Television
By Nina Satterwhite

Television (TV) is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochromatic (shades of grey) or multicolored. Images are usually accompanied by sound. "Television" may also refer specifically to a television set, television programming, television transmission.

The etymology of the word is derived from mixed Latin and Greek origin, meaning "far sight": Greek tele (τῆλε), far, and Latin visio, sight (from video, vis- to see, or to view in the first person.
Commercially available since the late 1920s, the television set has become commonplace in homes, businesses and institutions, particularly as a vehicle for advertising, a source of entertainment, and news. Since the 1970s the availability of video cassettes, laserdiscs, DVDs and now Blu-ray Discs, have resulted in the television set frequently being used for viewing recorded as well as broadcast material. In recent years Internet television has seen the rise of television available via the Internet, e.g.iPlayer and Hulu.

Although other forms such as closed-circuit television (CCTV) are in use, the most common usage of the medium is for broadcast television, which was modeled on the existing radio broadcasting systems developed in the 1920s, and uses high-powered radio-frequency transmitters to broadcast the television signal to individual TV receivers.

Broadcast TV is typically disseminated via radio transmissions on designated channels in the 54–890 MHz frequency band. Signals are now often transmitted with stereo and/or surround sound in many countries. Until the 2000s broadcast TV programs were generally transmitted as an analogue television signal, but in recent years public and commercial broadcasters have been progressively introducing digital television broadcasting technology.

A standard television set comprises multiple internal electronic circuits, including those for receiving and decoding broadcast signals. A visual display device which lacks a tuner is properly called a monitor, rather than a television. A television system may use different technical standards such as digital television (DTV) and high-definition television (HDTV). Television systems are also used for surveillance, industrial process control, and guiding of weapons, in places where direct observation is difficult or dangerous.

Amateur television (ham TV or ATV) is also used for experimentation, pleasure and public service events by amateur radio operators. Ham TV stations were on the air in many cities before commercial TV stations came on the air.

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"File:Family Watching Television 1958.jpg." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 31 May 2011. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Family_watching_television_1958.jpg>.


In its early stages of development, television employed a combination of optical, mechanical and electronic technologies to capture, transmit and display a visual image. By the late 1920s, however, those employing only optical and electronic technologies were being explored. All modern television systems rely on the latter, although the knowledge gained from the work on electromechanical systems was crucial in the development of fully electronic television.
external image 220px-Braun_HF_1.jpgexternal image magnify-clip.pngBraun HF 1 television receiver,Germany, 1958
The first images transmitted electrically were sent by early mechanical fax machines, including the pantelegraph, developed in the late nineteenth century. The concept of electrically powered transmission of television images in motion was first sketched in 1878 as the telephonoscope, shortly after the invention of the telephone. At the time, it was imagined by early science fiction authors, that someday that light could be transmitted over wires, as sounds were.
The idea of using scanning to transmit images was put to actual practical use in 1881 in the pantelegraph, through the use of a pendulum-based scanning mechanism. From this period forward, scanning in one form or another has been used in nearly every image transmission technology to date, including television. This is the concept of "rasterization", the process of converting a visual image into a stream of electrical pulses.

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external image 220px-Gradiente_PLT-4270.jpgexternal image magnify-clip.pngTypical modern plasma-screen television set showing Windows Media Center.
Scottish inventor John Logie Baird demonstrated the transmission of moving silhouette images in London in 1925, and of moving, monochromatic images in 1926. Baird's scanning disk produced an image of 30 lines resolution, just enough to discern a human face, from a double spiral of lenses. This demonstration by Baird is generally agreed to be the world's first true demonstration of television, albeit a mechanical form of television no longer in use. Remarkably, in 1927 Baird also invented the world's first video recording system, "Phonovision": by modulating the output signal of his TV camera down to the audio range, he was able to capture the signal on a 10-inch wax audio disc using conventional audio recording technology. A handful of Baird's 'Phonovision' recordings survive and these were finally decoded and rendered into viewable images in the 1990s using modern digital signal-processing technology.
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.

By 1927, Russian inventor Léon Theremin developed a mirror-drum-based television system which used interlacing to achieve an image resolution of 100 lines.
Also in 1927, Herbert E. Ives of Bell Labs transmitted moving images from a 50-aperture disk producing 16 frames per minute over a cable from Washington, DC to New York City, and via radio from Whippany, New Jersey. Ives used viewing screens as large as 24 by 30 inches (60 by 75 centimeters). His subjects includedSecretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover.
In 1927, Philo Farnsworth made the world's first working television system with electronic scanning of both the pickup and display devices, which he first demonstrated to the press on 1 September 1928.

WRGB claims to be the world's oldest television station, tracing its roots to an experimental station founded on January 13, 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.

In 1884 Paul Gottlieb Nipkow, a 23-year-old university student in Germany, patented the first electromechanical television system which employed a scanning disk, a spinning disk with a series of holes spiraling toward the center, for rasterization. The holes were spaced at equal angular intervals such that in a single rotation the disk would allow light to pass through each hole and onto a light-sensitive selenium sensor which produced the electrical pulses. As an image was focused on the rotating disk, each hole captured a horizontal "slice" of the whole image.
Nipkow's design would not be practical until advances in amplifier tube technology became available. The device was only useful for transmitting still "halftone" images—represented by equally spaced dots of varying size—over telegraph or telephone lines. Later designs would use a rotating mirror-drum scanner to capture the image and a cathode ray tube (CRT) as a display device, but moving images were still not possible, due to the poor sensitivity of the selenium sensors. In 1907 Russian scientist Boris Rosing became the first inventor to use a CRT in the receiver of an experimental television system. He used mirror-drum scanning to transmit simple geometric shapes to the CRT.


"Television." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 31 May 2011. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Television>.

Television History - The First 75 Years. Web. 31 May 2011. <http://www.tvhistory.tv/>.

"Television History." Inventors. Web. 31 May 2011. <http://inventors.about.com/od/tstartinventions/a/Television.htm>.