A Brief History of the Television

Make no mistake, television is one of the most important inventions of all time. Sure, you can focus on the negatives – about how it promotes a lack of physical exercise, and how it can be the ideal place to show misinformation – but the actual invention of TVs has been a total game-changer for our society. How, though, did it come to be? Let’s take a quick look at television's overall history.

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The humble beginnings of TV

TV first became ‘a thing’ back in the 1880s, when the use of filtered light through a rotating disc was able to formulate moving images. This was invented, like many innovations, in Germany. By the 1920s, though, the use of radio waves was a common feature in inventions. Trying to send a still image was the aim, and this also played a role in laying the groundwork for TV to become possible.

The first person to have ‘invented’ the TV as we know it would be John Logie Baird. General Electric, though, was the first company to take the idea of broadcasting a wireless television – this came around in 1928. The 1930s and 40s saw TV become more commonplace, and regular broadcasts began towards the end of the 1930s in America. In America, the end of the Second World War also promoted the growth and expansion of the TV industry – by 1954, we were enjoying color TV broadcasts.

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By the 1960s, television was a common fixture in houses around Western civilization. 24-hour programming joined us in the 1970s, and by 1980s we had satellite TV. The boom and popularity of TV meant that innovations and competitive products just kept coming. TVs began to slowly change shape, too, slowly leaving behind the box-shaped design until the 2000s when we began to see the development of ‘flat-screen TVs that took the market by storm.

TV soon evolved from being a ‘nice to have accessory to the very decision everyone needed. From nighttime entertainment to regular TV shows through to the development of the digital streaming world we now reside in, TV has come a long way in less than a century.

Who knows where it will be in a decade from now – or even a century? One thing is for sure – TV has changed our world.