes, businesses, and institutions. During the 1950s, television was the primary medium for influencing public opinion. In the mid-1960s, color broadcasting was introduced in the US and most other developed countries. The availability of multiple types of archival storage media such as Betamax, VHS tape, local disks, DVDs, flash drives, high-definition Blu-ray Discs, and cloud digital video recorders have enabled viewers to watch pre-recorded material—such as movies— at home on their own time schedule. For many reasons, especially the convenience of remote retrieval, the storage of television and video programming now occurs on the cloud. At the end of the first decade of the 2000s, digital television transmissions greatly increased in popularity. Another development was the move from standard-definition television (SDTV) (576i, with 576 interlaced lines of resolution and 480i) to high-definition television (HDTV), which provides a resolution that is substantially higher. HDTV may be transmitted in various formats: 1080p, 1080i and 720p. Since 2010, with the invention of smart television, Internet television has increased the availability of television programs and movies via the Internet through streaming video services such as Netflix, Amazon Video, iPlayer, Hulu, Roku and Chromecast.
In 2013, 79% of the world's households owned a television set. The replacement of early bulky, high-voltage cathode ray tube (CRT) screen displays with compact, energy-efficient, flat-panel alternative technologies such as LCDs (both fluorescent-backlit and LED), OLED displays, and plasma displays was a hardware revolution that began with computer monitors in the late 1990s. Most TV sets sold in the 2000s were flat-panel, mainly LEDs. Major manufacturers announced the discontinuation of CRT, DLP, plasma, and even fluorescent-backlit LCDs by the mid-2010s. In the near future, LEDs are expected to be gradually replaced by OLEDs. Also, major manufacturers have announced that they will increasingly produce smart TVs in the mid-2010s.Smart TVs with integrated Internet and Web 2.0 functions became the dominant form of television by the late 2010s.
Television signals were initially distributed only as terrestrial television using high-powered radio-frequency transmitters to broadcast the signal to individual television receivers. Alternatively television signals are distributed by coaxial cable or optical fiber, satellite systems and, since the 2000s via the Internet. Until the early 2000s, these were transmitted as analog signals, but a transition to digital television is expected to be completed worldwide by the late 2010s. A standard television set is composed of multiple internal electronic circuits, including a tuner for receiving and decoding broadcast signals. A visual display device which lacks a tuner is correctly called a video monitor rather than a television.
The word television comes from Ancient Greek τῆλε (tèle), meaning 'far', and Latinvisio, meaning 'sight'. The first documented usage of the term dates back to 1900, when the Russian scientist Constantin Perskyi used it in a paper that he presented in French at the 1st International Congress of Electricity, which ran from 18 to 25 August 1900 during the International World Fair in Paris. The Anglicised version of the term is first attested in 1907, when it was still "...a theoretical system to transmit moving images over telegraph or telephone wires". It was "...formed in English or borrowed from French télévision." In the 19th century and early 20th century, other "...proposals for the name of a then-hypothetical technology for sending pictures over distance were telephote (1880) and televista (1904)." The abbreviation "TV" is from 1948. The use of the term to mean "a television set" dates from 1941. The use of the term to mean "television as a medium" dates from 1927. The slang term "telly" is more common in the UK. The slang term "the tube" or the "boob tube" refers to the bulky cathode ray tube used on most TVs until the advent of flat-screen TVs. Another slang term for the TV is "idiot box".
Main article: History of television
Main article: Mechanical television
Facsimile transmission systems for still photographs pioneered methods of mechanical scanning of images in the early 19th century. Alexander Bain introduced the facsimile machine between 1843 and 1846. Frederick Bakewell demonstrated a working laboratory version in 1851.Willoughby Smith discovered the photoconductivity of the element selenium in 1873. As a 23-year-old German university student, Paul Julius Gottlieb Nipkow proposed and patented the Nipkow disk in 1884. This was a spinning disk with a spiral pattern of holes in it, so each hole scanned a line of the image. Although he never built a working model of the system, variations of Nipkow's spinning-disk "image rasterizer" became exceedingly common.Constantin Perskyi had coined the word television in a paper read to the International Electricity Congress at the International World Fair in Paris on 24 August 1900. Perskyi's paper reviewed the existing electromechanical technologies, mentioning the work of Nipkow and others. However, it was not until 1907 that developments in amplification tube technology by Lee de Forest and Arthur Korn, among others, made the design practical.
The first demonstration of the live transmission of images was by Georges Rignoux and A. Fournier in Paris in 1909. A matrix of 64 selenium cells, individually wired to a mechanical commutator, served as an electronic retina. In the receiver, a type of Kerr cell modulated the light and a series of variously angled mirrors attached to the edge of a rotating disc scanned the modulated beam onto the display screen. A separate circuit regulated synchronization. The 8x8 pixel resolution in this proof-of-concept demonstration was just sufficient to clearly transmit individual letters of the alphabet. An updated image was transmitted "several times" each second. In 1921 Edouard Belin sent the first image via radio waves with his belinograph.
In 1911, Boris Rosing and his student Vladimir Zworykin created a system that used a mechanical mirror-drum scanner to transmit, in Zworykin's words, "very crude images" over wires to the "Braun tube" (cathode ray tube or "CRT") in the receiver. Moving images were not possible because, in the scanner: "the sensitivity was not enough and the selenium cell was very laggy".
By the 1920s, when amplification made television practical, Scottish inventor John Logie Baird employed the Nipkow disk in his prototype video systems. On 25 March 1925, Baird gave the first public demonstration of televised silhouette images in motion, at Selfridge's Department Store in London. Since human faces had inadequate contrast to show up on his primitive system, he televised a ventriloquist's dummy named "Stooky Bill", whose painted face had higher contrast, talking and moving. By 26 January 1926, he demonstrated the transmission of the image of a face in motion by radio. This is widely regarded as the first television demonstration. The subject was Baird's business partner Oliver Hutchinson. Baird's system used the Nipkow disk for both scanning the image and displaying it. A bright light shining through a spinning Nipkow disk set with lenses projected a bright spot of light which swept across the subject. A Selenium photoelectric tube detected the light reflected from the subject and converted it into a proportional electrical signal. This was transmitted by AM radio waves to a receiver unit, where the video signal was applied to a neon light behind a second Nipkow disk rotating synchronized with the first. The brightness of the neon lamp was varied in proportion to the brightness of each spot on the image. As each hole in the disk passed by, one scan line of the image was reproduced. Baird's disk had 30 holes, producing an image with only 30 scan lines, just enough to recognize a human face. In 1927, Baird transmitted a signal over 438 miles (705 km) of telephone line between London and Glasgow.
In 1928, Baird's company (Baird Television Development Company/Cinema Television) broadcast the first transatlantic television signal, between London and New York, and the first shore-to-ship transmission. In 1929, he became involved in the first experimental mechanical television service in Germany. In November of the same year, Baird and Bernard Natan of Pathé established France's first television company, Télévision-Baird-Natan. In 1931, he made the first outdoor remote broadcast, of The Derby. In 1932, he demonstrated ultra-short wave television. Baird's mechanical system reached a peak of 240-lines of resolution on BBC television broadcasts in 1936, though the mechanical system did not scan the televised scene directly. Instead a 17.5mm film was shot, rapidly developed and then scanned while the film was still wet.
An American inventor, Charles Francis Jenkins, also pioneered the television. He published an article on "Motion Pictures by Wireless" in 1913, but it was not until December 1923 that he transmitted moving silhouette images for witnesses; and it was on 13 June 1925, that he publicly demonstrated synchronized transmission of silhouette pictures. In 1925 Jenkins used the Nipkow disk and transmitted the silhouette image of a toy windmill in motion, over a distance of five miles, from a naval radio station in Maryland to his laboratory in Washington, D.C., using a lensed disk scanner with a 48-line resolution. He was granted U.S. Patent No. 1,544,156 (Transmitting Pictures over Wireless) on 30 June 1925 (filed 13 March 1922).
Herbert E. Ives and Frank Gray of Bell Telephone Laboratories gave a dramatic demonstration of mechanical television on 7 April 1927. Their reflected-light television system included both small and large viewing screens. The small receiver had a 2-inch-wide by 2.5-inch-high screen. The large receiver had a screen 24 inches wide by 30 inches high. Both sets were capable of reproducing reasonably accurate, monochromatic, moving images. Along with the pictures, the sets received synchronized sound. The system transmitted images over two paths: first, a copper wire link from Washington to New York City, then a radio link from Whippany, New Jersey. Comparing the two transmission methods, viewers noted no difference in quality. Subjects of the telecast included Secretary of CommerceHerbert Hoover. A flying-spot scanner beam illuminated these subjects. The scanner that produced the beam had a 50-aperture disk. The disc revolved at a rate of 18 frames per second, capturing one frame about every 56 milliseconds. (Today's systems typically transmit 30 or 60 frames per second, or one frame every 33.3 or 16.7 milliseconds respectively.) Television historian Albert Abramson underscored the significance of the Bell Labs demonstration: "It was in fact the best demonstration of a mechanical television system ever made to this time. It would be several years before any other system could even begin to compare with it in picture quality."
In 1928, WRGB, then W2XB, was started as the world's first television station. It broadcast from the General Electric facility in Schenectady, NY. It was popularly known as "WGY Television". Meanwhile, in the Soviet Union, Léon Theremin had been developing a mirror drum-based television, starting with 16 lines resolution in 1925, then 32 lines and eventually 64 using interlacing in 1926. As part of his thesis, on 7 May 1926, he electrically transmitted, and then projected, near-simultaneous moving images on a five-foot square screen. By 1927 he achieved an image of 100 lines, a resolution that was not surpassed until May 1932 by RCA, with 120 lines. On 25 December 1926, Kenjiro Takayanagi demonstrated a television system with a 40-line resolution that employed a Nipkow disk scanner and CRT display at Hamamatsu Industrial High School in Japan. This prototype is still on display at the Takayanagi Memorial Museum in Shizuoka University, Hamamatsu Campus. His research in creating a production model was halted by the United States after Japan lost World War II.
Because only a limited number of holes could be made in the disks, and disks beyond a certain diameter became impractical, image resolution on mechanical television broadcasts was relatively low, ranging from about 30 lines up to 120 or so. Nevertheless, the image quality of 30-line transmissions steadily improved with technical advances, and by 1933 the UK broadcasts using the Baird system were remarkably clear. A few systems ranging into the 200-line region also went on the air. Two of these were the 180-line system that Compagnie des Compteurs (CDC) installed in Paris in 1935, and the 180-line system that Peck Television Corp. started in 1935 at station VE9AK in Montreal. The advancement of all-electronic television (including image dissectors and other camera tubes and cathode ray tubes for the reproducer) marked the beginning of the end for mechanical systems as the dominant form of television. Mechanical television, despite its inferior image quality and generally smaller picture, would remain the primary television technology until the 1930s. The last mechanical television broadcasts ended in 1939 at stations run by a handful of public universities in the United States.
Main article: Video camera tube
In 1897, English physicistJ. J. Thomson was able, in his three famous experiments, to deflect cathode rays, a fundamental function of the modern cathode ray tube (CRT). The earliest version of the CRT was invented by the German physicist Ferdinand Braun in 1897 and is also known as the "Braun" tube. It was a cold-cathodediode, a modification of the Crookes tube, with a phosphor-coated screen. In 1906 the Germans Max Dieckmann and Gustav Glage produced raster images for the first time in a CRT. In 1907, Russian scientist Boris Rosing used a CRT in the receiving end of an experimental video signal to form a picture. He managed to display simple geometric shapes onto the screen.
In 1908 Alan Archibald Campbell-Swinton, fellow of the Royal Society (UK), published a letter in the scientific journal Nature in which he described how "distant electric vision" could be achieved by using a cathode ray tube, or Braun tube, as both a transmitting and receiving device, He expanded on his vision in a speech given in London in 1911 and reported in The Times and the Journal of the Röntgen Society. In a letter to Nature published in October 1926, Campbell-Swinton also announced the results of some "not very successful experiments" he had conducted with G. M. Minchin and J. C. M. Stanton. They had attempted to generate an electrical signal by projecting an image onto a selenium-coated metal plate that was simultaneously scanned by a cathode ray beam. These experiments were conducted before March 1914, when Minchin died, but they were later repeated by two different teams in 1937, by H. Miller and J. W. Strange from EMI, and by H. Iams and A. Rose from RCA. Both teams succeeded in transmitting "very faint" images with the original Campbell-Swinton's selenium-coated plate. Although others had experimented with using a cathode ray tube as a receiver, the concept of using one as a transmitter was novel. The first cathode ray tube to use a hot cathode was developed by John B. Johnson (who gave his name to the term Johnson noise) and Harry Weiner Weinhart of Western Electric, and became a commercial product in 1922.
In 1926, Hungarian engineer Kálmán Tihanyi designed a television system utilizing fully electronic scanning and display elements and employing the principle of "charge storage" within the scanning (or "camera") tube. The problem of low sensitivity to light resulting in low electrical output from transmitting or "camera" tubes would be solved with the introduction of charge-storage technology by Kálmán Tihanyi beginning in 1924. His solution was a camera tube that accumulated and stored electrical charges ("photoelectrons") within the tube throughout each scanning cycle. The device was first described in a patent application he filed in Hungary in March 1926 for a television system he dubbed "Radioskop". After further refinements included in a 1928 patent application, Tihanyi's patent was declared void in Great Britain in 1930, so he applied for patents in the United States. Although his breakthrough would be incorporated into the design of RCA's "iconoscope" in 1931, the U.S. patent for Tihanyi's transmitting tube would not be granted until May 1939. The patent for his receiving tube had been granted the previous October. Both patents had been purchased by RCA prior to their approval. Charge storage remains a basic principle in the design of imaging devices for television to the present day. On 25 December 1926, at Hamamatsu Industrial High School in Japan, Japanese inventor Kenjiro Takayanagi demonstrated a TV system with a 40-line resolution that employed a CRT display. This was the first working example of a fully electronic television receiver. Takayanagi did not apply for a patent.
On 7 September 1927, American inventor Philo Farnsworth's image dissector camera tube transmitted its first image, a simple straight line, at his laboratory at 202 Green Street in San Francisco. By 3 September 1928, Farnsworth had developed the system sufficiently to hold a demonstration for the press. This is widely regarded as the first electronic television demonstration. In 1929, the system was improved further by the elimination of a motor generator, so that his television system now had no mechanical parts. That year, Farnsworth transmitted the first live human images with his system, including a three and a half-inch image of his wife Elma ("Pem") with her eyes closed (possibly due to the bright lighting required).
Meanwhile, Vladimir Zworykin was also experimenting with the cathode ray tube to create and show images. While working for Westinghouse Electric in 1923, he began to develop an electronic camera tube. But in a 1925 demonstration, the image was dim, had low contrast, and poor definition, and was stationary. Zworykin's imaging tube never got beyond the laboratory stage. But RCA, which acquired the Westinghouse patent, asserted that the patent for Farnsworth's 1927 image dissector was written so broadly that it would exclude any other electronic imaging device. Thus RCA, on the basis of Zworykin's 1923 patent application, filed a patent interference suit against Farnsworth. The U.S. Patent Office examiner disagreed in a 1935 decision, finding priority of invention for Farnsworth against Zworykin. Farnsworth claimed that Zworykin's 1923 system would be unable to produce an electrical image of the type to challenge his patent. Zworykin received a patent in 1928 for a color transmission version of his 1923 patent application; he also divided his original application in 1931. Zworykin was unable or unwilling to introduce evidence of a working model of his tube that was based on his 1923 patent application. In September 1939, after losing an appeal in the courts, and determined to go forward with the commercial manufacturing of television equipment, RCA agreed to pay Farnsworth US$1 million over a ten-year period, in addition to license payments, to use his patents.
In 1933, RCA introduced an improved camera tube that relied on Tihanyi's charge storage principle. Dubbed the "Iconoscope" by Zworykin, the new tube had a light sensitivity of about 75,000 lux, and thus was claimed to be much more sensitive than Farnsworth's image dissector. However, Farnsworth had overcome his power problems with his Image Dissector through the invention of a completely unique "multipactor" device that he began work on in 1930, and demonstrated in 1931. This small tube could amplify a signal reportedly to the 60th power or better and showed great promise in all fields of electronics. Unfortunately, a problem with the multipactor was that it wore out at an unsatisfactory rate.
At the Berlin Radio Show in August 1931, Manfred von Ardenne gave a public demonstration of a television system using a CRT for both transmission and reception. However, Ardenne had not developed a camera tube, using the CRT instead as a flying-spot scanner to scan slides and film. Philo Farnsworth gave the world's first public demonstration of an all-electronic television system, using a live camera, at the Franklin Institute of Philadelphia on 25 August 1934, and for ten days afterwards. Mexican inventor Guillermo González Camarena also played an important role in early TV. His experiments with TV (known as telectroescopía at first) began in 1931 and led to a patent for the "trichromatic field sequential system" color television in 1940. In Britain, the EMI engineering team led by Isaac Shoenberg applied in 1932 for a patent for a new device they dubbed "the Emitron", which formed the heart of the cameras they designed for the BBC. On 2 November 1936, a 405-line broadcasting service employing the Emitron began at studios in Alexandra Palace, and transmitted from a specially built mast atop one of the Victorian building's towers. It alternated for a short time with Baird's mechanical system in adjoining studios, but was more reliable and visibly superior. This was the world's first regular "high-definition" television service.
The original American iconoscope was noisy, had a high ratio of interference to signal, and ultimately gave disappointing results, especially when compared to the high definition mechanical scanning systems then becoming available. The EMI team, under the supervision of Isaac Shoenberg, analyzed how the iconoscope (or Emitron) produces an electronic signal and concluded that its real efficiency was only about 5% of the theoretical maximum. They solved this problem by developing, and patenting in 1934, two new camera tubes dubbed super-Emitron and CPS Emitron. The super-Emitron was between ten and fifteen times more sensitive than the original Emitron and iconoscope tubes and, in some cases, this ratio was considerably greater. It was used for outside broadcasting by the BBC, for the first time, on Armistice Day 1937, when the general public could watch on a television set as the King laid a wreath at the Cenotaph. This was the first time that anyone had broadcast a live street scene from cameras installed on the roof of neighboring buildings, because neither Farnsworth nor RCA would do the same until the 1939 New York World's Fair.
On the other hand, in 1934, Zworykin shared some patent rights with the German licensee company Telefunken. The "image iconoscope" ("Superikonoskop" in Germany) was produced as a result of the collaboration. This tube is essentially identical to the super-Emitron. The production and commercialization of the super-Emitron and image iconoscope in Europe were not affected by the patent war between Zworykin and Farnsworth, because Dieckmann and Hell had priority in Germany for the invention of the image dissector, having submitted a patent application for their Lichtelektrische Bildzerlegerröhre für Fernseher (Photoelectric Image Dissector Tube for Television) in Germany in 1925, two years before Farnsworth did the same in the United States. The image iconoscope (Superikonoskop) became the industrial standard for public broadcasting in Europe from 1936 until 1960, when it was replaced by the vidicon and plumbicon tubes. Indeed, it was the representative of the European tradition in electronic tubes competing against the American tradition represented by the image orthicon. The German company Heimann produced the Superikonoskop for the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, later Heimann also produced and commercialized it from 1940 to 1955; finally the Dutch company Philips produced and commercialized the image iconoscope and multicon from 1952 to 1958.
American television broadcasting, at the time, consisted of a variety of markets in a wide range of sizes, each competing for programming and dominance with separate technology, until deals were made and standards agreed upon in 1941. RCA, for example, used only Iconoscopes in the New York area, but Farnsworth Image Dissectors in Philadelphia and San Francisco. In September 1939, RCA agreed to pay the Farnsworth Television and Radio Corporation royalties over the next ten years for access to Farnsworth's patents. With this historic agreement in place, RCA integrated much of what was best about the Farnsworth Technology into their systems. In 1941, the United States implemented 525-line television. Electrical engineer Benjamin Adler played a prominent role in the development of television.
The world's first 625-line television standard was designed in the Soviet Union in 1944 and became a national standard in 1946. The first broadcast in 625-line standard occurred in Moscow in 1948. The concept of 625 lines per frame was subsequently implemented in the European CCIR standard. In 1936, Kálmán Tihanyi described the principle of plasma display, the first flat panel display system.
Main article: Color television
The basic idea of using three monochrome images to produce a color image had been experimented with almost as soon as black-and-white televisions had first been built. Although he gave no practical details, among the earliest published proposals for television was one by Maurice Le Blanc, in 1880, for a color system, including the first mentions in television literature of line and frame scanning. Polish inventor Jan Szczepanik patented a color television system in 1897, using a selenium photoelectric cell at the transmitter and an electromagnet controlling an oscillating mirror and a moving prism at the receiver. But his system contained no means of analyzing the spectrum of colors at the transmitting end, and could not have worked as he described it. Another inventor, Hovannes Adamian, also experimented with color television as early as 1907. The first color television project is claimed by him, and was patented in Germany on 31 March 1908, patent № 197183, then in Britain, on 1 April 1908, patent № 7219, in France (patent № 390326) and in Russia in 1910 (patent № 17912).
Scottish inventor John Logie Baird demonstrated the world's first color transmission on 3 July 1928, using scanning discs at the transmitting and receiving ends with three spirals of apertures, each spiral with filters of a different primary color; and three light sources at the receiving end, with a commutator to alternate their illumination. Baird also made the world's first color broadcast on 4 February 1938, sending a mechanically scanned 120-line image from Baird's Crystal Palace studios to a projection screen at London's Dominion Theatre. Mechanically scanned color television was also demonstrated by Bell Laboratories in June 1929 using three complete systems of photoelectric cells, amplifiers, glow-tubes, and color filters, with a series of mirrors to superimpose the red, green, and blue images into one full color image.
The first practical hybrid system was again pioneered by John Logie Baird. In 1940 he publicly demonstrated a color television combining a traditional black-and-white display with a rotating colored disk. This device was very "deep", but was later improved with a mirror folding the light path into an entirely practical device resembling a large conventional console. However, Baird was not happy with the design, and, as early as 1944, had commented to a British government committee that a fully electronic device would be better.
In 1939, Hungarian engineer Peter Carl Goldmark introduced an electro-mechanical system while at CBS, which contained an Iconoscope sensor. The CBS field-sequential color system was partly mechanical, with a disc made of red, blue, and green filters spinning inside the television camera at 1,200 rpm, and a similar disc spinning in synchronization in front of the cathode ray tube inside the receiver set. The system was first demonstrated to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on 29 August 1940, and shown to the press on 4 September.
CBS began experimental color field tests using film as early as 28 August 1940, and live cameras by 12 November.NBC (owned by RCA) made its first field test of color television on 20 February 1941. CBS began daily color field tests on 1 June 1941. These color systems were not compatible with existing black-and-white television sets, and, as no color television sets were available to the public at this time, viewing of the color field tests was restricted to RCA and CBS engineers and the invited press. The War Production Board halted the manufacture of television and radio equipment for civilian use from 22 April 1942 to 20 August 1945, limiting any opportunity to introduce color television to the general public.
As early as 1940, Baird had started work on a fully electronic system he called Telechrome. Early Telechrome devices used two electron guns aimed at either side of a phosphor plate. The phosphor was patterned so the electrons from the guns only fell on one side of the patterning or the other. Using cyan and magenta phosphors, a reasonable limited-color image could be obtained. He also demonstrated the same system using monochrome signals to produce a 3D image (called "stereoscopic" at the time). A demonstration on 16 August 1944 was the first example of a practical color television system. Work on the Telechrome continued and plans were made to introduce a three-gun version for full color. However, Baird's untimely death in 1946 ended development of the Telechrome system. Similar concepts were common through the 1940s and 1950s, differing primarily in the way they re-combined the colors generated by the three guns. The Geer tube was similar to Baird's concept, but used small pyramids with the phosphors deposited on their outside faces, instead of Baird's 3D patterning on a flat surface. The Penetron used three layers of phosphor on top of each other and increased the power of the beam to reach the upper layers when drawing those colors. The Chromatron used a set of focusing wires to select the colored phosphors arranged in vertical stripes on the tube.
One of the great technical challenges of introducing color broadcast television was the desire to conserve bandwidth, potentially three times that of the existing black-and-white standards, and not use an excessive amount of radio spectrum. In the United States, after considerable research, the National Television Systems Committee approved an all-electronic Compatible color system developed by RCA, which encoded the color information separately from the brightness information and greatly reduced the resolution of the color information in order to conserve bandwidth. The brightness image remained compatible with existing black-and-white television sets at slightly reduced resolution, while color televisions could decode the extra information in the signal and produce a limited-resolution color display. The higher resolution black-and-white and lower resolution color images combine in the brain to produce a seemingly high-resolution color image. The NTSC standard represented a major technical achievement.
Although all-electronic color was introduced in the U.S. in 1953, high prices, and the scarcity of color programming, greatly slowed its acceptance in the marketplace. The first national color broadcast (the 1954 Tournament of Roses Parade) occurred on 1 January 1954, but during the following ten years most network broadcasts, and nearly all local programming, continued to be in black-and-white. It was not until the mid-1960s that color sets started selling in large numbers, due in part to the color transition of 1965 in which it was announced that over half of all network prime-time programming would be broadcast in color that fall. The first all-color prime-time season came just one year later. In 1972, the last holdout among daytime network programs converted to color, resulting in the first completely all-color network season.
Early color sets were either floor-standing console models or tabletop versions nearly as bulky and heavy; so in practice they remained firmly anchored in one place. The introduction of GE's relatively compact and lightweight Porta-Color set in the spring of 1966 made watching color television a more flexible and convenient proposition. In 1972, sales of color sets finally surpassed sales of black-and-white sets. Color broadcasting in Europe was not standardized on the PAL format until the 1960s, and broadcasts did not start until 1967. By this point many of the technical problems in the early sets had been worked out, and the spread of color sets in Europe was fairly rapid. By the mid-1970s, the only stations broadcasting in black-and-white were a few high-numbered UHF stations in small markets, and a handful of low-power repeater stations in even smaller markets such as vacation spots. By 1979, even the last of these had converted to color and, by the early 1980s, B&W sets had been pushed into niche markets, notably low-power uses, small portable sets, or for use as video monitor screens in lower-cost consumer equipment. By the late 1980s even these areas switched to color sets.
Main article: Digital television
See also: Digital television transition
Digital television (DTV) is the transmission of audio and video by digitally processed and multiplexed signals, in contrast to the totally analog and channel separated signals used by analog television. Due to data compression digital TV can support more than one program in the same channel bandwidth. It is an innovative service that represents the first significant evolution in television technology since color television in the 1950s. Digital TV's roots have been tied very closely to the availability of inexpensive, high performance computers. It was not until the 1990s that digital TV became feasible.
In the mid-1980s, as Japanese consumer electronics firms forged ahead with the development of HDTV technology, the MUSE analog format proposed by NHK, a Japanese company, was seen as a pacesetter that threatened to eclipse U.S. electronics companies' technologies. Until June 1990, the Japanese MUSE standard, based on an analog system, was the front-runner among the more than 23 different technical concepts under consideration. Then, an American company, General Instrument, demonstrated the feasibility of a digital television signal. This breakthrough was of such significance that the FCC was persuaded to delay its decision on an ATV standard until a digitally based standard could be developed.
In March 1990, when it became clear that a digital standard was feasible, the FCC made a number of critical decisions. First, the Commission declared that the new ATV standard must be more than an enhanced analog signal, but be able to provide a genuine HDTV signal with at least twice the resolution of existing television images.(7) Then, to ensure that viewers who did not wish to buy a new digital television set could continue to receive conventional television broadcasts, it dictated that the new ATV standard must be capable of being "simulcast" on different channels.(8)The new ATV standard also allowed the new DTV signal to be based on entirely new design principles. Although incompatible with the existing NTSC standard, the new DTV standard would be able to incorporate many improvements.
The final standards adopted by the FCC did not require a single standard for scanning formats, aspect ratios, or lines of resolution. This compromise resulted from a dispute between the consumer electronics industry (joined by some broadcasters) and the computer industry (joined by the film industry and some public interest groups) over which of the two scanning processes—interlaced or progressive—would be best suited for the newer digital HDTV compatible display devices. Interlaced scanning, which had been specifically designed for older analogue CRT display technologies, scans even-numbered lines first, then odd-numbered ones. In fact, interlaced scanning can be looked at as the first video compression model as it was partly designed in the 1940s to double the image resolution to exceed the limitations of the television broadcast bandwidth. Another reason for its adoption was to limit the flickering on early CRT screens whose phosphor coated screens could only retain the image from the electron scanning gun for a relatively short duration. However interlaced scanning does not work as efficiently on newer display devices such as Liquid-crystal (LCD), for example, which are better suited to a more frequent progressive refresh rate.
Progressive scanning, the format that the computer industry had long adopted for computer display monitors, scans every line in sequence, from top to bottom. Progressive scanning in effect doubles the amount of data generated for every full screen displayed in comparison to interlaced scanning by painting the screen in one pass in 1/60-second, instead of two passes in 1/30-second. The computer industry argued that progressive scanning is superior because it does not "flicker" on the new standard of display devices in the manner of interlaced scanning. It also argued that progressive scanning enables easier connections with the Internet, and is more cheaply converted to interlaced formats than vice versa. The film industry also supported progressive scanning because it offered a more efficient means of converting filmed programming into digital formats. For their part, the consumer electronics industry and broadcasters argued that interlaced scanning was the only technology that could transmit the highest quality pictures then (and currently) feasible, i.e., 1,080 lines per picture and 1,920 pixels per line. Broadcasters also favored interlaced scanning because their vast archive of interlaced programming is not readily compatible with a progressive format. William F. Schreiber, who was director of the Advanced Television Research Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1983 until his retirement in 1990, thought that the continued advocacy of interlaced equipment originated from consumer electronics companies that were trying to get back the substantial investments they made in the interlaced technology.
Digital television transition started in late 2000s. All governments across the world set the deadline for analog shutdown by 2010s. Initially the adoption rate was low, as the first digital tuner-equipped TVs were costly. But soon, as the price of digital-capable TVs dropped, more and more households were converting to digital televisions. The transition is expected to be completed worldwide by mid to late 2010s.
Main article: Smart television
Not to be confused with Internet television, Internet Protocol television, or Web television.
The advent of digital television allowed innovations like smart TVs. A smart television, sometimes referred to as connected TV or hybrid TV, is a television set or set-top box with integrated Internet and Web 2.0 features, and is an example of technological convergence between computers, television sets and set-top boxes. Besides the traditional functions of television sets and set-top boxes provided through traditional broadcasting media, these devices can also provide Internet TV, online interactive media, over-the-top content, as well as on-demandstreaming media, and home networking access. These TVs come pre-loaded with an operating system.
Smart TV should not to be confused with Internet TV, Internet Protocol television (IPTV) or with Web TV. Internet television refers to the receiving of television content over the Internet instead of by traditional systems – terrestrial, cable and satellite (although internet itself is received by these methods). IPTV is one of the emerging Internet television technology standards for use by television broadcasters. Web television (WebTV) is a term used for programs created by a wide variety of companies and individuals for broadcast on Internet TV. A first patent was filed in 1994 (and extended the following year) for an "intelligent" television system, linked with data processing systems, by means of a digital or analog network. Apart from being linked to data networks, one key point is its ability to automatically download necessary software routines, according to a user's demand, and process their needs. Major TV manufacturers have announced production of smart TVs only, for middle-end and high-end TVs in 2015. Smart TVs are expected to become dominant form of television by late 2010s.
Main article: 3D television
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3D television conveys depth perception to the viewer by employing techniques such as stereoscopic display, multi-view display, 2D-plus-depth, or any other form of 3D display. Most modern 3D television sets use an active shutter 3D system or a polarized 3D system, and some are autostereoscopic without the need of glasses. Stereoscopic 3D television was demonstrated for the first time on 10 August 1928, by John Logie Baird in his company's premises at 133 Long Acre, London. Baird pioneered a variety of 3D television systems using electromechanical and cathode-ray tube techniques. The first 3D TV was produced in 1935. The advent of digital television in the 2000s greatly improved 3D TVs. Although 3D TV sets are quite popular for watching 3D home media such as on Blu-ray discs, 3D programming has largely failed to make inroads with the public. Many 3D television channels which started in the early 2010s were shut down by the mid-2010s.According to DisplaySearch 3D televisions shipments totaled 41.45 million units in 2012, compared with 24.14 in 2011 and 2.26 in 2010. As of late 2013, the number of 3D TV viewers started to decline.
Main article: Terrestrial television
See also: Timeline of the introduction of television in countries
Programming is broadcast by television stations, sometimes called "channels", as stations are licensed by their governments to broadcast only over assigned channels in the television band. At first, terrestrial broadcasting was the only way television could be widely distributed, and because bandwidth was limited, i.e., there were only a small number of channels available, government regulation was the norm. In the U.S., the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) allowed stations to broadcast advertisements beginning in July 1941, but required public service programming commitments as a requirement for a license. By contrast, the United Kingdom chose a different route, imposing a television license fee on owners of television reception equipment to fund the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), which had public service as part of its Royal Charter.
WRGB claims to be the world's oldest television station, tracing its roots to an experimental station founded on 13 January 1928, broadcasting from the General Electric factory in Schenectady, NY, under the call letters W2XB. It was popularly known as "WGY Television" after its sister radio station. Later in 1928, General Electric started a second facility, this one in New York City, which had the call letters W2XBS and which today is known as WNBC. The two stations were experimental in nature and had no regular programming, as receivers were operated by engineers within the company. The image of a Felix the Cat doll rotating on a turntable was broadcast for 2 hours every day for several years as new technology was being tested by the engineers. On 2 November 1936, the BBC began transmitting the world's first public regular high-definition service from the Victorian Alexandra Palace in north London. It therefore claims to be the birthplace of TV broadcasting as we know it today.
With the widespread adoption of cable across the United States in the 1970s and 80s, terrestrial television broadcasts have been in decline; in 2013 it was estimated that about 7% of US households used an antenna. A slight increase in use began around 2010 due to switchover to digital terrestrial television broadcasts, which offered pristine image quality over very large areas, and offered an alternate to cable television (CATV) for cord cutters. All other countries around the world are also in the process of either shutting down analog terrestrial television or switching over to digital terrestrial television.
Main article: Cable television
See also: Cable television by region
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it.(December 2014)