watch TV

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Television company with antennas for satellite communication

Television is a process of recording moving pictures, transmitting them as a data stream and displaying or reproducing them at the same time. Television (also TV for short , from the Greek-Latin word television ) conceived as a mass medium and produces television programs , appears as a film producer or broadcasts live or after recording to a mass audience.

The difference to the videophone or the Internet is that the transmission is unidirectional to a dispersed audience and cannot be controlled by them.

The verb fernsehen means to watch a television program on a television set.

The term television also designates the socio-technical complex of organizations (public or private broadcasters) and technologies (recording, recording, production, transmission and reception techniques).


Television is usually used with modulated high-frequency transmission via antennas or wired ( cable television ). The transmission via antennas takes place either non-terrestrially with the help of broadcast satellites ( satellite television ) or via terrestrial frequencies ( antenna television , also called terrestrial television).

The way in which the picture and sound information is encoded during transmission depends on the television standard used . There are a large number of television standards worldwide, but these can be reduced to a few basic parameters. On the one hand, a distinction is made between analog television and digital television. Analog television is television in which at least the image data, but mostly also the audio data , are transmitted in analog form. There are several analog television standards . In many regions, analog television has been replaced by digital image transmission (see digital television , analogue switch-off ).


When it comes to the medium of television, few program providers face a mass audience of several million viewers ( consumers ).

In most of the countries this is a historical fact, as the existing laws meant that television was initially operated exclusively by public broadcasters. This changed with falling broadcasting costs and the liberalization of the market. The program providers cover the costs of producing the content in various ways (see dual broadcasting system ).

The public broadcasting corporations , which have a state-determined program mandate to which their programs must be based, are largely financed in Germany from state-determined contributions (see also contribution service ) and advertising . Some other sources of income are reselling or licensing own television productions.

The private television stations , on the other hand, finance themselves almost exclusively through advertising. Television productions are usually commissioned, and a large part of the program content is purchased or licensed. The purchased or licensed productions by German private television stations are mostly high-revenue US series or films , sometimes entire television formats .

In addition to public and private television, there are so-called pay-TV channels (English, pay TV , and subscription television ) that are paid directly by the viewer (eg. Sky Germany , formerly Premiere ). These encrypt your broadcasts, which can only be seen with special decoders . The viewer then pays, depending on the system, either per program or program package or per broadcast ( pay-per-view ). Since advertising is usually perceived as annoying by viewers, pay TV broadcasters generally do without advertising. Some pay-TV subscribers find this a great advantage. Self-promotion by the pay TV stations ( on air promotion ) can be perceived as annoying.

In the United Kingdom , an intermediate form exists. The BSkyB there is pay TV, but it sends about as much advertising as advertising-financed private TV.


TV studio of the program Kripo live of the MDR television

Television is one of the mass media . It plays a role in shaping public opinion .

Television is mainly used by viewers for entertainment, leisure activities as well as for information gathering or education. Accordingly, the television programs are also divided into entertainment programs, news programs and educational television. In Germany, with the exception of documentaries , the latter is almost exclusively offered by public television broadcasters in accordance with their educational mandate. Increasingly, education and news are mixed with entertainment for what is known as infotainment . These types of broadcasts are also increasingly being offered by commercial and pay television broadcasters.

The spectrum of entertainment programs is extremely diverse and includes, among other things, films , series and entertainment programs that can be divided into further categories. The category educational television includes documentaries , politics , advice and science programs .

On the part of the economy, television is used for advertising. Individual products and / or brands are presented in short commercials and their purchase is recommended. In addition to the commercials, there are also so-called sales shows or permanent advertisements . Some specialized channels, so-called home shopping channels, show nothing other than sales shows throughout the day.

For the advertising industry , television is one of the most important media, as many people can be reached in this way. In addition, television is suitable for the advertising industry because this medium is particularly good at arousing feelings and emotions in consumers.

In Germany, treaty stipulations regulate the duration and frequency of advertising per program or broadcast time. The rights to broadcast advertising in public television broadcasters are more restricted. For example, you are not allowed to broadcast any advertising after 8 p.m. or on Sundays and public holidays that are recognized throughout Germany. In the case of non-public television broadcasters, advertising may not yet exceed 20 percent of the program, i.e. 12 minutes per hour.

State and politics mainly use television to inform the population and to promote opinion-forming. The spectrum of the content ranges from references to important events to disaster warnings. Politicians often try to convince the population of their own views or to justify their work through television. In many states, television is also widely used for propaganda purposes by the government .

Another field of application of television technology is video surveillance, which is becoming increasingly cheaper because the technology is qualitatively better and at the same time cheaper, and the particularly cost-intensive production of content is no longer necessary.

In space research, which estimates high costs for missions anyway, television technology is also used. However, moving images are rarely recorded here. Instead, special cameras are used, which often have particularly high resolutions and / or record light in other spectral ranges than that perceived by the human eye and sometimes transmit it to earth with a time delay.

Broadcast processing and archiving

The technical coordination point of every radio station is the control room . This is where all incoming and outgoing signals cross. The principle is that an audio channel is automatically activated for each image channel ( audio follows video ). The signal streams from satellite transmissions, reports from the outdoor studios and live connections to the correspondents and OB vans come together in the control room. A command link leads to the other technical facilities of the broadcaster such as recording studios, control room, graphics, editing, direction, etc. The technical departments of many broadcasters are already fully networked with one another. For example, a film is cut on the computer and sent over the network. There are also direct connections to any broadcasting network (e.g. ARD star ) via the control room .


In the early days of television, many programs were broadcast live or pre-produced as audiovisual sequences . Live broadcasts were sometimes recorded by filming them on the monitor. Since the mid-1960s, the studio recording and broadcasting of pre-prepared content has been carried out with VTR equipment, from which the video recorders for home use were developed in the late 1970s and which store analog or digital signals on magnetic tapes or hard drives and which are also used for processing individual contributions. Today computers have often taken their place, offering a multitude of additional processing options. In order to be able to continue using the old external technology, MAZ devices are still in use.

In the meantime, most television stations have switched to precisely programmable video servers on which the contributions can be saved and retrieved after a fixed time sequence. Video servers can drive large transmission distances fully automatically and thus reduce the technical and personnel effort to a minimum. Because of the digital form of the signal processing, the long-term storage (archiving) of the contributions is now also carried out in digital form. The television stations are currently in a migration phase because older television archives are often digitized at great expense in order to prevent further damage to the content stored on old magnetic tapes and to enable quick access.

A so-called "broadcasting route" is available for each program. The video servers or so-called LMS (Library Management System) are controlled by the playback software (Harris, Pebble Beach, etc.). In other words, both starting the audio / video signal and switching or mixing on the transmitter mixer is controlled remotely by the playback software. A supervisory engineer can technically monitor the broadcast of several programs. He must work closely with the program editors and be able to intervene in changes at short notice. This requires a good knowledge of the playout software and the editing of the program events.

Digital archiving and processing

Today, digital archiving is mainly done on tape media or hard drives . Because of the low cost, LTO tapes are predominantly used today. The file types are dominated by the IMX format from Sony and the DVCPro50 format from Panasonic . The resolution is 720 × 576 pixels. The data rate is 50  Mbit / s , around 27 gigabytes of data are generated per hour during recording . In everyday archiving, broadcasters nowadays choose combination solutions between tape and hard drive, because short-term storage on hard drives allows faster access. The LTO tapes, which have a storage capacity of 200 to 500 gigabytes, are managed by computer-controlled (redundant) robots that can organize a stock of up to 6000 media. Such a library holds around 1200 terabytes per robot.

The modern computer network of larger television stations enables fully automatic data transfer from the data tape to the video server and vice versa; online queries from external archive customers (other stations, agencies, etc.) can also be processed at any time. Modern control software, such as DIVArchive , organizes all inquiries and is now so powerful that scenes can be cut from individual archive stocks on the PC without having to load the entire contribution from the archive ( partial restore ). Broadcasting and archive (the heart of every broadcaster) are so closely interlinked that they can be accessed at any time. In the case of analog archives, the respective contribution still has to be fetched from the shelf by an employee and laboriously processed by hand, which costs time and resources.

IMX and DV are suitable for storing meta information in conjunction with wrapper formats such as MXF . These have a purely descriptive function and contain not only titles and personal details but also keywords relating to the content of the program. Using these terms, the respective contributions (similar to digital MP3 music collections) can be called up directly via the network. This means that every archive content can be found and opened using directly entered keywords.

Lack of care in archiving

Older archives were partly destroyed, partly for political reasons, partly simply to make room. Many television broadcasters did not understand what assets they were destroying. Today, for example, the British television broadcaster BBC is searching worldwide for any copies from the beginnings of the Doctor Who series, in which over 100 parts from the BBC's own archive were deliberately destroyed.

Many films shown in the GDR also disappeared from the archives or, after the reunification of the two German states, reached a state in which they can no longer be shown. One of these films is, for example, the series Hot Wire into the Hereafter .

Films from the early days of television in particular were not considered valuable enough to be archived for a long time. Video tapes were expensive and scarce and were re-recorded after broadcast. Copyright reasons also prevented interest in retention. Replaying films that had already been shown was sometimes associated with very high fees.

Social aspects

Use in Germany

Distribution in Germany
year Equipment level Equipment inventory
1998 95.5-95.8 138.2-140.0
1999 95.3 143.6
2000 95.5 143.3
2001 95.5 147.8
2003 94.4 145.5
2004 95.0 148.1
2006 95.2 151.9
2007 95.9 156.0
2008 94.1 147.4

In Germany (as of 2004) 95 percent of households have at least one television set, 28 percent of households have two televisions (synonymous: television set), eleven percent more than two. 37 percent of households have satellite reception, 54 percent of households have cable television. 70 percent of households have a video recorder.

In the Federal Republic of Germany, television consumption has risen steadily since the introduction of television up to and including 2011 - based on all people over three years of age. On average, every German citizen watched 158 minutes of television per day in 1992, and 183 minutes in 1997. In 2004 it was 210 minutes, in 2011 225 minutes, i.e. 3.75 hours. Extrapolated to one year, this already corresponded to a non-stop viewing time of almost two months per year in 2005. Unemployed and elderly people watch television above average. Women and girls watch television more than men and for relaxation purposes; but they also often run it in the background. However, 90% of the respondents of both sexes state that they use television primarily to obtain information.

Sociological consideration

Cartoon : The technical innovations in reporting at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin and a forecast for the year 2000. Olympia special issue, Berliner Illustrierte Zeitung , 1936.
An American family watching TV, ca.1958

Television is a mass medium and has been since the 1950s in the developed countries for leading medium developed. Around 95 percent of German households now have at least one television set, 40 percent of which have two or more. For many people it has become part of everyday life and often even structures the daily routine. It receives support from all classes and age groups and takes the place of all institutions with a journalistic claim with a previously unknown effectiveness, but without completely replacing them. In 2008, viewers in Germany watched around 3.5 hours of television per day; in the USA, the duration was 5 hours in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Television has an orienting and leveling effect (balancing). The most important tool for this is frequent repetition. This makes it the basis of general taste and style formation and influences social communication . Alexander Kluge states that the voices have been leveled to an average television sound.

However, due to the increased emergence of special-interest channels, combined with the growing role of the Internet or digital television and the new social media in social life, the style-forming function of television is declining again. Everyone can, within certain limits, become their own program director. This causes an increasing fragmentation and fragmentation of social perception and communication. Learning to deal with it properly is the task of media education . Like all media, television often has an influence on the opinion of consumers. However, since the content of television is transported more often than other media, it is of primary importance here.

Television broadcasters often claim to present the viewer with a glimpse of the complex society. More and more different areas of social life are receiving broader media attention. But the area of ​​life to be represented must be interesting, understandable and visually realizable. This goes hand in hand with a selection from the outset, combined with a reduction in the various communicative codes and sign systems , as well as specialization and perfection of acoustic-visual signals. In fact, in many cases it is even the case that television creates the topics about which communication seems worthwhile. In the search for new topics that bind the viewers, the TV makers often break through borders, so that in the eyes of many taboos are often broken .

Negative impact and criticism

Critics such as the US media scientist Neil Postman fear that the growing media consumption will lead to the decline of moral rules. The representation of violence on television is particularly criticized. Studies show a relationship between television shows depicting violence and violent behavior. To what extent this is a causal (causal) connection is controversial and the subject of scientific research. The effect of television has been studied in Germany since the 1950s by Horst Wetterling among others .

Several studies suggest that the level of television consumption in childhood is related to later attainment level (i.e., the higher the level of television consumption, the worse the level of education).

In addition, high television consumption in childhood and adolescence is associated with obesity or an above-average body mass index , lack of exercise , poor physical fitness , tobacco smoking and the corresponding complications in adulthood.

The opposite is also possible: connections between certain television formats (e.g. Germany's Next Top Model ) and anorexia are discussed .

In addition, it is questionable whether even television programs and videos specially designed for young children support their language acquisition . According to a study from 2009, children under the age of three seem to hardly benefit, even from programs specially tailored to young children to promote language learning : Small children were only able to learn new verbs if they were actively supported by an adult.

Further effects

Television as a way of obtaining information about foreign cultures. Asylum seekers television in a collective accommodation facility in Bavaria

The proliferation of television in rural India has led to higher female school attendance and lower fertility rates , according to a study by Robert Jensen and Emily Oster .

In Brazil, the spread of Rede Globo has greatly increased the audience for its soap operas . In these soap operas, over 70 percent of the female characters portrayed have no children. Poor women, in particular, have had fewer children since Rede Globo's spread in the 1970s and 1980s. The fertility-reducing effect corresponds roughly to that of two additional years of female school attendance.


Early developments

Telefunken television receiver from 1936

In the early years of television development, terms such as electrical vision , telegraph vision , electrical television, and telephony were used. At the beginning of the 20th century, initial research dating back to thirty years was known (1877: Constantin Senlecq; Henry Sutton), but “the problem was still considered unsolved”.

In 1883 Paul Nipkow invented the " Electric Telescope ", which with the help of a rotating disk (" Nipkow disk "), which was provided with spirally arranged holes, split images into light-dark signals or put them back together again. Nipkow was the first to provide a feasible form for a functioning television image transmission, which, however, could only be implemented many years later. Due to the basic idea for the realization, Paul Nipkow is sometimes referred to as the inventor of television. The Nipkow technology for image decomposition and reproduction was opto-mechanical, but at the time of its development there were no television processes that continued to use this invention.

In Germany in 1906, Max Dieckmann (a student of Ferdinand Braun ), who had converted a Braun tube , demonstrated that it is possible to reproduce a television image electronically . However, Dieckmann used a Nipkow disk as a recording instrument . In the absence of electronic amplification in 1906, wire brushes that scanned a metal template were installed in place of the holes in the Nipkow disk. These images could be moved by hand, the Dieckmann television reproduced moving images (with a resolution of 20 lines at 10 images per second). Since there was no such thing as a “real” television camera, the Dieckmann television set was initially of no practical importance, and the picture tube was considered too expensive and too complicated at the time.

In 1907 the Russian Boris Rosing succeeded in transmitting and receiving a shadowy television picture for the first time, for which he received a patent in many countries, including Germany.

In the 1920s, Leon Theremin replaced the holes in the Nipkow disc with mirror arrangements and in 1927 achieved transmissions in daylight and images with 100 lines on large projections. However, his results were not published, but used by the Soviet secret service to monitor people. (The well-known world record at the time was 48 lines.)

Historic television (Braun HF 1 from 1958)
Historical television camera (Fernseh GmbH, approx. 1964)

The first fully electronic television was developed in 1926 by the Hungarian physicist, electrical engineer and inventor Kálmán Tihanyi - the "radioscope" (the associated patent has meanwhile been included in the world document heritage ).

For many years the cathode ray tube was the most widely used method of displaying images for television. However, it found its first application in measuring equipment. The further developments of the cathode ray tube, which were decisive for television, were contributed by Vladimir Zworykin , who in 1923 invented the first usable electronic image scanner, the iconoscope tube, which was mass-produced from 1934 but is no longer used today. In 1929 Vladimir Zworykin invented the kinescope tube for displaying images. According to some information, Philo Farnsworth had developed a functioning cathode ray tube and camera tube independently of Zworykin as early as 1927 and transmitted an image with both in the laboratory even before Zworykin realized his picture tube patent. Thus, the two paved the way to fully electronic television .

In 1926, Kenjiro Takayanagi succeeded for the first time in a verifiable manner in electronically transmitting and displaying an image in the form of a letter consisting of two lines. In an experimental setup based on Max Dieckmann's idea, a Japanese katakana character , which had previously been dismantled as an image using a Nipkow disk, was displayed on the screen of a cathode ray tube .

First practical television programs

Like Kenjiro Takayanagi, John Logie Baird resorted to the original Nipkow disc for image decomposition and developed a fully functional system from the studio, transmission to the receiver. As early as 1928, with his opto-mechanical or opto-electronic television process, he succeeded in transatlantic transmission of a television image from London to New York. In addition to his numerous inventions and wide-reaching successes, Baird's greatest merit should be that he demonstrated the possibilities of television to the public, made it popular and thus greatly accelerated technical development overall. He was also involved in the first establishment of television as a medium .

These first television services from 1929 with regular broadcasts from around 40 stations were initially television in the 30-line standard and up to 60 lines. It broadcast on radio waves on the long , medium and short wave and was receivable in North America, Europe and Australia. ( see also → station table )

Manfred von Ardenne achieved the world's first television transmission by means of purely electronic image decomposition and reproduction and line-by-line scanning via a photocell and reproduction on a cathode ray tube on December 14, 1930 in his Lichterfeld laboratory . On August 21, 1931, at the radio exhibition in Berlin, he presented the first fully electronic television, which was to determine the future of television for a long time.

From March 22, 1935, the first regular television program in the world was broadcast in Germany by the television station Paul Nipkow . In November 1936, the BBC broadcast high-resolution images with 405 lines for the first time, while the television station Paul Nipkow only broadcast 180 lines until 1937.

Television in Germany

From March 22, 1935, the first regular television program in the world was broadcast in Germany by the television station Paul Nipkow . The programs, which were broadcast in 180 lines up to 1937, reached their climax with the extensive broadcasts of the 1936 Summer Olympics in so-called television rooms and large picture areas in Berlin and later in Hamburg . For this purpose, a mobile television transmitter consisting of 15 vehicles was put into service for the first time. The intermediate film process was used to display the television pictures in screen size in the large picture areas. Other functional large-screen TV methods at this time were: 1) the cell grid method (a cell grid panel with 10,000 to 40,000 light bulbs as pixels; developed by A. Karolus) and 2) projection devices with Schmidt mirror lenses (with a Braunschweig tube). The later very well-known Eidophor large-screen projection device with a novel functional principle was only theoretically conceived in 1939. After lengthy prototype phases, it was mass-produced from 1959.

In 1939, the Volksempfänger , which was already widespread at the time , a very simply constructed radio, was supplemented by the “Volksfernseher”, the official name “Einheitsempfänger” ( German standard television receiver E 1 ). It was planned that five companies would produce this television in large numbers in the following years. This device was mainly equipped with steel tubes of the 11 and 14 series and had a fixed reception channel. The device had a very high quality rectangular picture tube for 441 lines and interlaced operation. Technically, the E1 was way ahead of its time, as the picture tube was very flat. There was hardly any pincushion distortion, so this tube can be compared to tubes from the 1970s. In Great Britain , "high-definition television" began as early as 1936, albeit with only 405 lines, but also interlaced. However, the outbreak of World War II prevented the E 1 from being produced in large numbers. The information about the number of devices produced is around 50. The planned sales price was 650 Reichsmarks. Although the National Socialists tried to use television for their own purposes, radio (see radio ) remained the most important medium for National Socialist propaganda because of its range and tried and tested technology. By 1939 there were probably no more than 500 privately owned televisions. At the beginning of the war, however, developments were well advanced. Broadband cables already traversed large parts of the German Reich, the intention was to distribute the television programs in combination via antenna and cable. Attempts were made with television telephony. A so-called TV intercom was installed in Berlin and Leipzig. In addition to the telephone, they also had an image scanner and a screen so that the conversation partners could not only hear each other, but also see each other. In the winter of 1944, the television programs last recorded in the domed hall of the Olympiapark Berlin , which at that time mainly served to support troops in military hospitals near the capital, were discontinued in the German Reich. Since the beginning of the war, developments have only taken place for military purposes. Became known z. B. the glide bomb Henschel 293 , which should be dropped from the aircraft on sea targets. It had a television camera in the bow and a television transmitter weighing only about 5 kg ( “Tonne” / “Seedorf” system ). This and the camera were battery-powered. The transmitter sent the recorded images to the mother aircraft via a Yagi antenna built into the rear , where they were to be guided to the target via a monitor and remote control. For Germany, the end of the war meant the loss of all patents and a strict ban on developments, including in the field of radio and television technology.

625 lines were specified as a European standard. This standard was adopted by both German states from 1952. In the USA a compromise was reached in 1942 on 525 lines with 60 fields in the interlaced process, after various transmitters with resolutions of 441 to 608 lines were already in operation. France decided on its own standard with 819 lines, which was initially also adopted by Belgium. However, it quickly changed to 625 lines, for Wallonia there was still a short-term parallel operation with 819 lines. Great Britain stuck to the 405-line standard with an amplitude-modulated sound carrier.

In 1957, television technology was explained to young people in the GDR (Erfurt) on the “Rembrandt” receiver

Official television operations in the German Democratic Republic began on December 21, 1952 (Stalin's birthday). The first television set officially sold was the Rembrandt 852B (with a round picture tube) manufactured by Sachsenwerk. The predecessor, Leningrad T2, was mainly intended for reparations payments to the Soviet Union.

In the Federal Republic of Germany , television operations from a bunker in Hamburg were not to resume until December 25, 1952. As early as 1955, Philips presented a television that could receive all European standards. The first television series produced in Germany after the war was the Telefunken FE8. It cost 1000 DM. The prices for television sets fell over the years, and in 1957 the first sets were offered for less than 1000 DM. A status symbol of the 1950s, but only affordable for the wealthy, were so-called TV chests , which combined television, radio, record player and sometimes a tape recorder in a mostly chest-like housing. Such "tube cemeteries" were produced until the late 1960s.

TV in Austria

TV in Switzerland

At the Swiss National Exhibition in Zurich in 1939 , a group of actors was filmed using a technology developed by the ETH and shown to the audience on a prototype screen. As the first licensed company, the Swiss Radio and Television Company (SRG SSR) started regular broadcasting on January 1, 1958.

Further developments

After the transistor had been developed in Bell Laboratories / USA in 1948 and the first transistor radios came onto the market a few years later, it made sense to use this technology for the construction of television sets. The transistor has the advantage of a longer service life with a more compact design compared to the electron tube, as it was previously used in all entertainment electronics devices. Since transistors also work with low voltage and lower power consumption, they are especially interesting for battery-operated devices.

The Japanese company Sony with the model 5-303 (1960) and the American company Philco with the model Safari 2010 (1959) are considered pioneers in the construction of transistor televisions. The developers of transistorized televisions were faced with the task of developing a device that was still relatively new at the time and that could keep up with or even surpass conventional televisions in terms of quality. Since the transistor televisions had to be portable, special attention had to be paid to a compact and mechanically and electrically robust design. Since the only remaining tube, namely the picture tube z. Sometimes working with very high voltages, circuits were necessary at least for battery operation in order to generate these voltages from the battery voltage, usually 12 V. When the UHF range with frequencies above 300 MHz was introduced in 1960, transistors were required for the receiving part, which in addition to the broadband image signal could also process these high frequencies.

These requirements made the early transistor televisions very expensive. In terms of price, they were often higher than high-quality home appliances and initially hardly played a role in the entertainment electronics market. The first German transistor television set was the Imperial Astronaut in 1514. In addition to the picture tube, it had another tube, the DY80 diode, to rectify the anode voltage of the picture tube. The first Soviet transistor television set was the Elektronika 50, a fairly compact device with a 50 mm visible image.

The high prices began to fall when devices from the Far East came onto the market in the late 1960s. Sometimes only half as much as German devices cost. In addition to the Japanese brand names already known at the time, brands came onto the market in the early 1970s that even experts had never heard of. These “no name” products were often of questionable quality, but the fall in prices made portable televisions affordable for many interested parties for the first time.

Due to the increasingly compact design of entertainment electronics devices, the idea of ​​combining different devices into one easy-to-transport unit came up early on. The best known example of this is the radio recorder. As early as 1974, a small Japanese company called Standard had brought a radio recorder with an integrated 5 "SW television onto the market. In the 80s, such combinations" grew "into often heavy-weight portable stereo systems, the sound and the price made many home appliances Almost all of these devices came from the Far East, and German brands also had their devices manufactured there.

The possibilities of ever more compact design, not least through the use of integrated circuits, known as IS or IC, spurred developers on to develop ever smaller televisions. Such “handhelds” were more of a status symbol, the benefit was rather limited. The best-known examples are the Panasonic TR-001 (1970) and the MTV-1 from the English computer manufacturer Sinclair. The size of these devices was about that of a dictionary, they were equipped with a cathode ray tube three to four centimeters in diameter. In 1984, Casio launched the TV-10, the first real pocket TV, and heralded the end of the cathode ray tube by using a black and white LCD to display images. Seiko shot the bird in terms of miniaturization in 1982 with his TV watch. Here a tiny liquid crystal screen had been integrated into a wristwatch, but reception was via an external box the size of a pocket radio that was attached to the watch and put in a shirt pocket. One exotic feature of this miniaturization was a car cassette radio with an integrated 35 mm television set - using cathode ray technology - which was also from the Far East and was suitable for installation in the DIN slot in the dashboard.

Development steps in the technical area

Theoretical conception of the first video device for the studio area ( MAZ ) by Eduard Schüller ( Telefunken ) in helical tracking, which is the basis of all video recorders to this day .
The Eurovision for Europe-wide broadcasting of television is introduced. First broadcast throughout Europe: the coronation of the British Queen Elizabeth II.
Ampex (USA) is showing the world's first working video recorder at NAB.
Philco (USA) brings the Safari type, the first (except for the picture tube) fully transistorized television onto the market.
With the Micro TV 5-202, Sony builds the first mini TV with a 4.25-inch picture tube.
With the Nordmende President, Nordmende presents the first television with wireless ultrasonic remote control.
The start of color television in the Federal Republic of Germany took place at the 25th Great German Funk Exhibition in West Berlin on August 25, 1967.
With the start of the 2nd program of the German television broadcasting company (DFF) and the simultaneous opening and commissioning of the Berlin television tower on October 3, 1969, color television was also introduced in the GDR .
Telefunken introduces an optical disc system ( TED ) for playback only. The mechanical (!) Scanning was carried out using a crystal vat. After 400 days, production was stopped again due to the high sensitivity of the system.
Philips introduces an optical disc system, also for playback only. The scanning was done here with a laser. The signals were not sampled digitally, but frequency-modulated.
The first video cassette recorder for home use is presented as a joint development under the leadership of Philips. He works on the VCR system .
Powerful thyristors and transistors replace energy-consuming tube technology in televisions. The only remaining tube is the picture tube.
Inline picture tubes and modular technology make color TVs an inexpensive mass-produced item.
Three different, incompatible video systems (magnetic tape for consumers) will be presented: the Video 2000 system ( Grundig , Philips), the Betamax system (Sony) and the VHS system ( JVC ). The latter then prevailed.
Sony presents the first camcorder .
In Germany, which is stereo sound introduced for television.
For the first time, energy-saving switched-mode power supply units galvanically separate the television set chassis from the power supply system, which also enables the SCART socket to be introduced.
The CCD sensor (at that time with a resolution of 224,000 pixels ), which is part of almost every digital camera to this day , is presented by Hitachi .
Start of commercial television in Germany.
The telecommunication satellite system ECS-1 made it possible for the first time to receive direct TV satellite reception at the geostationary satellite position 13 ° East.
Casio builds the first pocket TV with a black and white LCD . Shortly thereafter, Seiko even introduced a wrist TV, also with an LCD.
Launch of the commercial television satellite ASTRA .
The DVD comes out.
The private broadcaster DF1 starts its program via DVB .
The new company TiVo patents time-shifted television with US patent 6233389.
Terrestrial television in Germany is going digital .
The HD-Ready logo for LCD and plasma televisions is introduced.
Blu-ray and HD DVD are coming onto the market as the successor to DVD for high definition television .
ZDF is launching an Internet platform called a media library , which enables parallel (live TV) and time-shifted television over the Internet.
Some European TV channels start broadcasting in HDTV , including Arte HD.
Since February 12, 2010, ARD and ZDF have been broadcasting in high definition (720p format) via cable and satellite.
The first 3D-capable devices are sold on the world markets.
On April 30, 2012, the analog broadcasting of TV programs via the ASTRA satellite system was discontinued.

Color television

One of the pioneers of color television was John Logie Baird , who succeeded in transmitting the first color television images in 1928. However, this was still done with mechanical technology on the sender and receiver side. Only with the invention of the shadow mask tube in 1938 by Werner Flechsig in Germany, which in a modified form is still part of every television or monitor with a picture tube, was it possible to dispense with mechanical components, at least on the receiver side. In 1939, the first color television images were shown at the Berlin International Radio Exhibition .

From the late 1940s onwards, trial broadcasts using various methods, e.g. B. broadcast with rotating color filters for the three primary colors, but none of the methods found the acceptance of the experts. In addition to many technical problems, the main problem was to transmit color television programs in such a way that they were also compatible with the black and white televisions. It was not until 1953 that the NTSC standard for color television was introduced in North America . When looking through the patent specifications stolen in Germany after the war, one came across Werner Flechsig's patent. RCA engineer and vice president Norton Goldsmith then developed a color picture tube. Official color broadcasting began in 1954. The problem of compatibility with black and white televisions was solved by transmitting the color signals (hue and color saturation, "chroma") and the brightness signals ("luma") separately. The black-and-white television only receives the brightness signals, which then result in the black-and-white image, while the color television also processes the chroma signals sent on a sideband.

In March 1954, RCA launched the CT100, the first color television to be mass-produced. It had 36 tubes, a 15-inch picture tube and cost 1,000 dollars, which corresponds to a price of around 12,000 dollars based on today's purchasing power. The image quality was rather poor and the device was also quite fragile. Nevertheless, the Americans were way ahead of the Europeans, who only introduced color television 12 to 13 years later with Walter Bruch's PAL standard . The North American lead also had its price. The NTSC standard has some weaknesses, so that there are often color errors in the display. To compensate for these errors, there is an additional setting option on NTSC color televisions, "color tone", with which the error can be corrected manually. The aim of the PAL process and the French SECAM (SÉquentiel Couleur À Mémoire) was to compensate for these color errors, which are mainly caused by phase errors on the transmission path. This meant considerably more technical effort on the sender and recipient side. This is why the Americans nicknamed the PAL system “Pay Additional Luxury”. In return, PAL technicians jokingly refer to the American NTSC as “Never Twice Same Color” or “Never The Same Color”.

The decisions of the countries of the world for their respective color television systems probably had mainly political reasons. While many of the US-related countries in South America and Asia such as B. Japan opted for NTSC, led z. For example, former French colonies often use the SECAM system. The majority of the countries that did not have color television in the 1960s, however, opted for PAL, including England after heated internal discussions, albeit with the different sound standard that had already been introduced. After unsuccessful attempts, the USSR decided to introduce its own color television system, along with numerous other countries in the then Eastern Bloc for SECAM. In contrast, the People's Republic of China used the PAL system.

On August 25, 1967, Foreign Minister Willy Brandt opened color television in Germany by symbolically pressing a red button . The first television produced in Germany for the PAL system was the Telefunken FE807 PAL Color. Color television began in the GDR in 1969, the 20th anniversary of the GDR. The French SECAM was also chosen as the procedure here. The first color television produced in the GDR was the RFT Color 20/1. In contrast to the vast majority of color televisions of that time, it was already fully transistorized (with the exception of the picture tube).

Satellite television

The age of satellite television began on August 12, 1960. On that day, Echo 1, the first passive communications satellite, was put into orbit around the earth. However, the quality of the transmitted television pictures was very poor. The first active communications satellite Telstar was launched on July 10, 1962. With his help, the first live broadcast for Eurovision from the USA was broadcast on July 23rd . On July 26, 1963, Syncom 2 was the first communications satellite to be brought into almost complete geostationary orbit. This made it possible to continuously send or receive signals to and from a satellite from a fixed point on earth. In 1985, innovative low-noise HEMT transistors made it possible to receive inexpensive direct reception of television signals from the ECS telecommunications satellites at the geostationary satellite position 13 degrees east. In 1987, the success story of European direct-to-satellite television began with the Astra 1A .

On April 30, 2012, the analog satellite transmission of German-language television programs was switched off. The teletext page 198 and the “clear digital” website on the Internet have already been set up especially for the public broadcasters Das Erste , ZDF and Bayerisches Fernsehen as well as for the private broadcasters ProSieben , RTL and Sat.1 .

Non-linear digital television

Traditional television has always been linear; For this reason, a resource “TV broadcasting channel” has historically always been limited and thus also contested; Anyone who could control such resources as “broadcasting channels” was also able to keep unpleasant competitors out of the market. As Helmut Thoma explained in the Heise Forum c't , this historical limitation has now fallen with the spread of television via the Internet; In theory, there are an infinite number of broadcast channels available on the Internet.

In 2007, ZDF implemented a new type of broadcasting concept called media library , which highlighted the potential of non-linear television via the Internet and triggered severe criticism from private TV broadcasters. These demanded a limitation of publicly financed online products.

Current situation







Rhodesia and Nyasaland


United States


Science and Research

Television is scientifically accompanied by communication and media studies . The specialist disciplines with different priorities are television , audience and quality research .

Outlook technology

Satellite dishes on a house facade in Berlin-Neukölln

Many efforts to improve technical quality have failed due to a lack of cooperation between various interest groups. Sure the replacement is of the analog by the digital television , which has already been completed at the satellite TV in April 2012 found. Germany had set itself the goal of switching to digital broadcasting of television programs by 2010. In 2003, terrestrial analog television broadcasting in Berlin was converted to digital based on DVB-T ; the conversion was completed by the end of 2008. The analog-digital transition in cable television should also be completed by 2010 in Germany. In 2009, Kabel Deutschland announced that it would continue to operate analogue distribution in parallel with digital distribution for several years. The analogue shutdown will therefore be delayed , at least in this area .

Only then will there be an improvement in the picture and sound quality, especially in the resolution of the pictures ( HDTV ), since with the advancing development of computer technology, adaptations to future television standards will also be possible on the software side and this will result in the compulsion to purchase new ones Devices could help avoid. HDTV is also intended to establish the HDCP encryption system, with which the recording of films and broadcasts can theoretically be regulated and prevented.

The television sets, which used to be mainly based on cathode ray tubes, have now been completely replaced at similar prices by the flat and therefore space-saving plasma screens , liquid crystal screens and, since 2016, increasingly OLED screens . In 2006, for the first time, more flat screen televisions were sold in Germany than conventional tube televisions. Another alternative, but not yet fully developed technology for flat screens are OLED screens, which could bring several advantages over the other two flat screen technologies mentioned (viewing angle independence, further reduced power consumption, faster switching times, flexible). Flat tube televisions are also being developed that work with so-called SED technology (Surface Conduction Electron Emitter Display). Each pixel gets its own little tube.

Video projectors ( beamer ) are used for large-format, cinema-like images . Similar devices were already in use at the 1936 Olympic Games.

Outlook usage

The internet creates a completely new way of distributing moving images and sound ( see also IPTV ), which could compete with the classic form of use and distribution of television (see above), but which offers significantly more extensive possibilities and advantages. This could increasingly withdraw the audience from the classic form of television distribution. However, it remains to be seen whether and how the content producers can bring in their production costs and how classic television will react. Bill Gates expects that in five years or sooner, traditional television will be largely replaced by Internet television in terms of audience ratings . The first major displacement processes are already taking place today (1/07). An analysis by the Allensbach opinion research institute also shows that, especially among young people, the importance of conventional television is declining in favor of the Internet.

A study commissioned by the EIAA (European Interactive Advertising Association) found that German adolescents between the ages of 16 and 24 use the Internet more than television. A study by the Foundation for Future Issues published in 2014 - an initiative by British American Tobacco comes to the same conclusion. Accordingly, the Internet ranks first among the most popular leisure activities of adolescents and young adults.

Americans predominantly (48 percent) use the Internet as a news source, whereas television is used as the primary news source by only 29 percent. The management consultancy Accenture found in a study that young TV viewers (16–24 years of age) migrate to video platforms. Today (6/08), 40 percent of this age group regularly watch video on the Internet. The main cause is the rigid airtime on television. Mark Thompson, head of the BBC , said at IFA 2008 that the future of television is clearly on demand and that the web is likely to be the most important distribution channel for television in the future. The Federal Statistical Office found that in the first quarter of 2008 38 percent more people in Germany (14 million) consumed TV and radio via the Internet than in the previous year.
In 2011, the number of television sets in households in the USA fell for the first time compared to the previous year.

The head of Netflix Reed Hastings considers classic television to be obsolete in May 2015. Traditional television will be replaced by streaming services on the Internet. Netflix has strong user growth rates worldwide. Hastings attributes the growth in user numbers to the popularity of in-house productions.

Profession radio and television technician

This is a former training occupation that was recognized in 1957 and was discontinued on August 1, 1999. The profession of radio and television technician was replaced by the successor position of information electronics technician. However, specialized radio and television technicians can still be found today. They repair and maintain entertainment electronics as well as communication and information technology devices. They mostly worked in workshops for radio and television technicians, in customer service departments of equipment manufacturers, as well as in specialist shops and other companies that deal with radio, television and video technology. You set up the devices at the customer's, commission them and suppress them. Radio and television technicians also install the receiving systems, electronic assemblies and additional devices. In their work they have to observe the relevant VDE regulations (Association of German Electrical Engineering).

See also

Portal: TV  - Overview of Wikipedia content on TV


  • Stefan Kramer: From the own and the foreign. Television and cultural self-image in the People's Republic of China. Bielefeld 2004, ISBN 3-89942-208-2 .
  • Claudia Dittmar: Hostile television. GDR television and its strategies in dealing with West German television. transcript, Bielefeld 2010, ISBN 978-3-8376-1434-3 .
  • Gerhart Goebel: Television in Germany up to 1945. In: Archives for the post and telecommunications system. 5: 259-393 (1953).
  • Knut Hickethier: History of German television. Metzler, Stuttgart 2004, ISBN 3-476-01319-7 .
  • Eric Karstens, Jörg Schütte: Praxishandbuch Fernsehen. How TV channels work. VS-Verlag, Wiesbaden 2005, ISBN 3-531-14505-3 .
  • Carolyn Knappe: The German TV Industry: An Analysis of Competitive Strategies Against the Background of Increasing Digitalization of Media. Cologne 2003, ISBN 3-934156-72-X . (Full text) (PDF; 1.9 MB)
  • Kira Marrs: Between passion and contract work. A sociological look behind the scenes of film and television. edition sigma, Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-89404-549-4 .
  • Ulf Pillkahn: Trends and scenarios as tools for strategy development. Erlangen 2007, ISBN 978-3-89578-286-2 . (Contains scenarios for the 'future of television')
  • Cinzia Padovani: A Fatal Attraction: Public Television and Politics in Italy. New edition. Rowman & Littlefield, 2007, ISBN 978-0-7425-1950-3 .
  • Anne Preckel: Zapping as a TV review: The Italian Telecollage Blob. Avinus, Berlin 2008, ISBN 978-3-930064-85-4 .
Feminist Analysis
  • Monika Bernold (Ed.): Screenwise: Film, Television, Feminism; Documentation of the conference “Screenwise. Locations and Scenarios of Contemporary Feminist Film and TV Studies ”, 15. – 17. May 2003, in Vienna. Schüren, Marburg 2004, ISBN 3-89472-387-4 .
  • Caroline Meyer: The Eidophor: A large screen projection system between cinema and television 1939–1999. (Interferences - studies on the cultural history of technology, 15). Chronos-Verlag, Zurich 2009, ISBN 978-3-0340-0988-1 .

Web links

Wiktionary: television  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Category: Television  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

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