Who Invented Television?
So many inventors participated in the development of television that it is impossible to give one individual credit for its invention. A few people, however, can be recognized as pioneers in this field. Paul Nipkow proposed the first practical mechanical scanner in Germany in 1884. The scanner was a rotating disk with holes arranged in a spiral around its edge.
Light passing through the holes, as the disk rotated, produced a rectangular scanning pattern or raster, which could be used to either generate an electrical signal from the scene for transmitting or to produce an image from the signal at the receiver. John Logie Baird, a Scottish engineer-inventor, successfully promoted a television system based on the Nipkow principle, and then sold transmitters and receivers.
In 1927, an American, Philo Farnsworth, widely recognized as the inventor of electronic television, was the first inventor to transmit a television image comprised of sixty horizontal lines. The image transmitted was a dollar sign. Farnsworth developed the dissector tube, the basis of all current electronic televisions. He filed for his first television patent in 1927.
Vladmir Kosma Zworykin, a Russian-born American inventor working for Westinghouse, is also credited as being the father of modern television. This was because the patent for the heart of the television, the electron scanning tube, was first applied for by Zworykin in 1923, under the name of iconoscope. The iconoscope was an electronic image scanner-essentially a primitive television camera.
However, while Zworykin for the patent for his iconoscope in 1923, the invention was not functional until some years later an all earlier efforts were of such poor quality that Westinghouse officials ordered him to work on something more useful. In Britain, the Electric and Musical Industries, Ltd. provided a system along with Baird’s, and these were experimentally used to broadcast television programs by the BBC in November 1936.
After World War II, an improved form 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 storage media such as VHS tape (1976), DVDs (1997), and high-definition Blu-ray Discs (2006) enabled viewers to watch prerecorded material such as movies. 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 services such as Netflix, 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 plasma displays, LCDs (both fluorescent-backlit and LED), and OLED 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. LEDs are expected to be replaced gradually by OLEDs in the near future. Also, major manufacturers have announced that they will increasingly produce smart TV sets 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 fibre, satellite systems and via the Internet.
Until the early 2000s, these were transmitted as analog signals but countries started switching to digital, this transition is expected to be completed worldwide by 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.