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Television is a telecommunication system for broadcasting and receiving moving pictures and sound over a distance. The term has come to refer to all aspects of television programming and transmission as well. The first long distance public television[?] broadcast was from Washington, DC to New York City and occurred on April 7, 1927. The image shown was of then Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover. A semi-mechanical analogue television system was first demonstrated in February 1924 by John Logie Baird and moving pictures by Baird on October 30, 1925. A fully electronic system was demonstrated by Philo Taylor Farnsworth in the autumn of 1927. The first analogue service was WGY, Schenectady, New York inaugurated on May 11, 1928. The first all-electronic television service was started in Los Angeles, CA by Don Lee Broadcasting. Their start date was December 23, 1931 on W6XAO - later KTSL. Los Angeles was the only major city that avoided the false start with mechanical television.

Programming is broadcast on television stations (sometimes called channels). At first, terrestrial broadcasting was the only way television could be distributed. Because bandwidth was limited, government regulation was normal. In the US, the Federal Communications Commission allowed stations to broadcast advertisements, but insisted on public service programming commitments as a requirement for a license. By contrast, the United Kingdom chose a different route, imposing a television licence fee (effectively a tax) to fund the BBC, which had public service as part of its Crown Charter[?]. Development of cable and satellite means of distribution in the 1970s pushed businessmen to target channels towards a certain audience, and enabled the rise of subscription-based television channels, such as HBO and Sky. Practically every country with the technological capability has developed at least one television channel.

In the US, television networks produce prime-time programs for their affiliate stations to air between 8pm and 11pm. (7pm and 10pm in the Central and Mountain time zones). Most stations have their own programming off the prime time.

The standard adopted by the US was called NTSC, which stood for National Television Standards Committee. NTSC is the television standard in the US, Canada, and Japan.

Germany developed the television standard called PAL, which stood for Phase Alternating Line, and introduced it in 1967. PAL is the television standard in the United Kingdom, much of Europe, Africa, and some parts of South America.

The French, as much for reasons of national pride as anything else, developed in 1967 the television standard called SECAM, Sequentiel Couleur avec Mémoire, French for "sequential color with memory". The SECAM standard was used mostly in France and Eastern European countries.

There are various kinds of television broadcast systems:

TV sets

The earliest television sets were radios with the addition of a television device consisting of a neon tube with a mechanically spinning disk (the Nipkow disk[?], invented by Paul Gottlieb Nipkow[?]) that produced a red postage-stamp size image . The first publicly broadcast electronic service was in Germany in March 1935. It had 180 lines of resolution and was only available in 22 public viewing rooms. One of the first major broadcasts involved the 1936 Berlin Olympics. The Germans had a 441 line system in the fall of 1937. (Source: Early Electronic TV (http://www.earlytelevision.org/pendletonpaper))

From the earliest days of the medium, television has been used as a vehicle for advertising. Since their inception in the late 1940s, TV commercials have become far and away the most effective, most pervasive, and most popular method of selling products of all sorts. Advertising rates are determined primarily by Nielsen Ratings

Television usage skyrocketed after World War II with war-related technological advances and additional disposable income. (1930s TV receivers cost the equivalent of $7000 today (2001) and had little available programming.)

Television in its original and still most popular form involves sending images and sound over radio waves in the VHF and UHF bands, which are received by a receiver (a television set). In this sense, it is an extension of radio.

Color television became available on December 30, 1953, backed by the CBS network. The government approved the color broadcast system proposed by CBS, but when RCA came up with a system that made it possible to view color broadcasts in black and white on unmodified old black and white TV sets, CBS dropped their own proposal and used the new one.

Starting in the 1990s, modern television sets diverged into three different trends:

  • standalone TV sets;
  • integrated systems with DVD players and/or VHS VCR built into the TV set itself (mostly for small size TV with up to 17" screen, the main idea is to have a complete portable system);
  • component systems with separate big screen video monitor[?], tuner, audio system which the owner connects the pieces together as a high-end home theater system. This approach appeals to videophiles[?] who prefer components which can be upgraded separately.

There are many kinds of video monitors used in modern TV sets. The most common are direct view CRTs for up to 40" (4:3) and 46" (16:9) diagonally. Most big screen TVs (up to over 100") use projection technology. Three types of projection systems are used in projection TVs: CRT based, LCD based and reflective imaging chip based. Modern advances brought flat screens to TV that use active matrix[?] LCD or plasma display technology. Flat panel big screen TVs are only 4" thick and can be hung on the wall like a picture. They are extremely attractive and space-saving but they remain expensive.

Nowadays some TVs include a port to connect peripherals to it or to connect the set to an A/V home network (HAVI), like LG RZ-17LZ10 that includes a USB port, where one can connect a mouse, keyboard and so on ( very interesting for WebTV).

Even for simple video, there are four standard ways to connect a device. These are as follows:

  • Component Video[?]- One plug for each of two audio channels, as well as three separate connctors for each element of the picture
  • S-Video- Two audio plugs, as well as an S-Video plug, which slightly sharpens the picture.
  • Composite Video[?]- This is the most common form of connecting external devices. There are 1-2 plugs for audio (one if monoural, two if stereo), as well as one for video. Almost all newer TVs offer this option
  • Coaxial (Coaxial Cable[?])- This is how your cable TV is connected. All audio channels and picture components are stuffed down one wire that is plugged into your TV. Almost all TVs made in the last 15-20 years will have this option, so it is a " last resort " if you have no other way of connecting an external device.

Related entries

Alternate use of the term: Television (band)

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