TV History from Popular Science Articles

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Ever wondered the history of the television? Today, there are high-resolution, large-height, large-width, low-depth, and relatively low-power compared to what it would be if you were to proportionally increase the size of the first televisions. Heck, CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) televisions can still be purchased, but they're not as common as they once were. Looking back to September 1928, it's truly amazing how much the technology of the television has advanced since its initial debut. (Note: This article is a shortened version of the one by Gawker, which is comprised of summaries and links to Popular Science articles from the magazine's archives.)

January 1929 - Your First Television Set
There's a reason they called it a "set" - it's far more difficult than a "kit" could ever dream of being...


Back in the Great Depression, and before we had third world nations to do all our icky manual labor, you had to work if you wanted to watch television. Not that there was much on (and you thought winter Saturday figure skating was bad?), but if you wanted a glimpse of the future, it required sweat, a high quality radio and some neon tubes. Also, holding your thumb against a disk to keep the picture straight, and the ability to adjust motor rheostats, whatever that means.

April 1934 - Myriads Dots of Light Give New Television
When it came out, CRT was the thing to have! It may seem hard to believe, but back then, CRT was the latest and greatest invention to hit the world, or at least the geeks thought so.

December 1942 - Television Program Gives Housewives Hints from PSM


Before there were soap operas and Ellen Degeneres to keep the little lady occupied while she kept house, there was a gigantic, horribly sexist robot that coldly reminded women how to properly toil in domestic servitude.

August 1944 - Post-War Television
Predictions of television someday being able to provide live coverage of a sporting event, on a screen as big as 24 inches started to arise; fortunately, their estimates were not limitations, but rather a landmark in the history of television.


"Entertainment has remained the most important function of the mass communication services. It is important to instruct people, but in a nervous and complex civilization like ours it is even more important to amuse and thrill them." Suck it Tom Brokaw, even the Greatest Generation needed their Jersey Shore fix. Or something like that.

February 1962 - Is Color TV Worth It?
Can you imagine only being able to watch all of your favorite online videos in shades of gray, but no R, G, or B? I couldn't, either.


What is that, you say? The proposition of color television? Ha! A mere passing trend, flashing opiates for the masses! Hardly a reason to replace the old, trusty tube and cabinet, what with its distinguished gray tones that produce classic, distinguished programming.

September 1991 - Little Dish TV


So here came small dish satellite TV, bringing the base entertainment of regional superstations into the homes of even the boldest frontiersmen. While big satellites littered crazy people's homes since the 70s in America, the smaller dishes, new wavelengths and compression technology (boring!) was new to our shut ins and shut outs. With seven regional superstations and audio channels and access to Pay-Per-View movies, a $300 fee to buy a dish (or an installation and monthly rental fee) and a $35 monthly subscription was totally a great deal!

Wait, you mean people that didn't work for NASA used to have big satellite dishes?

That's all for here; Gawker has the full version of the article.


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