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100 Years of Innovation: The Television

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Americans spend an average of 151 hours watching TV every month
Americans spend an average of 151 hours watching TV every month

It’s sometimes difficult to fathom just how much progress can be made in less than 100 years, but perhaps the perfect example of a game-changing world-beater is surely the television.

The first televised moving images were depicted through the work of inventor John Logie Baird just 86 years ago, a pioneer who gave us the first fully electronic colour tube and transmitted broadcasts overseas via radio signals in what was a groundbreaking moment for communication. Known as ‘The father of television’, he is rightly ranked number 44 in the list of 100 Greatest Britons.

While television was commercially available from the 1920s, the UK’s love affair with the ‘box' really blossomed after 20 million watchers tuned in to see the Queen’s coronation in 1953.

It was the crowning event for television in the home and was broadcast in 44 languages around the world. Neighbours squeezed into the one or two houses in a street that could afford a television to crowd round and watch intently as the coronation was shown on a tiny black and white screen, For many, it was their first introduction to the wonder of TV broadcasts.

In less than 60 years, technological advancement has been staggering. With 480 channels available now, there are 27,000 hours of domestic content produced each year at a cost of £2.6 billion in the UK alone, while Americans spend 151 hours watching TV every month. We now have 3D TVs, the boom of internet television and the start of a digital switchover for the whole of the UK.

And Logie Baird didn’t stop at making television commercially successful either; he also developed high definition and 3D pictures less than 20 years after his breakthrough. How’s that for a CV?
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