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Electronic Color Television is Here
February 1947 Popular Science

February 1947 Popular Science

February 1947 Popular Science Cover - RF Cafe[Table of Contents]

Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics. See articles from Popular Science, published 1872-2021. All copyrights hereby acknowledged.

When you see an article title such as this one from at 1947 issue of Popular Science magazine titled "Electronic Color Television is Here," you might think well duh, what other kind of TV would there be other than "electronic?" If you had been around at the time and were aware of developments in color television, you would know that there were a couple variations of electromechanical systems being considered. In fact, RCA and CBS had a rotating color wheel (red, green, and blue segments) which rotated in front of the video detector tube to separate colors for comprising the composite signal, and then a similar setup for projecting onto a display screen. Fortunately, the all-electronic NTSC format won the competition. Even so, because of complexity and reliability concerns, the color TV cameras that flew on Apollo 10 and Apollo 11 (the first moon landing) in 1969 used the color wheel approach. The RCA scheme reported here uses stationary mirrors, which went away before the NTSC standard became law.

Electronic Color Television Is Here

All-Electronic color television, which RCA engineers have achieved in a form that does not make black-and-white equipment obsolete, is a complete departure from the mechanical color transmissions of recent years. Mirrors and photoelectric cells replace moving parts.

In a recent demonstration at Princeton, N. J., pictures were broadcast with a new color-slide camera. Its developers plan laboratory transmission of live-action studio scenes by mid-1947, outdoor action scenes late in 1947, theater-size pictures in 1948:

The electronic system's mirrors and tubes split a beam of light into red, blue, and green images. Three kinescopes in the receiver pick up the separate images simultaneously - in contrast to mechanical systems in which a rotating filter transmits the three colors one at a time - and project a merged, flickerless picture.

Color television requires much higher frequencies than black-and-white work because a wider band must be used. The operating standards, however, such as the scanning rate, number of lines, and rate of picture repetition (30 per second), are the same as in commercial television. So a frequency converter would suffice to equip any black-and-white receiver to handle color broadcasts in black and white. Thus the advent of commercial color television - still some years away by RCA estimates - need not make present sets obsolete.

Color and Monochrome (B&W) Television Articles



Posted November 17, 2023

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