The Evolution of the Television: A Timeline

The TV is the focal point of many households in the UK and forms the centrepiece of most lounges and living rooms. But have you ever wondered how it came to be, or when it was invented?

The television is the product of the work of a number of scientists, all of whom contributed an important part of what we now see in the modern day version.

TV Evolution Timeline

The Television Timeline

  1. After scientific study into electronics and electricity in the early 19th century
  2. In 1832, Joseph Plateau invented a device known as a Phantoscope. This consisted of a spinning disk over a series of drawings which created the illusion of movement. This is acknowledged as the first motion picture creator.
  3. In 1862, Abbe Giovanna Caselli invented a machine that was able to transfer still images through wires in a similar manner to how telephone cables transfer sounds. This device was known as the Pantelegraph.
  4. In 1873, English scientist Willoughby Smith discovered that an element called selenium assisted in the transformation of pictures into signals transmitted by wires.
  5. In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone and began working on the transfer of images as well as sound.
  6. Bell and Thomas Edison invented the Photophone in 1880 which sought to achieve the transfer of images as well as sound.
  7. 1884 saw two further developments. German student Paul Nipkow invented the “Nipkow Disk”, which was a spinning disk with a spiral of holes, each of which read a line of the image beneath.
  8. In 1896, there were three further developments. The first motion pictures were shown in Paris by brothers, Auguste Marie Louis Nicolas and Louis Jean Lumière, Thomas Edison made the first moving picture presentation in the United States, in New York and Marconi patented the first radio.
  9. The word “television” was first used at the World’s Fair in Paris in 1900.
  10. In 1907 the cathode ray tube (also known as the Braun tube) was developed for the more effective transmission of images.
  11. A Scottish scientist, John Logie Baird, using the Nipkow Disk discovered a means of capturing moving objects in 1924. The following year, the first ever moving image was transmitted. This was the forerunner of present day cinema and television.
  12. In 1927, Baird set up his own company and began to make the first ever television programmes for the British Broadcasting Corporation.
  13. In 1928 commercial television sets were introduced in the United States. Baird transmitted a television image between England and the USA and the first sale of a television set, a Daven, took place at a cost of seventy five dollars.
  14. In 1929 television was launched in the UK and Germany, followed, in 1931, by France and the USSR.
  15. The first ever television advert was in 1941, for the Bulova Watch Company. The ad was only ten seconds long, and cost between $4 and $9 to create
  16. Also in 1941, Baird, demonstrated a 600 line High Definition colour TV system.
  17. Colour television was introduced in 1950. The UK’s first TV advert was in 1955 on the launch of ITV.
  18. The Telstar Satellite was launched by American Telephone and Telegraph Company in 1962 to enable global broadcasting.
  19. In 1981 HDTV was first demonstrated by NHK, Japan’s foremost broadcasting corporation.
  20. In the 2000’s, digital broadcasting took over from analogue as the sole means of television broadcasting.

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