A Brief History of TV

From electronic boxes to flat screens, televisions have seen a rapid evolution phase from the 1920s up until today. They have gone from being accessible only to the richest families, to being an essential part of every home. And although the history of its beginning maybe a little blurred, the first public demonstration of the machine marked a life-changing time in the history of TV. 

History of TV

Here’s a brief history of how televisions have become abundant. 

The Inventor 

Although there may be different answers, it is generally agreed upon that the invention was not the sole work of one single person; the idea has evolved from the theories and inventions of different people. However, the Scottish inventor John Logie Baird was the first person who publicly displayed his machine in London in 1926, but he did not call it television.

Baird referred to his invention as the televisor, which he mechanically powered through multiple rotating discs that generated the energy needed to power the device, and create moving images via electronic impulses. The images were displayed on a screen through a cable that connected the display to the machine. Of course, the images were quite rudimentary and were practically a display of low-resolution shapes created by light and shade. 


Oddly enough, antennas were not widely used until the invention of the television. Television antennas, in particular, were invented by Marvin. P Middlemark in 1953, which completely revolutionized the history of TV. It was Middlemark who discovered that antennas can significantly strengthen signal reception, and he later made it available to the market. 

And surprisingly, even after modern televisions have discarded the invention, antennas are quickly making a comeback in the market for the same reason that they gained popularity in the fifties. Tech enthusiasts currently are using a top rated outdoor TV antenna, claiming that they can drastically make streaming much more consistent, especially for those who have televisions installed in the outdoors. One wouldn’t be surprised if box televisions become fashionable again!

Commercial Televisions 

Antennas aside, commercial televisions were not sold to the public until 1929 and were known to have quite a hefty price tag. And even then, those weren’t the kinds that you would see in your grandmother’s attic. The first commercial televisions were not electronic; they worked mechanically. The images projected were barely the size of a coin!

Electronic Televisions 

The first electronic television, on the other hand, was invented by a 21-year-old American prodigy named Philo Taylor Farnsworth. Although the invention was as early as 1927, it was not mass-produced and sold to the public until 1936. The American prodigy utilized cathode ray tubes to transmit images to a screen, which was connected to the machine via one simple cable. 

Digital Televisions 

The world of television programs did not exist until the invention of digital television, which was not available to the market until the 1990s. It was General Instrument Corporation that announced the production of the world’s first digital television; however, Japan was the first country to have a TV program industry. That was around the time that an international standard for History of TV pictures were needed, and it was unified as early as 1993. This paved the way for what is now known as box televisions. 

Color Televisions 

History of TV

Shortly after the invention of digital television, the industry worked hard to invest in bettering the quality and resolution of displayed pictures. Again, it was John Baird, who invented color TV systems later in 1928, while the first demonstration of these new and improved pictures was demonstrated publicly only a year after they were proposed by the inventor. However, it took decades for this invention to take off, and it wasn’t until the 1950s that color TV broadcasting had become widespread. It goes without saying that these sets were much heavier and much more expensive than the standard television. 

Flat Screen Televisions

LCD televisions were co-invented by university professors Donald Bitzer and Gene Slottow. While it may surprise you, these televisions were invented as far back as 1964, and they were made public in the same year. However, they were extremely expensive and not as abundant as standard TVs, which is why it took years for flat-screen televisions to be the standard. Possibly another reason why they had not been normalized until years later is how long it took to make the TV practical and produced in a more cost-efficient way. 

Televisions have made world news and globalization accessible to every home, and have changed our lives for the better. While there was no sole inventor of this modern machine, John Logie Baird was the first person to display his own invention of the televisor, which quickly paved the way for our modern televisions. 

Last Updated on June 26, 2023

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