Television - History and Invention

Television - History and Invention

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The invention of television is the culmination of a long journey of discoveries and inventions made at the end of the 19th century. January 26, 1926 see the first public broadcast of television images by the Scottish John baird. Confidential and for a long time in black and white, the TV then experienced a dazzling development from the 1950s, gaining color and inviting itself into most homes.

The invention of television

From precursorsof Television, we can cite Willoughby Smith, who showed the selenium photoconductivity in 1873. In 1880, the French Maurice Leblanc indicated the principles of television as we know it today. In order for moving images to be transmitted, the German engineer Paul Nipkow realized in 1884 the first rapid scanning system (the Nipkow record). This rotating disc system was quickly perfected with the invention of the photocell by the Germans Julius Elster and Hans Geitel in 1889. Their compatriot Karl Ferdinand Braun develops a defining invention, the cathode ray tube, in 1897. For his scientific work, he will receive the physic's Nobel price in 1909.

Following the public demonstration made by Baird in 1926, the Russian-born American Vladimir Zworykin reveals his kinescope where the CRT screen becomes the small TV screen. This more modern and coherent device is adopted, in particular by the English company E.M.I., and operated by the BBC in 1936. It exceeds the Tele-visor, the first consumer television, which Baird marketed without much success in 1930. The first receivers are marketed in the United States in 1941; television in color Will see the light of day there in 1953 (in Europe, at the beginning of the 1960s). Relay satellites ensure long-distance transmissions.

The history of television

If the development of television marks a pause during the Second World War, electronic resources being mobilized for the military effort, it resumes as soon as the conflict is over. In the early 1960s, 88% of American households were equipped. Although a transmitter was installed at the top of the Eiffel Tower in 1937 and a first report was broadcast live from the Universal Exhibition, the state monopoly on telecommunications slows the development of French television. The ORTF will offer a limited number of channels and hours of broadcasting for a long time. Long perceived as the official voice of the government that invites itself every evening in the salons of the French, it will nevertheless broadcast very popular programs such as The track to the stars or Five columns in the spotlight.

Opening up to the private sector in the mid-1980s breathed new life into to the development of television with a more comprehensive but not always high-quality offer. It is especially the arrival and the generalization of digital since 2005 with TNT and internet which deeply upsets the offer and television consumption patterns. The small screen, which has become increasingly larger and flatter over time, is now facing competition from other media, such as the smartphone.

Television: to go further

- The site of the National Audiovisual Institute.

- History of French television: From 1935 to the present day, from monique Sauvage. Pocket History, 2014.

- The fabulous history of inventions - From mastery of fire to immortality. Dunod, 2018.

Video: John Logie Baird: The Man Who Invented Television (July 2022).


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