As we celebrate 90 years since the first successful TV transmission, check out these amazing facts about your gogglebox…
A lot of technology withers and dies as something newer and better comes along. But one electronic device that’s defied the test of time is the television.
This October marks the 90th anniversary since the first successful TV transmission took place. Nine decades on and television continues to improve: it’s in high definition colour (which is continuously improving), can be used to access hundreds of channels, and offers much more than just broadcast programmes.
Scotsman John Logie Baird may not have developed the first TV, but he was the first to transmit an image from one on October 2, 1925 using a ventriloquist’s dummy.
Eager to show his discovery to the world, Baird went to the Daily Express newspaper’s offices. However, the news editor was terrified and apparently told a reporter: “For God’s sake, go down to reception and get rid of a lunatic who’s down there. He says he’s got a machine for seeing by wireless! Watch him – he may have a razor on him.”
High definition television actually started in 1936 High definition was used to describe revolutionary 405-line television broadcasting, which started in the UK back in 1936. Although the quality isn’t quite that high when you compare to today’s idea of high definition!
The BBC went off the air for almost seven years during World War II
Two days before Britain declared war on Germany the plug was pulled on the BBC. A Mickey Mouse cartoon was the last to air. When the war ended and the BBC returned in 1946, it felt only fitting to resume with a repeat of the same cartoon it left off with
One TV pioneer wouldn’t allow his family to watch anything
Philo Farnsworth, who invented the first fully functional and complete all-electronic television system, didn’t actually like TV all that much.
“There’s nothing on it worthwhile, and we’re not going to watch it in this household, and I don’t want it in your intellectual diet,” he once said.
The ‘test card girl’ is the most aired face in British television history
From 1967 to 1998, the BBC showed a static image of eight-year-old Carole Hersee with a blackboard and toy clown known as Test Card F whenever a channel wasn’t on-air. The image briefly returned in 2009 for the BBC HD channel.
Sony used to make pocket-sized TVs
While some may believe that bigger is better, Sony went in the opposite direction in 1982 with the first pass-produced pocket television: the Sony Watchman FD-210, which had a tiny 5cm grayscale display.
TVs have gone beyond the 100-inch mark
Size matters when it comes to TV, and some manufacturers have gone wild over the years, making colossal displays. Panasonic made a monster 152-inch display back in 2012, which cost an eye-watering £600,000.
3D TV flopped
The fanfare around 3D TV in the home failed to catch on a few years back, with the BBC putting development of 3D programming on hold.
While shops are still selling 3D TV sets, prices have dropped, and the manufacturers have turned their attentions to 4K television, which has four times more pixels than standard HD televisions.
The average person spends almost 10 years of their life watching TV
We Brits have an insatiable appetite for TV – so much so that the average person spends a staggering nine and a half years in front of the box, according to recent study of 2,000 people by UKTV.