Figure 1: History of Television



Abbe Giovanna Caselli invents the Pantelegraph and becomes the first person to transmit a still image over wires 


Scientists May and Smith start to experiment with selenium and light, this reveals the possibility for inventors to transform images into electronic signals


Eugen Goldstein coins the term “cathode rays” to describe the light emitted when electric current was forced through a vacuum tube


Inventors Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison theorize about telephone devices that transmit image as well as sound. 

Bell’s photophone used light to transmit sound but, he wanted to advance his device for image sending


Paul Nipkow sends images over wires using a rotating metal disk to move the picture. He calls it the electric telescope.  


Russian Constantin Perskyi made the first known use of the word “television”

Two major paths of development of a television system were pursued by inventors

  1. Inventors attempted to build mechanical television systems based on Paul Nipkow’s rotating disks
  2. Inventors attempted to build electronic television systems based on the cathode rays developed interdependently in 1907 by English inventors A.A. Campell Swinton and Russian scientist Boris Rosing


Lee de Forest invents the Audion vacuum tube

This was the first tube with the ability to amplify signals

Boris Rosing combines Nipkow’s disk and a cathode ray tube and builds the first working mechanical TV system


John Baird becomes the first person to transmit moving silhouette images using a mechanical system based on Nipkow’s disk


Bell Telephone and the US Department of Commerce conduct the first long-distance use of television that took place between Washington D.C. and New York City on April 7th

“Today we have, in a sense, the transmission of sight for the first time in the world’s history. Human genius has now destroyed the impediment of distance in a new respect, and in a manner hitherto unknown” – Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover

Philo Farmsworth, files for a patent on the first completely electronic television system, which he called the Image Dissector


Charles Jenkins broadcast the first TV commercial

The BBC begins regular TV transmissions


Over 200 hundred television sets are in the use worldwide


CBS is the first major television network


Television was demonstrated at the New York World Fair and the San Francisco Golden Gate International Exposition


The first paid television advertisement was presented on July 1st, 1941 over the New York station WNBT before a baseball game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies. The announcement was for Bulova watches.


Peter Goldmark, working for CBS, demonstrated the color television system to the FCC. His system produced color pictures by having a red-blue-green wheel spin in front of the cathode ray tube

He is recognized as the first to introduce a broadcasting color television system


One million homes in the United States have television sets


Color television has now been a development for many years and was released to the public in 1950.


Robert Adler invents the first practical remote control called the Zenith Space Commander

Before this time, all television had been broadcasted live


AT&T launches Telstar, the first satellite to carry TV broadcasts 


July 20th, 1969, was the first time people on earth saw a TV transmission from the moon

Over 600 million people watched


Sony introduces Betamax, the first home video cassette recorder


The FCC approves ATSC’s HDTV standard

A billion television sets are sold worldwide


Panasonic develops and releases the first flat screen television. It quickly starts to replace CRT TV’s and takes over the television market


All Americans are made to switch to an all-digital television viewing



Bellis, Mary. “Learn the History of Television and when the First TV was Invented.” ThoughtCo., accessed Nov 1, 2017, https://www.thoughtco.com/the-invention-of-television-1992531.