Wednesday, November 02, 2011

75 Years of television!

"At 3pm on 2 November 1936 the BBC began the world's first regular hi-definition television service, from Alexandra Palace in North London. As part of this, two different systems were being tested on alternate weeks for six months: John Logie Baird's 240 line mechanical system, and the EMI-Marconi 405 line electronic system. The latter was to prove the winning system."

True analogue natives will know that this is a landmark of analogue technology. I wonder if people 75 years ago who saw the first BBC transmissions had any incline into what was to come in the future. What on earth did people do before television? When I am teaching children at school I am amazed at their concept of technology. In their minds television has always been there, they cannot even imagine a world without television!

Sceptics thought television was a gimmic and said that it would never catch on. After all, nobody could possibly afford to buy a television!

'Television? The word is half Greek and half Latin. No good will come of it.'

I remember my first television in 1958 when I was 4 years old and lived in Draycot Street, I watched things like 'Four Feather Falls', 'Popeye' and 'Torchy the battery boy' in those days ITV had just arrived. The first BBC transmissions from Alexander Palace was 'High Definition' black and white. What a difference to our present digital 'High Definition.'

Now my English teacher at secondary school had another name for television, he would call it 'The Devil's Lantern' or 'Goggle Box' ... he wasn't far wrong, our lives are are controlled by television. Children have forgotten how to 'play' and when they do, it usually centres on something that they have seen on television. Having said that, how can you take away those television moments like the Moon Landing in 1969 or England winning the World Cup in 1966 in 'hight definition black and white'....priceless!

Television is a fantastic communication medium, I have spent most of my life working with televisions. In 1973 I even transmitted my own television transmissions under my own licenced callsign G6AIW/T along with Neil G6AIG/T.

My original 'Hi Definition' test card that I used.
In 1967 I went to visit the Winter Hill transmitting station during an open day, something I will always remember. Later I spent many Sundays at the ITV transmitter with my Uncle who worked there. I got to know how it all worked and looked in awe at the analogue equipment and water cooled transmitters.

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