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Digital TV / TV Grows Up / Electronic TV

Both Farnsworth and Zworykin, working separately, made great advances towards commercial television and affordable TV sets. By 1935, both were broadcasting intermittently, using all-electronic systems. But Baird Television was first in 1928 with an all mechanical television system.

At the time, very few people had television sets and the viewing experience was less than impressive. The small audience of viewers was watching a blurry picture on a 2 or 3 inch screen. The future of television looked bleak, but the competition for dominance in television broadcasting was hot.


By 1939, RCA and Zworykin were ready for regular programming and they kicked it all off by televising the World's Fair in New York. Things moved quickly, and in 1941 the National Television Standards Committee (NTSC) decided it was time to write guidelines for television transmission in the United States. Five months later, all 22 of the nation's television stations converted to the new electronic standards.

In the early years, during the Great Depression, television sets were too expensive for most of the public. When prices eventually dropped, the U.S. was knee-deep in World War Two. But when a new age dawned after the war, the time was right for the Golden Age of Television. Unfortunately, everyone had to watch it in black and white.

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