The humble television was the sole source of entertainment in the not-so-distant pre-mobile and pre-laptop era. It continues to permeate our lives and remains a powerhouse in the entertainment realm to this day. A testimony to the power of the Television is the decision of UN, in 1996, to proclaim 21st November as World Television Day “in recognition of the increasing impact television has on decision-making”. Today, the word ‘Television’ conjures up thoughts far beyond the TV boxes of yester-years as media consumption patterns change at a phenomenal rate. But how did we get to this stage and what is next on the anvil?
Evolution of Television Technology
The most impressive aspect of television history is that the technology was not invented by a single person, but was a result of a collaborative effort.
The First TV
The first live national broadcast, albeit black-and-white, took place in 1951. It consisted of President Truman’s speech at the Japanese Peace Treaty Conference in San Francisco. The cathode ray tube (CRT) marked the beginning of television technology. The cathode consists of a heated filament situated in a vacuum tube and the ray is a stream of electrons that react with the screen to create the images.
The First Color TV
NBC broadcasted the Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year’s Day in 1954, marking the first national color broadcast. But color television came of age only in 1965, when major broadcasters reached an agreement on prime-time color broadcasts. And by 1972, all television programming was broadcast in color.
LCD dominated television technology for half a decade. In LCD TVs, a rear projection unit mirrors the image off the back of the monitor.
Plasma televisions hogged the limelight for about a decade due to their wide viewing angles and relatively low prices, but lost steam due to heat production issues and a short lifespan.
What is Current in Television Technology
An LED TV uses the same technology as a typical LCD screen, with backlighting being the only significant difference. A LCD screen used cold cathode fluorescent light (CCFL) to produce color, while the LED display makes use of light-emitting diodes.
Curvature is grabbing the headlines in the television technology space. Curved TV screens provide enhancements such as picture depth, viewing angles and 3D views. It replicates the natural curvature of the eye to gather the edges of the viewed object, thereby creating a theatre-like experience.
Smart TVs are the latest buzzwords in the Television space. These TVs are known as smart TVs as they have built-in internet connectivity, enabling connection to a router through an Ethernet cable or plug-in wi-fi dongle. These TVs include apps such as BBC iPlayer, subscription services like Netflix and live streaming services such as Fox news live streaming.
The Bottom Line
The holy grail of Television Technology has been about placing a moving image on a TV screen and rendering the underlying technology invisible to the viewer, so that what is seen on the screen looks good.