How long has television been around?

Science in dialogue

When was the television invented?

The development of the television was a process that lasted over many decades, to which a large number of inventions and further developments contributed.

Television as we know it today is based on electronic image recording and reproduction. The individual pixels of a film are "scanned" one after the other and line by line with light, broken down into electrical signals and transmitted to the receivers as high-frequency electromagnetic radiation via cable, antenna or satellite. In the television set, the electrical signals are converted back into points of light on a fluorescent pane. The image is built up point by point and in lines. This happens so quickly that it is not visible to the eye, only the image as a whole is perceived.

The first electronic transmission of images with a cathode ray tube on the transmitter and receiver side succeeded Philo T. Farnsworth on September 7, 1927 during a demonstration for his donors in his laboratory in San Francisco. At the 8th radio exhibition in Berlin in 1931, Manfred von Ardenne presented the first electronic television system industrially manufactured by Loewe to the public. This is often referred to as the "world premiere of electronic television". A replica of the device is in the German Museum of Technology in Berlin. In December 1930, Ardenne succeeded for the first time in the fully electronic transmission of images using a Braunschweig tube ("picture tube").

The beginnings of television development go back to 1883. At that time, Paul Nipkow developed the "Electric Telescope". With the help of a rotating disk, the Nipkow disk, which was provided with spirally arranged holes, images could be broken down or reassembled into light-dark signals. Image decomposition and composition were still mechanical. With this, however, Nipkow had developed the basic idea for television image transmission. Thus, the year 1883 could also be considered the year television was born.

At that time, however, Nipkow's invention could not be implemented. It was not until the twenties of the last century that the Deutsche Reichspost began to try television using this method. However, the image reproduction was not satisfactory.

The breakthrough came with the use of the cathode ray tube, also known as the Braun tube. The cathode ray tube was developed by Ferdinand Braun and Jonathan Zenneck in 1897. Inside a vacuum cylinder, an electron beam transfers the image information in lines to a glass pane equipped with a fluorescent layer. This Braun tube is still in use today in the majority of television sets in a further developed form.

The world's first regular television program service began in Germany on March 22, 1935.

The question was answered by Ingo Rosenblath, press spokesman for the Thuringian Museum for Electrical Engineering Erfurt e.V.