The Forgotten War for Color Television

Hi – John Hess here from Filmmaker IQ. Every time I talk about where we derive the
odd number NTSC frame rate of 29.97 I brush up against the story of the adoption of Color
Television and just as quickly move on to another technical topic regarding frame rates. But that’s really a missed opportunity to
tell a really juicy story that literally shaped the way the entire world handled color television
signals. Well today that changes Ladies and Gentlemen
and we’re going to explore this somewhat forgotten battle ground in the history of
moving pictures. So if you’ll indulge me, let’s me set
the stage and go back to the beginning of this new professional medium called television. Let’s go back, Not to the early 50’s or
the late 40’s but further still to the mid 1930’s. Back to November 2, 1936 at 3PM – when the
very first official regular television broadcast service began from Alexandra Palace in London
England – That’s right the Brits take this first milestone. The BBC began it all with the first regular
TV service. It was only broadcast twice a day Monday through
Saturday at first and officially only had a range of 40 km… As for numbers, Britain’s Radio Manufacturers
Association estimated that 19,000 television sets had been manufactured from 1936 to September
1939… Three years of regular television operation
and then the BBC shut down. Why? You see there was this little nastly bit of
business called World War II. The last thing broadcast was a Mickey Mouse
Cartoon: Mickey’s Gala Premiere followed by test patterns. After 6 years of bloody fighting the United
Kingdom and Europe were left in tatters from the savagery of war. The BBC picked up Television service again
in 1946 and picked up right where they left off playing the same Mickey Mouse Cartoon. But let’s be honest, Television was still
a very limited luxury item at the time. If you wanted news and entertainment there
was always radio and the movies, the concept of plopping down on a sofa and binging a season
of The Office was alien to people of the mid 1940s. And looking around, it was clear that the
UK and Europe there were more pressing issues than television to worry about – things like
rebuilding their economies and infrastructure. But you know which major wartime participant
went rather unscathed during WW2? Uncle Sam. Manufacturers on the North American continent
quickly pivoted from guns to butter: to borrow an old economic phrase. Instead of building Sherman tanks and P-38s,
factories pumped out refrigerators, microwaves and this new fangled device called television
now boosted by the tremendous advances made in radio technology during the War. Just after the close of the War in 1946 there
was an estimated 6,000 TV sets in North America, one year later in 1947 that number had gone
up to 40,000. Four years later in 1951 there were 12 million
across the nation. This post war industrial explosion is the
background to what’s about to happen in the war for Color Television. England may have birthed TV but it was raised
on the continent-spanning United States amidst a huge economic boom that gave Television
not only the manufacturing capability but the economic excess to invest in this new
medium. To tell the story of Television in the States,
Let’s again back up, this time to 1939 and the World’s Fair in New York City. The BBC was, as we mentioned already in limited
service, and one American company was showcasing the marvels of Television to a new audience
– the Radio Corporation of America, RCA. Again I have to remind you that we’re dealing
with an infant industry. We use terms like first regular service but
that’s glorifying the scale because of our modern associations. There were a handful of manufacturers but
no real TV networks… just about 10 experimental TV stations across the nation testing broadcasting
ranges and receptions. And being they were experimental meant they
were prohibited from broadcasting commercial messages which meant there was no funding
for programming – these operators just ate the costs as R&D. Research and Development. What the industry was waiting on was the FCC
to settle on a television standard and regulate the airwaves so stations could begin commercial
broadcasting and become a profitable industry. Now why do we need standards and conventions? Basically to make the marketplace more fair
and efficient. Imagine if every grocery store had their own
way of measuring the weight of produce – there would be mass confusion. From a consumer perspective, a shopper ought
to know that the television they buy now will be able to receive the broadcasts in their
area and in the future. You don’t want to have major manufacturers
designing a TV system that would be able to receive only one channel and not the others. From a broadcaster standpoint, you want fairness
in how the airwaves are partitioned. The radio band is limited and considered a
public good. So if you’re cleared to broadcast on one
channel which is a range of frequencies you don’t want a competitor throwing up an antenna
and creating interference on that same channel. So standards are essential, especially in
a growing telecommunications industry. But when there’s no standard yet in place,
every company wants to get their pet system adopted as the standard and not just for bragging
rights, but for profits from being able to license that technology. And now to introduce the major combatants
in the War for Color TV – the aforementioned Radio Corporation of American, RCA headed
by David Sarnoff. RCA had been the major developer in Television
as we saw in the 1939 World’s Fair. And in the other corner, the Columbia Broadcasting
System – CBS headed by William S. Paley, a radio giant who in 1940 had yet to get their
first experimental TV station online. These weren’t the only two in the war, there
was also DuMont and Zenith but for the purposes of this story, we’ll stick with RCA and
CBS So here we are in 1940. RCA’s black and white standard for television
demonstrated at the World’s Fair the year before is in front of the FCC as a possible
standard. But here comes little CBS, … On August 29,
1940 they announced that they had been secretly developing a sequential color system developed
by Dr Peter C. Goldmark which used standard monochrome CRT display behind a synchronized
rotating color wheel. Each scan of the screen would correspond to
a different color on the color wheel – spin the wheel fast enough and the primary colors
blended together for color television. This announcement of sequential or mechanical
color raised two important questions – first was in regards to the allocation of the radio
spectrum. This first version of CBS color required a
broadcast using radio band of 16 megahertz – almost three times as wide as the 6 Mhz
system the FCC was considering adopting. 16 megahertz per channel meant that the chunk
of Low band VHF spectrum between 54MHz and 84MHz would only fit 2 channels instead of
the proposed 6. CBS argued that perhaps, Low band VHF wasn’t
where TV broadcasts should be, but in the UHF spectrum from 470Mhz to 890Mhz where there
was room for 26 16MHz wide channels. Next was the question – why settle on a black
and white convention now when Color Television was only just around the corner. In fact CBS hammered the point home running
its “Color Now!” ad campaign – calling the CBS color system the kind of “TV worth
waiting for” – In fact, the more cynical could be led to believe that delaying the
process was the real goal… CBS was trying to buy time to get itself set
up. But if it could win the color standard, CBS
would go from a late player in Black and White to the leader in Color. Well this caught RCA off guard. They too were working on a color system but
at the time it was hardly more than a laboratory curiosity – instead trying to perfect their
black and white delivery. But in the end, the pressure on the FCC to
act was just too great. Even though CBS had a prototype, they had
yet to demonstrate a live camera broadcast – all their experiments came from broadcasting
already shot color film. So in June of 1941, the FCC announced their
black and white NTSC television standard of 525 lines with FM sound and 60 hz refresh
rate with each channel slotted to 6 megahertz – a compromise between RCA 441 line system
and DuMont’s 625 system. And on July 1, 1941, commercial television
in the United States officially began. CBS had lost the first round but they didn’t
go away – but World War II kept everybody preoccupied and there wasn’t that much to
our story during the war years – though the FCC was keen on seeing what CBS could do with
sequential color. Flash forward to December 9-13, 1946, CBS
along with manufacturer Zenith were back at it this time trying to convince the FCC to
adopt their system for color this time in the UHF channels and freeze the old black
and white standard for the 13 channels that the FCC had allocated to VHF (which they opened
up a second set of channels in the high band VHF in the meantime). But this time RCA was prepared. They argued that they could produce color
simultaneously with the use of three UHF signals crammed into a 12 Mhz channel. But CBS was looking like a clear winner. Charles Denny the new FCC chairman was vocal
in how impressive CBS’s system was. Later in January of 1947, RCA demonstrates
it’s idea for simultaneous color – No one was impressed and CBS looked like a shoe in… But when it came time to vote in March of
1947, the FCC said CBS’s color was still premature and Color would go back to the drawing
board. Six months later the FCC chairman Denny accepted
a new job as the vice-president of NBC – which was owned by RCA. From CBS’s perspective it looked the head
of a government organization just took a job at the rival company! The folks at CBS felt slighted and lobbied
a Congressional investigation that would lead to an amendment that prevents that from happening
again. So here we are in mid 1947, still no color
standard, but a big nasty problem began to rear its ugly head. When the Broadcast frequency allotment was
originally laid out in 1941, experimental broadcasts were done with relatively little
power and televisions were rather primitive. With high power broadcasts and more sophisticated
sets (thanks to the improvements in radio technology developed during World War II),
people that happened to live between stations of the same channel or adjacent channels would
receive a scrambled mess as the signals fought each other on their television screens. Something had to be done quickly or else chaos
was going to reign. On September 30, 1948, FCC halts all new TV
station licenses for six months to study the problem. Six months turned to 12 months. 12 months would turn into 30… RCA’s response to all this was to pour its
R&D into exploring the UHF spectrum with black and white – after all there were a lot of
stations and a lot of channels that could be had once the FCC unfroze licences and RCA
wanted to have the best technology and experience once UHF was open for TV. But then in 1949, the FCC reopens the question
on UHF AND color television. The big wigs at RCA rush back into the color
game, putting their engineers and designers on major overtime to come up with something
– anything to broadcast color. This time they fabricate a set using three
vacuum tubes each projecting an image onto frosted glass. The entire set weighed close to a ton. This last minute effort in color was a public
embarrassment for RCA. CBS lead engineer Goldman in a testimony to
the FCC suggested RCA’s system to be dropped immediately without even field testing it. That was a biting blow – something RCA president
would take personally. But one thing RCA’s system had going for
it – it was compatible with the black and white system at the time and used the same
6 Mhz band. But RCA had one more card to play. Back February 24, 1947 RCA’s engineer Alfred
Schroeder had patented a color display that worked using a single tube – engineers racked
up the overtime hours and developed this system which used colored phosphors and a shadow
mask and presented it in March of 1950. It was about the same size as TV sets out
there, but unlike CBS color system – it was backwards compatible. But it was still way too premature. Then on May 26, 1950 after 8 months and 62
exhaustive hearings and 265 exhibits on color television, the FCC ruled in favor of the
CBS mechanical color system – approving it on September 1, 1950. The unfreezing of new broadcast licenses would
wait until 1952. The approval of color came with two conditions. The industry was given 90 days to produce
a superior system. Otherwise the CBS system would be adopted
and number 2, all manufacturers had to agree that future TV sets would come with a switch
that could receive both black and white and the new CBS color even if showing the signal
in black and white – if they all agreed to doing that then the FCC wouldn’t adopt color
as the standard. If they didn’t agree, then the CBS color
system would be adopted. Lots of people were PISSED off, least surprisingly
RCA. First they sued just a week after the FCC
adopted CBS color, delaying the adoption until May 28, 1951 when the Supreme Court reaffirmed
the FCC decision. RCA’s David Sarnoff flung everything at
improving shadow mask concept and marshalled others in the industry to convene – formally
establishing the “second NTSC” on June 18, 1951 CBS announced that it would commence color
broadcasting with Premiere on Monday, June 25, 1951 on a five city network that included
New York City, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Boston This would be the beginning of CBS’s initial
plan to broadcast twenty hours of color a week a minimum by autumn. Thing was few people had bought converters
and there were no sequential color sets out there -so for those watching, the CBS signal
just turned to trash for that one hour of color broadcast So CBS, which wasn’t a manufacturer themselves,
had to get some TVs out there. After some marshalling The first CBS sequential
color television went on sale on September 20, 1951 the CBS-Columbia Model 12CC2. Catchy name… It sold for $500, or about 5,000 in 2019 dollars
and according to Allen B. DuMont, 200 of these sets were shipped and 100 were sold. The public largely ignored this overpriced
gizmo – remember this was a time when TVs were selling millions a year and here CBS
could only sell a hundred. In winning this battle for Color TV, CBS lost
the war. But let’s be real here, the whole idea of
sequential mechanical color is just, not very good. Just the practicality – the larger the screen,
the larger the color wheel – there was no future in this design at all. And when people moved, because the color was
captured sequentially, their faces would change colors – sequential color was simply a terrible
idea to begin with. Now during all this, another real war was
brewing on the Korean Peninsula. Exactly who called who changes depending on
who’s telling the story but Senator Charlie E. Wilson of the Defense Production Administration,
not to be confused with these other Charlie Wilsons, issues order M-90 on November 20,
1951, instructing CBS to abandon production and development of color television because
it might lead to a shortage of vital electronic components needed on the war front. No such ask was made of black and white tv
set manufacturers. And that was the unofficial end of CBS sequential
mechanical color. Perhaps Sarnoff’s connections from RCA made
the call, perhaps Paley of CBS used it as a way to get off the hook on a product that
was bombing in the figurative sense. Speaking of David Sarnoff at RCA – he’s
hadn’t been taking the loss lightly. While CBS color was failing, he’d poured
tons of resources to develop his single tube system. And slowly but surely it begins to take shape. CBS officially rescinded their color standard
in March of 1953 and second NTSC committee submits their new color standard to the FCC
in a petition on July 22, 1953 – this time with RCA leading the way with their electronic
color system that separates luminance and chrominance and a CRT screen with Red Green
Blue colored phosphors – the concept that we are familiar with today. And of course that frame rate is adjusted
down ever so slightly to keep the audio subcarrier from interfering with the color subcarrier. And in December of 1953, the new NTSC Color
standard which was backwards compatibility was unanimously adopted. 1953 would close out with over 7 million television
sets built that year BEFORE this standard, bringing the total number of TVs in the United
States to something like 23 million with a marketplace value 228 million dollars. That’s a $2.2 billion dollar production
when adjusted for inflation. But the good news, those sets wouldn’t be
destined for the garbage dump or need some clunky adapter to pick new color broadcasts. Backwards compatibility was no joke. The first coast to coast color broadcast took
place on January 1, 1954 with the Tournament of Roses Parade by NBC a subsidiary of RCA. Because so many of these manufacturers were
part of this second NTSC board, even new black and white television sets were tuned to 59.94i
instead of straight 60i. Ironically, or perhaps because the compatibility,
Color Broadcast was slow on the uptick. It would take another 13 years before NBC
would announce the first all color Prime Time line-up in 1966. In fact black and white TVs continued to outsell
color TVs for yet another decade after that all the way up to 1972 when Color Sets started
taking over. Just to round out the story, let’s go back
to our friends in Europe. By the mid fifties Television was making its
way to European homes. In 1956, the first alternative color system
was being developed in France by Henri France that would later become SECAM – it was a politically
motivated color system, to counter the Americans and protect French Television industries. Thing is SECAM is the same principle of NTSC
– the idea of separating luminance from chrominance and building that into the same signal was
the same as the American counterpart but SECAM dealt with a phase problem that plagued NTSC. The way the color was encoded in NTSC could
potentially lead to phase distortions over very long distances which could make the colors
go wonky – turning green to blue. This is the reason you have a hue control
on your NTSC television. France took the color information and split
it over two lines sequentially – hence where the term SECAM comes from. Then in 1959 Walter Bruch, working at Telefunken
in Germany, looked at NTSC and the French proto SECAM version and all their inherent
problems and weakness sort of developed a hybrid of two. Instead of sequential chrominance signals,
he decided to alternate the chrominance signal on each line that way any distortion would
be canceled out when the receiver summed up the chrominance signal. His system which he didn’t want to name
after himself because Bruch sounds like the German word for broken – would become PAL
– which sported 625 lines image and displayed at an even 50hz – no fractional frame rate
needed. But unlike NTSC and SECAM, it would not be
backwards compatible. Getting Europe to adopt a German system 20
some years after WW2 was kind of hard, but the robustness of the system eventually won
over Western Bloc countries with the UK being the first to implement it in 1967 with BBC2,
the second and more high brow flagship channel of British Broadcaster. While BBC requires viewers to pay a license
fee, getting BBC2 required viewers to purchase an additional color license and a new set
or a complicated dual standard receiver. Color adoption in Britain was slow too as
the number of color licenses didn’t reach a million subscribers for 5 years until 1972
and didn’t outpace monochrome television until 1977. That’s 5 years after the Americans had started
buying more Color TVs than Black and White ones. BBC1 and ITV kept broadcasting in the old
monochrome VHF 405 line system until November 15, 1969 when both started broadcasting in
PAL while rebroadcasting in the 405 monochrome format all the way up until 1985. So where as the Europeans like to mock the
American system, saying NTSC stands for Never the Same Color, the Americans can just shoot
back that PAL stood for Pay Another Licensing fee. But in reality the color issues of NTSC were
ultimately improved with better designed tv sets and using the S-Video standard, NTSC
actually delivers a slightly higher resolution on the horizontal and higher frame rate than
PAL or SECAM. But for as much hubub as which was better
– they’re all pretty close when you come down to it and it wasn’t like you have a
choice anyways. It’s where you live. But now that things have moved to digital,
NTSC and PAL have both been abandoned for digital broadcast with ATSC and DVB-2. But the spoils of the war of Color Television
still mark the way we make television and video today – including those little odd ball
frame rate numbers that still induce a serious amount of illogical anger among those that
don’t know any better. Thanks for indulging me in telling this story. Most of the research from this came from an
exhaustive article on by Bob Cooper – I’ll provide a link below
if you want to get really really deep into. If you would like more of these pleasure cruises
into the science and history of filmmaking, please like and subscribe, ring that bell
and consider becoming a Patron on Patreon – where every little bit helps! Special thanks to our A-Team and all the rest
of these fine folks sponsoring us. Also check out our official Filmmaker IQ merch
store right below the video. If you hated this video and the whole notion
of tri-color television, buy a shirt in red green and blue, attach them to a wheel and
create your very own sequential color system. Why? I don’t know, it might look cool. Send me a video!Go out there friends and make
something great. I’m John Hess and I’ll see you at Filmmaker


  1. Interesting bit of trivia – colour wheels are still used for single chip DLP projectors in the home! Some viewers are prone to the rainbow effect though.

  2. 1982 we bought a sony 21 inch 3months before los angeles olympics , at that time i was 14 yrs i knew all the adjacements like vertical holds etc , except one [ hue ] . today after 3 tv changes now i know the use of hue after 40 years

  3. I grew up with a tabletop Silvertone around 19" that had a jumper plug in the back. It said remove for color adapter.
    Made for a future color wheel adapter.

  4. 3:44 – Your "water" stein is in shot, camera right.

    Oh, I see what happened… the camera pulled back. Move along, everyone… nothing to see here… move along.

  5. Very informative. I took a course in cable television back in the 1990s and your presentation was more thorough than that. Thanks.

  6. I was born in 1950. I was a TV repairman through most of the CRT era. They used to say "Very soon, we'll have TV that can be hung on the wall like a picture!" They finally got there.

  7. DVB (Digital Video Broadcasting) has DVB-T (Terrestrial), DVB-S (Satellite) & DVB-C (Cable) which is to do with the frequencies used not the colour standard

    Compressed video, compressed audio, and data streams are multiplexed into MPEG program streams (MPEG-PS's). One or more MPEG-PS's are joined together into an MPEG transport stream (MPEG-TS); which is then broadcast over the airwaves.

    This is how colour is broadcast today rather than DVB.

  8. I remember tuning in local radio on the UHF tv and tuning in tv on my fm radio
    Back when the fmDJs all sounded like they were stoned and sitting behind a wire spool coffee table and there were no commercials.
    I could listen to FireSign theater on a bounced signal 500 miles away.

  9. The NTSC Color TV Sets has a delay line, a series of inductors and capacitors that delayed the monochrome video to allow the 3.58 MHZ subcarrier, color modulator and recovered color signal demodulator, to process the relatively low resolution, color signals of R-Y, B-Y, and G-Y, which were used together to produce any color. This delay was 450 nanoseconds. Also there was a color killer circuit and back of the set adjustment, that disabled the color recovery circuit if the station turned off the 3.58 MHZ burst transmission when only broadcasting monochrome, black and white video pictures. If the color killer did not shut off the color recovery circuits, a rainbow effect would rotate through the displayed monochrome image on the picture tube. Also, clothing had to be pretested in front of a color video camera. If a complex barbican pattern was scanned by the color System could be fooled by the resulting frequencies. Which could end up in the frequencies used by the color system, leading to the clothing turning into a rotating rainbow of moving colors. Fine Men’s Herringbone Suit jackets were particularly capable of triggering this technical distortion!

  10. That was fun! Can we have another video like this about the long road to HD and the coming together of the “Grand Alliance”? There are some fun stories in there including a last-ditch attempt to replace VSB with COFDM. You could end with a speculation on whether future UHD and HFR formats will ever drop 59.94 and its multiples.

  11. PAL stood for Perfect At Last. Never had the colour hue problems of the NTSC signal and had a higher resolution. Hidden lines were used for Teletext services too. It may not have had the faster frame rate but it certain was much more even and felt more natural. PAL was superior.

  12. I thought it rather weird that you stated Crystal Palace transmitter had "a range of 40 kilometres" since the USA measures distances in miles and so does the UK. (Are you trying to please the EU?)

  13. According to my business school, the battle for color TV was the largest single private commercial project ever. To be sure, the iPhone and computer revolutions were mostly after that class in 1985. Still, the achievement of affordable color TV was remarkable. If a 19th century person had travelled forward in time to now, they'd be most amazed at TV, which would be pure magic to them. And to think my dad paid $699 for a 23" Zenith in 1966. That TV is now about $100, so with inflation the TV is now 56x cheaper. With big screens the reduction is much higher…

  14. Some slight errors here – Like NTSC and 525 lines before it, PAL colour was backwardly compatible with black and white  televisions on 625 lines. The UK's BBC2 started in 1964 on UHF 625 lines, in black and white only, and did not require an increased TV licence payment. BBC2 started PAL colour TV broadcasts in 1967 on UHF 625 lines only, and it was the colour aspect which required the increased TV licence payment. The colour sets were dual standard 405 line (black and white signals only) and 625 (for colour) and were real beasts with sliding system switching all over the chassis as the two broadcast standards were very different. By 1969 most main transmitters for the other TV stations (BBC1 and ITV) were broadcasting in  colour on UHF 625 lines, and immediately  single standard (625 lines only) TV's began to appear, both black and white only sets, and colour sets. The old 405 line black and white system closed at the start of 1985 and the VHF band was never again used in the UK for TV broadcasting. European standards used 50 hz field rates from the start of broadcasts, simply because that was the AC mains frequency, just as it is 60hz in the US.

  15. It is always fascinating to me that usonians always disregard and play down the importance of mexicans in world history. Especially in this video where there's no mention of Guillermo González Camarena, you know, the first human ever to invent color television. NASA even used his invention for a Voyager mission. He aplied for his patent on 1941. I know you believe you are better than everyone but you need to start realizing that lie and give proper credit to reality. USA is filled with inmigrants anyway…

  16. Your comment at 20 minutes is incorrect. The whole point of using a refresh so close to 60 was specifically that existing sets would work as-is. There was no change needed for new B+W sets. Existing sets were completely capable of dealing with such a minor "error" in signal timing.

  17. Tv was stollen from a farmer by RCA (they tied him up in court until his patents expired) Philo Taylor Farnsworth (August 19, 1906 – March 11, 1971) was an American inventor of television

  18. GREAT PRESENTATION. I was a kid in the 50s and remember my Dad pulling the bad 'T.V. tubes' out of the T.V., placing them in a green box and taking them down to the store to check which tubes were bad and then buying new tubes to place back into the back of the T.V. Good as new. Today, T.V.s are throw-away items. They last a number of years, and you merely purchase another T.V.

  19. ya yes color tv now that was a blessing for the customer and freaking nightmare for we whom repaired em back then. Fact, they all had some minor flaws when it came to the ry,gy,by convergence of the screen being spot on. It wasn't easy to get all 3 of those guns synchronize 100% even with a crosshatch generator and some time on your hands. i would say that out of thousands of repairs horz to vert and flyback transformer replacements too in the shop never in the home, it was a most difficult task and we spent countless hours making adjustments to countless customer sets in the house. lastly, we servicemen had a little joke called the dreaded red trace lines of confusion? Just a code word for oh boy today is not my lucky day. Did this mostly in the customer's house or business with a multi pattern generator in one hand, small mirror and tripod in the other hoping this wouldn't take hours to correct that very noticeable design flaw…..

  20. My father bought our first color TV set in about 1968 and although not an expensive model, it cost a lot and the color lasted for only about a year before it started getting fluorescent. It was exciting going to color, but not as dramatic as the switch to HDTV. What was frustrating for TV technophiles of my generation was the decades they stuck with the old broadcast standard.

  21. PAL, Phase Alternate Line, NTSC, Never Twice Same Colour, SECAM, System Essentially Contrary (to the) American Method…

  22. Thank you for this summary. I remember reading much of this background on Ed Reitan's great website about the history of color tv (and the background of mechanical TVs as well). I also remember when we got our first color TV in 1967. It was so exciting! Grandparents had color sets but it was nice having one at our house.

  23. Drop frame timecode was developed to compensate for the fact that SMPTE timecode assumed a frame rate of 30 fps and NTSC ran at 29.94. Otherwise, TV producers could not figure the timing of a show other than playing it and watching with a stopwatch.

  24. Very detailed but all about how great America is but John Logie Baird beat you to it. Also Wikipedia says more about it than your research??

  25. At around 2:55 you mention manufacturing concentrating on microwaves in the 40s: a home microwave wasn’t developed until 1955 and didn’t really become popular for another 12 years or so.

  26. Great job. Consider doing one on HDTV, then compare and contrast it against analog TV.
    One thing I recall about early color TV, is the coarseness of the picture because the 'pixels' were bigger than BW TV, and color TVs were always bigger and heavier than a similar sized BW TV. As color improved, became more affordable, lighter, and pixels became tighter like in the Sony Trinitron, BW TV kept pace in being even more compact, more cheap, then battery operated and fully portable, and kept it going for so long even as everything was already broadcasted in color.

  27. Podcasts today are something like what radio was in the 1930s. The audio-only story-telling medium still connects to this day.

  28. Awesome discussion ! Thank you for the history on colour Television. I am old enough to remember when most television sets in my neighborhood in Montreal, Canada were 17 inch black and white General Electric or RCA sets. My next door neighbor had gone out and spent an astronomical sum of money back in 1968-69 to purchase an Electrohome 27 inch colour TV set for around $5,000.00 CAD !!! Mr. Hermiston, our next door neighbor, used to invite my late Father over to watch the Rose Bowl Perade and Football game in glorious NBC Colour !! A major selling point for Motel's and Hotels was they would put "Color TV Available" on their signs to attract more customers. Remember that folks ? What I would like to see a video on is an answer to my pet peeve question: Why don't more camera manufacturers put a True 24.00p speed capability on their cameras ? Many manufacturers have models that boast 24p (Like the GoPro hero 8 Black), but what the camera actually shoots is 23.976p ! I have seen some camera models by Canon which actually do have True 24.00p, but why not have this speed available on all video capable cameras ? Digital Cinema is 24.00p NOT freaken 23.976p !

  29. Does anyone (old enough) remember Mid 1960's Thursday nights at 9pm central time NBC's announcer would say "The following program is brought to you in living color on NBC. And during that announcement the beautiful and very colorful NBC Peacock would unfold its wings. Then after a short blank or black screen image you would softly hear Dean Martin singing the beginning words of his theme song (Everybody loves somebody) then the colorful Dean Martin Show would begin! Great variety shows on all 3 networks. Great comedies on all 3 networks. Great mysteries and great drama programs on all three networks. What in the "heck" happened to the great network television programs of the mid 1950's to the mid 1970's? Now if you want to watch classic television shows you have to wait till they are hopefully re-released on DVD or Blue-ray disc. It costs a lot of $$$$ but it's very well worth owning great television! End of rant. LOL I love your posts! Very interesting and very enjoyable!

  30. Well researched, well written, well presented.. Well done. ( The brilliant phase alternation idea did also earn PAL the moniker "Peace At Last" which, IMO, was better deserved than "Pay another Licence (fee)".

  31. PAL was backwards compatible with black and white 625 lines television, which was used in every single European country except Britain (which kept the old 405 lines system). SECAM used the 625 lines format too, but France used a "high definition" 819 lines black and white system in addition to 625 lines broadcasts. So, in fact, PAL was more backwards compatible than SECAM.

  32. Are you sure about microwaves being pumped out immediately after the war? The first consumer models didn't go into the market until 1955. And they were ridiculously expensive. $1295 back then, or adjusted for inflation, $12,465.39 today. You could buy a new car, or even maybe a house for that. Whereas the earliest consumer TVs sold in the US were $100, with a whopping 6" screen, or $1,322 roughly, in todays dollars.

  33. Fortunately, we got over the "Never Twice Same Color" issue when the ATSC standard for digital broadcasting was adopted in 1996.

  34. John, I've often watched and learned from you; therefore, with sincere regards I'm posting this message as carrying on of your tutelage. I've reached my local paper, family, colleagues, followers, and friends to slim vouchsafing. Please express this cause among your fellows to help out, I'm in the strictest sense an independent buried voice, and your peers/contribution may allow me to complete this first feature film. Thx.

  35. NTSC was terrible, phase modulating the color was a very bad idea, we spent half the time turning the hue knob to get the flesh tones to look right.

  36. That comeback only works for the UK. Also we didn't pay another licence…we paid either for colour or b&w not both. BTW that licence fee was cheaper than some subs plus the BBC showed no advertising.

  37. An excellently done, authoritative, accessible documentary.
    Can anyone answer a question for me? I well remember that, when colour started in the UK in 1967, we sometimes saw programmes that had been made in the USA. One of the things that many people commented on, and that I remember from experience, is that in these programmes the colour looked a bit washed-out, as if the contrasts of colour were weaker than those made specifically for the European PAL system. Was this because of something to do with translating the signal for a different system? I suspect it was, given that both systems were in their early years and that this problem seemed to disappear during the 1970s. Many thanks.

  38. Thank you for this great video , I am an Electronics TV Technician from the seventies and have witnessed the tremendous change in TV broadcasting and TV set evolution mostly in the last 20 or so years , TV broadcasting and receivers ( B &W or color ) hasn't changed for more than 60 years in basic theory in transmitting analog VHF and UHF signals and the CRT ( cathode ray tube ) TV receivers , it improved over the years but has its limitations in bandwidth and quality until the digital revolution and invention of the LCD , Plasma in the last 2 or 3 decades , it is new and very different from the old systems , the outcome for me is my more than 30 years experience in CRT TV became obsolete now and had to learn the new products but now me close to retirement , I am having a lot of knowledge in the exciting Electronics world ….

  39. I wonder if any of those.early pioneers lived long enough to see todays sets70 inches and bigger that are maybe two inches at the most, I bet they never envisioned that a wire would be used to send a signal instead of through an antenna.

  40. Loved that vid….I trained in B&W TV repair in the early 80's…didn't have a clue about 405 line tv still going in the mid 80's
    NTSC = Never The Same Colour is familiar, but PAL = Pay Another Licence 'fee' is new and funny.

  41. If I would have grown up with a spinning mechanical color wheel in my living room, I would have felt like a character in Dr. Seuss or something

  42. PAL not backwards compatible with black and white? Incorrect. The incompatibility was only in the British Isles, with the 405-line image. Many other European countries use 625 lines, having started later with television. SECAM at 625 line was incompatible with the earlier French B&W standard, 819 lines (HDTV in the 1950s!). I myself saw an experimental PAL broadcast on a black and white TV in Germany in 1965. It came through just fine, with color subcarrier dot cawl as expected.. SECAM could be converted to PAL and vice versa.

  43. I find all of the science and technology (as well as some of the business and politics) that goes into these things so fascinating. Yes, there's a lot of creativity that goes into many movies and TV shows, but they are inherently technical processes, and that interplay of art and science is really cool to me!

  44. What an excellent video. I was about during the introduction of colour TV is the UK. 64us delay lines to prevent Hanover Bars, and 4.43361875 sub carriers with back porch synchronising bursts. All a bit of magic, back in the day. Thanks for rekindling stuff I'd forgotten about.

  45. The title of this video is misleading. It should read "the forgotten war for color television IN THE US"

    The 99% of the rest of the world has had no difficulty deciding what standard and format their colour television should be!! Why America has so much difficulty in deciding the most mundane of things continuously leaves me scratching my head. Little wonder the rest of the world is always laughing at America.

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