Consumer electronics

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A typical example of consumer electronics

Consumer electronics is a collective term for electrical devices that are used to entertain the user.

In the past, it was called brown goods in specialist shops because television and radio sets often had veneered wooden housings, in contrast to white goods for washing machines and other household appliances.


Consumer electronics store

Consumer electronics devices can be divided into three groups:

The distinction between purely mechanical devices (such as early gramophones , photo and film cameras ) and optical devices is fluid. Personal computers , tablets and smartphones are both entertainment and consumer electronics because of their diverse uses. Entertainment and consumer electronics for consumers is analogous to English consumer electronics as consumer electronics summarized.

Electronic entertainment media can be used alone and at home, while the original equivalents such as concerts, theater and board games always require social activities and usually also leaving one's own home. Therefore, entertainment electronics are also held responsible for the isolation of people.


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The history of consumer electronics begins with basic inventions from the middle of the 19th century. It is still being written today.

1840–1923: From electromechanics to electronics


In 1843, Alexander Bain started thinking about the decomposition of images into pixels with brightness values. In 1848 Frederick Collier Bakewell invented the first electromechanical picture telegraph .


Elementary school teacher Philipp Reis presented the telephone he had invented to the Physikalischer Verein in Frankfurt in 1861. By the way, he also invented the forerunner of the loudspeaker .

In 1867, the French poet and philosopher Charles Cros (1842–1888) demonstrated the construction principle of the phonograph with his “Paréophone”. However, the poorly developed invention did not achieve commercial success.

In 1873 James Clerk Maxwell (1831–1879) theoretically predicted the existence of electromagnetic waves and formulated Maxwell's equations that describe their properties. Ferdinand Braun discovered the rectifier effect on metal sulfides and oxides in 1874 . Both create the essential basis for the later development of radio technology .

In 1877 Thomas Alva Edison (1847–1931) invented the phonograph . This enabled sounds to be recorded and reproduced for the first time, initially on cylinders made of tin foil . A horn with a membrane and a needle was arranged so that the needle was in contact with the tin foil. In 1880, the American physicist Charles Sumner Tainter discovered that many of the technical disadvantages of Edison's cylinders could be eliminated by engraving the sound track in a spiral on the surface of a flat, round disc. Technical problems end his attempts after a short time. Nevertheless, he is considered to be the inventor of the record .


In 1884, Paul Nipkow developed the Nipkow disk, a process with which images can be scanned and transmitted serially. He patented his "electric telescope", but let the patent protection expire again in 1886.

Heinrich Hertz succeeded in proving electromagnetic waves experimentally for the first time in 1886 - the physical basis for wireless telegraphy and radio was created.

Without knowing the unpublished attempts of Charles Sumner Tainter , the German-American Emil Berliner applied for a patent for his gramophone in 1887 . His record run first with 150 min -1 . They are turned directly with a hand crank and scanned with a steel needle. This mechanically transfers the vibrations to a membrane in the horn. Actually, the transition from platen to plate - from subscript to side font - is primarily intended to circumvent Edison's patents. However, it quickly becomes apparent that the plates are easier to duplicate and store. This marked the beginning of the triumphant advance of the record, which was initially made of zinc or hard rubber, and since 1896 of fragile shellac or bakelite .

In 1888, Alexander Graham Bell (1847–1922) succeeded in considerably reducing the background noise when reproducing phonographic recordings by using wax cylinders instead of tin foil ones. This clears the way for the commercial success of Edison's improved phonograph. In the same year, the American Oberlin Smith describes a method for sound recording with a cotton thread containing metal shavings. He became a pioneer of tape recording .

The spring motor (1889) and electric drive (1890) give gramophones better synchronization properties and increased comfort. The electric drive also made the first jukebox with sound cylinders possible - even before records were widely introduced.

Thomas Alva Edison (1847–1931) also discovered the glowing electrical effect in 1890 . Metals heated to red heat are surrounded by a cloud of free electrons. This is the basis of all electron tubes up to and including the picture tube .

The invention of the selenium photocell around 1893 made it possible for the first time to convert the brightness values ​​of light into electrical signals. The principle has only a short guest appearance in telegraphy and television technology , but selenium has remained present in exposure meters for photographers for more than 50 years.

The cinematograph of Auguste Lumière allowed in 1895 for the first time playback of moving images. In the same year the brothers Emil and Max Skladanowsky presented their projection apparatus for living images, the “Bioscope”, in the Berlin winter garden.

In 1897, Ferdinand Braun invented the "inertia-free cathode ray oscilloscope tube", that is, the television picture tube that was basically unchanged into the 21st century . In the same year, the Italian Guglielmo Marconi transmitted wireless telegraphic messages using electromagnetic waves over a distance of five kilometers.

In 1898 the Danish physicist Valdemar Poulsen succeeded in making the world's first magnetic sound recording and reproduction with his telegraphone . It uses 1 mm thick steel wire as a magnetizable carrier. The motivation for its construction was the idea of ​​an answering machine , which at about the same time was not presented by him, but rather unsuccessfully as a telephonograph by the French engineer Kumberg . In the same year Nikola Tesla demonstrates the first radio remote control on a ship model.

The famous dog “Nipper” becomes the trademark for gramophones and records in 1899 with the slogan “ His Master's Voice ” . For the first time, plates are produced using the wax master and metal matrix process, to which the plate industry remained loyal until the beginning of the digital age.


In 1902 Otto von Bronk patented his "method and device for making images and objects visible from a distance, with the images temporarily dissolving into parallel rows of dots". This patent, originally intended more for video telegraphy , would later become important for the development of color television based on the NTSC process.

In the same year, records received printed paper labels in the middle for the first time. Although Edison developed a process for duplicating his phonograph cylinders, the triumphant advance of the record could no longer be stopped.

Albert Parker Hanson from Berlin filed his patent for "electrical cables" in Germany in 1902 and in England in 1903. Behind the inconspicuous title is the invention of the printed circuit board . For efficient production of the same electrical connections, which were required in telephone exchanges at the time, hand-soldered wires should no longer be used. Instead, conductors are punched out of thin sheet brass by machine and glued on one or both sides of paraffin paper. Only 50 years later, this invention - with various further developments - was used in entertainment electronics.

In 1903 Guglielmo Marconi proves that wireless telegraphic communication can also be carried out over long distances - e.g. B. across the Atlantic - is possible. For this he uses a transmitter developed by Ferdinand Braun .

In 1904, the Odeon company (Berlin) offered double-sided records and those with a diameter of 30 cm for the first time at the Leipzig Spring Fair, in order to increase the playing time to up to 11 minutes (5.5 minutes per side). In the same year, the German physicist Arthur Korn developed the first usable method for picture telegraphy .

In 1905 the Englishman Sir John A. Fleming invented the first electron tube , a rectifier tube, also known as a diode .

In 1906 Robert von Lieben patented his "inertia-free cathode ray relay". By 1910 he developed this into the first real amplifier tube , a triode . Almost at the same time, the American Lee de Forest invented the triode.

In the same year Max Dieckmann and Gustav Glage use a Braun tube to reproduce 20-line black and white images.

Also in 1906 the American general and researcher HHC Dunwoody applied for a patent for his carborundum steel detector for the reception of radio transmissions. It is the first semiconductor component in history. At the same time, GW Pickard proposes a silicon detector with tip contact for HF rectification. The envelope detector is an important part of every radio receiver . In the years that followed, thousands of amateurs tinker with their own radio receivers with lead crystal (sulfur-lead compound) and a few simple components. As no active (amplifying) components are used in these simple receivers, only strong local transmitters can be received.

In 1907 Rosenthal first used a photo cell in his picture telegraph . Lee de Forest patents the Audion circuit principle for radio receivers , which he has also been using commercially since 1909. However, in 1913 he already lost a patent dispute over the invention of the triode against Robert von Lieben .

In 1911 the first film studios were set up in Hollywood and Potsdam- Babelsberg .


Since 1913, triodes have had significantly improved properties thanks to the high vacuum in the glass bulb. In the same year, Alexander Meißner patented his “feedback for generating vibrations” process, that is, his development of a radio transmitter with an electron tube .

Also in 1913, the Englishman Arthur Berry files a patent for the manufacture of printed circuits by etching metal.

Around 1915 Carl Benedicks carried out fundamental research into the electrical properties of silicon and germanium in Sweden . However, due to the flourishing tube technology, interest in semiconductors remained low until after the Second World War .

Based on earlier findings by the Englishman Oliver Lodge , the Frenchman Lucien Levy developed a radio receiver in 1917 with frequency tuning using an oscillating circuit . In Germany, Hans Bredow and Alexander Meißner experiment with tube transmitters and feedback receivers (military radio station Königs Wusterhausen).

Universum Film AG (UFA) was also founded in Potsdam-Babelsberg in 1917 . Two years later, Charlie Chaplin and others founded the film production and distribution company " United Artists " in Hollywood .

On November 2, 1920, the first regular radio station KDKA in Philadelphia (USA) began service. Electronics are being used for the first time to convey information and entertainment to a wide audience. In Germany, an instrumental concert is broadcast on the radio for the first time by the Post's own long-wave transmitter Königs Wusterhausen. It was not until 1922 that regular (and fee-based) radio, the “Wirtschaftsrundspruchdienst”, was operated from there.

Radio goes mobile in 1922: J. McWilliams Stone invents the world's first portable radio receiver. George Frost installs the first “car radio” in his Ford Model T.

1923 turns into an important year for the further development of tube and television technology:

  • The 16-year-old Manfred von Ardenne (1907–1997), together with Siegmund Loewe (1885–1962), developed the first multiple tube that contained additional components and thus became the forerunner of the integrated circuit . With the tube, Loewe builds its first radio receiver, the “OE333”.
  • The Hungarian engineer Dénes von Mihály developed an image scanning system with line deflection in which every point of an image is scanned ten times per second by a selenium cell.
  • August Karolus (1893–1972) invented the Kerr cell for converting electrical impulses into light signals with almost no inertia. He receives a patent for his method of transferring slides, for which he uses a slide transmitter with a Nipkow disc and an image writer consisting of a carbon arc lamp , a Kerr cell and a Nipkow disc.
  • Vladimir Kosma Zworykin patents the first image pickup tube , called an iconoscope .

In the same year, the German State Secretary Hans Bredow ("father of broadcasting") founds the first German broadcasting organization. With the lifting of the ban on radio reception and the opening of the first radio station for private individuals, radio began to develop into a mass medium.

1924–1959: From radio to stereo technology and television


The first commercial tube radio receivers are presented at the Berlin radio exhibition .


The Brunswick Co., Dubuque (USA), supplies the "Brunswick Panatrope", the first electric record player with a " sound box ", tube amplifier and loudspeaker .

At the American Bell Laboratories , a process for recording records using a microphone and tube amplifier is ready for series production. Work has been going on in Germany since 1922. In 1925 the first electrically recorded records appeared in both countries.

The first 35mm camera “Leica” is presented to the public at the Leipzig spring fair.

John Logie Baird succeeds in the first television screening of a living head with a resolution of 30 vertical lines using a Nipkow disk.

August Karolus demonstrates television with 48 lines and ten image changes per second in Germany. Meanwhile, Max Dieckmann and Rudolf Hell are working on an "image decomposition tube for television", the first purely electronic image recording tube .


Edison develops the first "long-playing record". Denser grooves (16 grooves on 1 mm) and the reduction of the speed to 80 min −1 (later 78 min −1 ) increase the cycle time to up to 2 times 20 minutes. In doing so, he himself contributed to the decline of his phonograph business.

The Deutsche Reichsbahn offers a radio telephone service on moving trains between Berlin and Hamburg - the idea of ​​mobile radio is born.

John Logie Baird develops the world's first commercial television receiver. It was not until 1930 that it was sold as a " Televisor " at a price of £ 20.


The first fully electronic jukeboxes ("Juke Boxes") hit the US market. In Germany, Deutsche Grammophon sells its first fully electronic turntable based on a license agreement with the Brunswick-Balke-Collander Company .

The first industrially manufactured car radio , the “Philco Transitone” from the “Storage Battery Co.” in Philadelphia (USA), comes onto the market.

The first shortwave radio transmission overseas is broadcast from the PCJJ station of the Philips works in Eindhoven to the Dutch colonies.

The first regular picture telegraphy service opens between Berlin and Vienna.

The first commercial sound films (“The Jazz Singer”, USA) use the “pin tone process”, in which long-playing records are played over loudspeakers synchronously with the film showing.

The first public television broadcasts in Great Britain by John Logie Baird between London and Glasgow and in the USA by Frederic Eugene Ives (1882–1953) between Washington and New York are still based on electromechanical processes. The American inventor Philo Taylor Farnsworth (1906–1971) shows the world's first fully electronic television system in Los Angeles .

John Logie Baird develops the first video record player . 30-line television pictures are stored on shellac records. Mechanically scanned at 78 min −1 , the images can be played back on his "Televisor". Unfortunately, no sound can be reproduced with this technology. Nor can it keep pace with the rapid development towards higher resolutions in television . Therefore, it will be over 40 years before the first commercial video disc players hit the market.


Fritz Pfleumer has the first tape recorder patented. The steel wire, which has been in use since 1890, has been replaced by a strip of paper coated with iron powder as a recording medium. After Poulsen (1898), it became the second decisive pioneer in magnetic sound, image and data storage.

Dénes von Mihály presents the first guaranteed television broadcast in Germany to a small group in Berlin , having worked in this field since at least 1923. August Karolus and the Telefunken company are exhibiting at the “5. Große Deutsche Funkausstellung Berlin 1928 “presented the prototype of a television receiver which, with an image size of 8 cm × 10 cm and a resolution of around 10,000 pixels, delivers a significantly better image quality than earlier devices.

Meanwhile in New York (USA) there are already the first regular television test programs of the station WGY, which the company General Electric Company (GE) operates. From 1928 on, this station also broadcasts irregular TV news and TV games . Also in the United States, the first commercially made television receiver is offered by Daven Corporation in Newark for $ 75. John Logie Baird is broadcasting television images internationally for the first time, right across the Atlantic from London to New York. It will also demonstrate the world's first color television broadcast in London.


Edison withdraws from the phono business - the record has finally displaced the cylinder. The company Columbia developed the first portable record player , which can be connected to each tube radio. The first radio / turntable combination devices are also produced, forerunners of the music chests that were common up until the 1960s.

The German physicist Curt Stille (1873–1957) demonstrates a magnetic sound system at the “Deutsche Kino-Gesellschaft”, in which perforated steel tape is used as the sound carrier. At first, the magnetic sound method is unsuccessful. It was not rediscovered for amateur films until much later, because it offered an easy way of dubbing. Before that, Stille had already developed a magnetic sound device called the “Daylygraph” with amplifier and equalizer, and a sophisticated magnetic dictation device called the “Textophon”.

Based on patents that he acquired from Stille, the German-Englishman Ludwig Blattner launched the “ Blattnerphone ”, the first magnetic sound recording device. It is recorded on a thin steel tape.

The first sound film using the optical sound method is premiered. Since the early 1920s, various people have developed this method in which the film has an optical sound track. The sound track shows fluctuations in brightness and is scanned by a photocell, which converts them into electrical oscillations. After amplification, playback takes place via loudspeakers . In the early years of the sound film, this optical tone method competed with the needle tone method before the optical tone method became established. The same optoelectronic process also makes it possible for the first time to post-process music recordings before making records from them.

The director Carl Froelich (1875–1953) shoots “The night belongs to us”, the first German sound film. 20th Century Fox presents the first widescreen feature film in New York on an 8 mx 4 m screen.

The radio station Witzleben begins in Germany with the regular broadcast of TV test programs, initially on long wave with 30 lines (= 1,200 pixels) at 12.5 image changes per second. The first building instructions for television receivers appear. John Logie Baird begins regular television test broadcasts for the public on behalf of the BBC in the UK . Frederic Eugene Ives experimentally transmits a color television image from New York to Washington.


Manfred von Ardenne invents and develops the Flying Spot Scanner , the first fully electronic image pickup tube in Europe . Instead of the mechanical Nipkow disk , an electronic component based on the principle of the Braun tube can now also be used on the transmission side of television .

The UK has its first TV commercial and interview broadcast.


The British engineer and inventor Alan Dower Blumlein (1903–1942) invented “ Binaural Sound ”, now known as “ Stereo ”. He developed the stereo record and the first three-way loudspeaker . He makes experimental films with stereo sound . He then becomes head of the development team for the EMI -405 line television system. Due to his early death in World War II, he no longer saw the success of his inventions.

The company RCA Victor presents the first real long-playing record to the public , which with a diameter of 35 cm and 33.33 min −1 offers sufficient playing time for an entire orchestral work. However, the new turntables are initially so expensive that they did not gain acceptance until the second attempt after the Second World War - then with vinyl records.

The French physicist René Barthélemy is presenting television with sound to the public for the first time in Paris . The BBC is also starting its first sound attempts in Great Britain.

The public world premiere of electronic television - that is, without electromechanical components such as the Nipkow disc - will take place at the “8. Great German Radio Exhibition Berlin 1931 ”. Döberitz / Pomerania becomes the first German location for a sound television station.

Manfred von Ardenne has the principle of a color picture tube patented: Narrow strips of phosphors in the three primary colors are arranged close together so that they complement each other to form white light when the electron beam passes through. Separate control of the three colors is not yet planned.


The companies AEG and BASF begin to be interested in Fritz Pfleumer's (1928) magnetic tape process . They are developing new devices and belts that use celluloid instead of paper as the carrier material.

In Great Britain, the BBC broadcasts radio programs for the first time with a time delay instead of live, which were previously recorded with the Blattnerphone (1929).

Radiotelefon und Apparatefabrik Ideal AG (later Blaupunkt ) presents a car radio that can be operated remotely from the steering column using Bowden cables .


After the National Socialist seizure of power in Germany, radio finally became a political instrument. Systematic censorship is supposed to prevent opposition and spread the "Aryan culture". Series production of the " Volksempfänger VE 301" starts.

Edwin H. Armstrong proves that frequency-modulated (FM) radio transmissions are less sensitive to interference than amplitude-modulated (AM). For a long time, however, the FM method remains too complex for a broad introduction in radio receivers.

The first drive-in theater opens in the USA .


The first commercial stereo recordings are still not well received - the necessary playback devices are still too expensive. The term " high fidelity " was coined around this time.


AEG and BASF present the tape recorder " Magnetophon K1" and the matching magnetic tapes at the Berlin radio exhibition . In the event of a fire in the exhibition hall, all four devices on display will be destroyed.

In Germany, the world's first regular television program operation begins for around 250 partly public reception points in Berlin and the surrounding area. The mass production of television receivers has not yet started - probably due to the high price of 2500 Reichsmarks.

At the same time, the research institute of the Deutsche Reichspost (RPF) begins development work for a color television process , which is later discontinued due to the Second World War.


In Germany there are live radio broadcasts from the Olympic Games in Berlin. The suitable receiver for this is the battery-operated portable radio receiver " Olympia case ", also introduced in 1936 .

The first mobile television camera (180 lines, fully electronic) is used for live television broadcasts from the Olympic Games. From Berlin television rooms from to video telephony connections are taught to Leipzig come later connections from Berlin to Nuremberg and Munich added. The first regular television programs are also being broadcast in Great Britain - now based on the fully electronic EMI system, which will soon replace the partially mechanical Baird system.

The Frenchman Raymond Valtat applies for a patent, which describes the principle of a calculating machine working with binary numbers. At the same time, Konrad Zuse began developing his electromechanical dual calculating machine in Germany , which was completed in 1937.


Siemens offers the first sapphire styli for records.

The interlacing is introduced on TV in order to reduce image flicker. The station Witzleben now broadcasts television according to the new standard with 441 lines and 25 picture changes, i.e. H. 50 fields of 220 half lines each. The line skip or interlace method remains in use well into the HDTV era . The first film providers make it possible not to broadcast the television program live, but to use recordings.


The improved AEG tape recorder " Magnetophon K4" is used for the first time in broadcast studios. The tape speed is 77 cm / s, which results in a playing time of 22 minutes for a tape length of 1000 m.

With the shadow mask, Werner Flechsig invents a process for the separate control of the three basic colors in a color picture tube .


On the "16. Great German Radio and Television Broadcasting Exhibition Berlin 1939 ”, the“ German Unified Television Receiver E1 ”is presented and the release of free private television is announced. Due to the tense political and economic situation on the eve of the Second World War, only about 50 devices are sold instead of the planned 10,000.

The first regular television broadcasts take place in the USA.


The further development of television technology for war purposes increases the resolution up to 1029 lines at 25 frames per second. Civil television only reached such a resolution with HDTV towards the end of the century .

The problem of tape noise in tape recorders is dramatically reduced by the invention of high-frequency pre-magnetization by Walter Weber and Hans-Joachim von Braunmühl .


The first fully electronic computer is completed by John Vincent Atanasoff , but is quickly forgotten again. ENIAC was not finished until four years later - the beginning of the end of electromechanics in computers and calculating machines.


American soldiers loot some tape recorders in Germany . This and the nullity of German patents lead to the development of the first tape recorders in the USA. The first home deviceSoundmirror ” from Brush Development Co. comes onto the market there.


The American physicist and industrialist Edwin Herbert Land (1909–1991) brought the first instant camera “ Polaroid Land Camera, Model 95” onto the market.

Three American engineers from Bell Laboratories ( John Bardeen , Walter Brattain and William B. Shockley ) invent the transistor . At almost the same time, Herbert Mataré and Heinrich Welker in France were also developing their "Transitron" for series production. With the advantage of being much smaller in size and power consumption than electron tubes, the transistor 1952 ( Intermetall ) and 1953 ( Texas Instruments ) enabled the first prototypes of transistor radios . Then he began his general triumph in all areas of electronics.

The Hungarian-American physicist Peter Carl Goldmark (1906–1977) invented the vinyl record (first published in 1952), which made much less noise than its shellac predecessor. Thanks to the micro-groove (100 grooves per cm), a playing time of 23 minutes per side can be achieved. The long-playing record is born. This brings you one step closer to fulfilling the “ high fidelity ” claim and the end of the shellac era. The Radio Corporation of America (RCA) introduces the single format with 45 min −1 , which should conquer the market with cheap playback devices. The first publication in Germany in this format appeared in 1953.

The British physicist Dennis Gábor (1900–1979) invented holography . This is a process of image recording and reproduction with coherent light. In contrast to conventional photography, this enables the storage and reproduction of three-dimensional images. It was not until 1971, when the process became of practical importance, that he received the Nobel Prize in Physics.


In Germany, the first ultra-short wave ( VHF ) transmitters commence regular broadcasting operations.

Experimental since 1943, ready for series production since 1949, there are stereo tape recorders and the matching tapes for professional use . Portable devices for reporters, initially powered by a spring mechanism, have also been around since 1949.


The first pre-recorded tapes are marketed in the USA .

Also in the USA, the Zenith company is launching the first television with cable remote control for channel switching.


The CBS (Columbia Broadcasting System) broadcasts the first color television program in the world in New York , but according to a standard that did not come close to the resolution of black and white television and was incompatible with it.

With the " Magnetophon KL15" from AEG , the first home tape recorder appears on the German market.

RCA Electronic Music introduces the first synthesizer for generating artificial electronic sounds.


Reintroduction of regular television broadcasts in Germany after the Second World War.

With " Cinemascope ", 20th Century Fox is developing the most successful widescreen process in order to be able to better compete with widescreen films against television . Only around 50 years later does television catch up with the 16: 9 image format.


The National Television Systems Committee (abbr .: NTSC) standardizes the black-and-white compatible NTSC color television process named after it in the USA . A year later, this process is introduced in the USA.

The Becker top -of-the-range car radio model "Mexico" has an FM range (in mono) and an automatic station search for the first time .


RCA develops the first device for recording video signals on magnetic tapes. Around 22 km of magnetic tape are used per hour. By 1956, the Ampex company succeeded in reducing the belt speed to a more practical 38.1 cm / s by using several tracks.

The European Broadcasting Union founds " Eurovision ".

First regular television broadcast in Japan.


The first electronic computer of the second generation " TRADIC " ( Transistorized Digital Computer ) works with transistors and is therefore much smaller and more powerful than its tube-equipped predecessor of the first generation.

The Briton Narinder S. Kapany studies the propagation of light in fine glass fibers (light guides). This later becomes the basis for high-performance telecommunication networks and fast Internet connections.

The first wireless remote control for a television from the US company Zenith consists of a better flashlight with which one shines into one of the four corners of the device to switch the device on or off, change the channel or mute the sound.


The Metz company is using a printed circuit board for the first time in series production in its type 409 / 3D radio . This has been preceded by numerous detailed improvements in manufacturing technology since the 1930s.

The Braun company , which had already attracted attention with its modern design radios, is launching the "Phono-Radio Combination SK 4" - soon also known as the " Snow White's Coffin " in the vernacular . Although still in mono, this design establishes the new device category of compact stereo systems , which 15 years later will have completely replaced the voluminous music boxes.

The Ampex company introduces the “VR 1000”, the first video recorder . In the same year, the CBS broadcast a magnetic recording (MAZ) for the first time with such a device . Although other programs have been produced in color since 1954, this program has to make do with black and white: the video recorder cannot yet record color.


The French Henri de France (1911–1986) developed the first generation of the SECAM ( Système électronique couleur avec mémoire ) color television system , which avoids some of the problems of the NTSC process. The weaknesses of the SECAM system will largely be eliminated in later modifications of the standard.


By amalgamating the Edison and Berliners patents, the Blumlein recording process for stereo records can be used commercially. The company Mercury Records introduces the first stereo record on the market.

The company Ampex is expanding the video recorder with the "VR 1000 B" model to include color capability.

1960–2001: From television and hi-fi to multimedia


Sony presents the first "fully transistorized" television receiver in which all electron tubes except the picture tube are replaced by semiconductors ( transistors and diodes ).

With the Kuba TV stereo concert chest "Komet Super-Luxus-Automatic 1223SL", a TV and music chest in an extravagant 1960s design comes onto the market at a price of DM 2,748. Only turntables and amplifiers are stereo, radio and television receivers are still mono. A tape recorder can be placed in a separate compartment.


The American physicist Theodore Harold Maiman (1927–2007) developed the first experimental laser light source (ruby laser) that emits individual flashes of light. Shortly thereafter, the physicists Ali Javan (1926–2016), William R. Bennett (1930–2008) and Donald R. Herriott put the first gas laser with continuous light output into operation. The door to new applications from holography (1962) to data transmission with fiber optics (1976) and to optical data carriers ( CD , 1979) has opened.

The American companies Texas Instruments and Fairchild Semiconductor produce integrated circuits on an industrial scale for the first time. In this technology, several transistors, diodes and resistors are combined on the same silicon crystal.

The first stereo broadcast is broadcast in the United States. (From 1963, the same procedure, which is compatible with mono devices, is adopted in Germany.)


For the first time, a television program will be broadcast over a communications satellite ("Telstar I"). Three years later, "Early Bird" (later renamed "INTELSAT I") is the first commercial geostationary communications satellite to establish the first permanent wireless connection between Europe and the USA. In the years that followed, more and more commercial satellites were launched into geostationary orbits.


With the "EI 3300" cassette recorder, the Philips company brings the compact audio cassette system ( compact cassette ) onto the market. The quality of the system cannot keep up with tape recorders. However, in the decades that followed, it gained acceptance worldwide thanks to quality improvements, ease of use, compact devices and free licensing. The first pre-recorded music cassettes appear in 1965.

The company Ampex introduces the first fully transistorized video recorder "VR 110" for professional use on the market.

The Second German Television ( ZDF ) starts broadcasting in Mainz after previously there was only one television channel in Germany. A UHF converter , which could also be called the first set-top box, is required for reception .

The German electrical engineer Prof. Dr. Walter Bruch (1908–1990) presented his color television system PAL (Phase Alternation Line - phase change per line). It builds on experiences with its predecessors NTSC (USA, 1953) and SECAM (France, 1957). In terms of color fidelity in difficult reception conditions, it is clearly superior to NTSC, but incompatible with both.

The Polaroid process, on the market since 1947, is introduced in a version for color images.


The Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC, Maynard, USA) brings the first mass-produced small computer onto the market with its "Programmed Data Processor 8 (PDP-8)" .


It was only in a late phase of the German PAL color television test operation that the American company RCA delivered the first PAL color-capable video recorders for professional use (" MAZ systems").

The DIN 45500 standard specifies measurement methods and minimum standards for the term "high fidelity" (HiFi) . As a result, middle-class systems in particular adorn themselves with the corresponding logo in order to differentiate themselves from cheaper systems. The best devices - around this time the term " high end " was coined - were far better even then.


The compact cassette is finally standardized as a reversible cassette with four tracks (2 × stereo) and begins to seriously compete with tape recorders , even if initially only in areas where sound quality is not so important.

In Germany, after a long trial run, color television based on the PAL system is officially introduced (1963). Other Western European countries with the exception of France (SECAM, 1957) later adopt the system.


Integrated circuit technology finds its way into the fourth generation of computers after the third generation (since 1962) contained miniaturized transistors and hybrid circuits.


The American Marcian Edward Hoff (* 1937) succeeds for the first time in integrating all components of a computer central processing unit ( CPU ) on one chip at Intel . He created the first so-called microprocessor . Two years later, Intel markets a 4-bit microprocessor, the Intel 4004, for the first time .

The Dutch physicist Klaas Compaan experiments with glass image plates that initially contain entire images and then a serialized video signal.

Sony introduces the first video recorder in which the magnetic tape is no longer "loosely" housed on a reel, but in a cassette.


A British-German consortium of companies (AEG-Telefunken / Teldec / Decca) introduces the first video record player based on the "TED" system. The black and white devices mechanically scanned a thin plastic film suspended on an air cushion. The film had 12 times as many grooves and rotated 45 times as fast as a long-playing record. A lack of playing time and practicability, as well as the inability to record, gave the system only a short lifespan.

Sony has improved the contrast ratio of color picture tubes considerably with the introduction of the " Trinitron " technology. Instead of a shadow mask , these tubes have a mask made of many wafer-thin steel wires. The electron guns are no longer arranged in a triangle, but in a row. Due to the new geometry, a larger part of the electrons emitted by them encounters phosphor, which increases the brightness of the picture and enables a darker tinted picture tube glass.


Philips and Grundig present the first video cassette recorder based on the " VCR system " at the radio exhibition in Berlin . Although still too expensive for home use, the system lays the technical foundation for later home video recorders: helical track recording of the image signal and longitudinal track recording for the audio signal on a half-inch tape. Only the details and the cassette format change. VCR inserts a cassette with tape reels one on top of the other, creating an inclined tape guide through the device. The head drum , which reads and writes the helical video tracks, can therefore be arranged straight in the device, which results in a mechanically simple construction.

The first televisions with wireless ultrasonic remote controls are offered, but are less suitable for dog owners due to the functional principle.

Philips improves the signal-to-noise ratio of audio recordings on compact cassettes with the "Dynamic Noise Limiter (DNL)". The system is compatible with existing recordings since it only intervenes on the playback side.

The American engineer Nolan Bushnell from California builds the world's first commercial video game . From 1976 the company Atari , which he founded, has also been supplying video games for at home that can be connected to televisions, and home computers since the 1980s .

In Switzerland, the companies Hoffmann-La Roche and BBC produce the first liquid crystal display (LCD). The advantage over the usual Nixie tubes or LED displays is the much lower power consumption.


The Olympic Games in Munich will be broadcast live and in color around the world for the first time, after the 1968 Olympics in Mexico were only broadcast in color in the USA.

Grundig introduces Germany's first fully transistorized color television.

The Deutsche Bundespost begins building test cable networks for shaded areas in Hamburg and Nuremberg.

IBM introduces the first computer hard drive in the USA . The 14-inch monster holds 2 megabytes.


The Dolby Laboratories (USA) perform their first production-ready product for a noise reduction: Dolby B. It must be used on the recording and playback page and makes the compact cassette first HiFi -tauglich. In the following years, both cassette decks and compact stereo systems were established in stereo systems , which in addition to the cassette drive also contain a record player, radio receiver and amplifier.


Sony introduces the first home-use video cassette recorder. The standard is called Betamax . In contrast to VCR (1971), the tape spools are now next to each other in the cassette. The tape is fed straight through the device and the head drum is inclined.

The Japanese television broadcaster NHK presents high definition television ( HDTV ) for the first time . The picture format is no longer 4: 3, but for the first time 16: 9. 1125 lines are displayed at a field frequency of 60 Hertz. However, the signal is initially transmitted by cable, as was the case with television's first attempts at walking in the 1920s.

The Austrian company Ruwido presents the world's first infrared remote control. In the years that followed, infrared technology found its way into more and more television remote controls, later it also replaced the cable remote controls on video recorders and stereo systems.


Bell Laboratories are demonstrating a practical fiber optic cable for the first time . A year later, the first public fiber optic telephone line goes into operation.

A commercial for the Queen song " Bohemian Rhapsody " is shot and is considered the first music video . As a result, music videos have become an integral part of the rock and pop music scene.


JVC (Victor Company of Japan Ltd.) competes with Betamax with its VHS ( Video Home System ). VHS differs from Betamax (1975) only in details and in the cassette format. Only in the course of the next 10 years will it finally become clear that VHS is the most successful analog video system on the market.

The Californian startup Apple Computer markets its first " Apple II " microcomputer . The following year, Commodore follows with its "Personal Electronic Transactor ( PET 2001 )".


With HighCom, Telefunken is launching an improved method for noise suppression on cassette decks that is incompatible with Dolby B. The system cannot gain wide acceptance due to Telefunken's restrictive licensing policy. Instead, Dolby C , introduced around the same time by Dolby Laboratories , is spreading rapidly because the devices equipped with it continue to be Dolby B compatible.

Sony introduces " U-Matic ", the first video cassette system for semi-professional use. The quality of the system will later be further developed to "U-Matic HighBand".


Sony brings the first ultra-compact portable and battery-operated cassette player to the market under the name "Walkman".

Philips presents the digital compact disc (CD) as the sound carrier of the future .


Based on a predominantly developed in the 70s in the UK process in Germany Teletext introduced.

Grundig and Philips introduce the Video 2000 system . Although technically superior to the Beta (1975) and VHS (1977) systems, this system comes too late and with a licensing policy that is too restrictive. It will soon disappear from the market again; portable variants are never offered.

Sony presents the first prototype video camcorder . Two years later, Sony, together with Hitachi , JVC , Matsushita and Philips, set the 8mm video standard for camcorders.

Hitachi presents the world's first camera without a pickup tube. Instead, a CCD sensor , i.e. a semiconductor image sensor, is used.

The Deutsche Bundesbahn begins to introduce payphones on trains.

The Sinclair ZX81 is the first home computer for less than 500 DM on the market. As was common in the first 10 years of home computing, a television is required as the screen .

The first "portable", but not unplugged, computers took the form of a large briefcase.


Stereo sound is introduced on the Second German Television ( ZDF ). The first program follows a little later. Optionally, the two audio channels can also be used for bilingual mono broadcasts - e.g. B. foreign films - are used.

In addition to the product line of professional computers that has existed since 1978, Commodore introduces the "People's Computer" VC20 . In contrast to the Sinclair ZX81, the VC20 brings color pictures to the television. A year later, the significantly more powerful, but also more expensive C64 followed, with 64 kB of RAM that was sensational for a home computer . Both are based on 8-bit processors from the 65xx series .


At the Fraunhofer Institute , the development of a method for lossy data compression of digital sound recordings begins, which is widely used from the mid-1990s under the name mp3 (more precisely: MPEG-2 Layer 3 Audio).


The CD comes onto the European market. The entire consumer electronics industry is behind the new standard, so that it is quickly becoming established despite the high prices. Buyers appreciate the CD because of its superior sound quality and easier handling compared to vinyl records.

Although the 8 mm video format has already been defined, Sony's first series camcorder "Betamovie" uses the beta full format. At almost the same time, JVC introduced the first VHS-C camcorder based on the VHS compact cassette, which is compatible with VHS, and thus allows a smaller design with reduced recording and playing time.


IBM introduces the IBM PC, coining the term " personal computer ". In contrast to what is usual at IBM, there are no key technologies of its own in the device, but rather the Intel 8086 processor and the MS-DOS operating system from Microsoft. Other manufacturers can buy both, so the first "IBM-compatible" PCs will appear soon. As a result, IBM is almost pushed out of the market and can only hold its own in the long term with high-quality laptops.

Shortly after the IBM PC, Apple introduced the " Macintosh 128k", the first "personal computer" with a graphical user interface. In contrast to the IBM PC, this device is based on the Motorola 68000 processor and Apple's own operating system . Unlike Microsoft, Apple only sells its operating system together with its own, relatively expensive computers . Therefore, the market share compared to the "compatible" PCs initially remains small.


Sony introduces the first portable CD player " Discman " and the first camcorder with the new Video-8 cassette format .

The digital storage of large amounts of data also makes the CD interesting for computer users. Philips and Sony take this into account with the introduction of the CD-ROM . Over time, other formats such as CD-I and CD-V are added, but they do not acquire the same meaning.

Testing of the broadband cable network for the distribution of radio and television programs begins in Ludwigshafen . The Société Européenne des Satellites (SES SA) is founded with the aim of commercializing a communications satellite called ASTRA for direct television reception with small parabolic antennas.

With the competing models Atari ST and Commodore Amiga , graphical user interfaces and powerful 16-bit processors ( Motorola 68000 ) find their way into the area of ​​upscale home computers . The Atari ST can either be connected to a television or to a small and inexpensive, but nonetheless flicker-free 70 Hz black and white monitor.


In Europe, a separate HDTV standard, which is not compatible with the Japanese standard (1975), with digital sound transmission and analog image transmission (image format 16: 9, 1250 lines, image frequency 50 Hz) is being developed. As an intermediate step, the standard D2-MAC should significantly improve the image quality with the traditional 625 lines and bring the aspect ratio to 16: 9. These plans bobbed around for almost a decade before they disappeared again in the mid-1990s in view of the technical possibilities of fully digital television, without ever having reached market maturity.


A new standard for digital sound recording on magnetic tape cassettes comes onto the market: "DAT ( Digital Audio Tape )". Helical track recording is taken from video technology, which allows a digitized audio signal to be recorded without compression. However, due to the high device prices, the standard cannot prevail widely against the established compact cassette . The system is sometimes successful as a data storage device in computer technology (" Digital Data Storage ", "DDS") with large and inexpensive storage capacities of initially 1.3 GB (DDS1), in later versions up to over 36 GB (DDS5).

JVC introduces S-VHS as a backward compatible improvement of the VHS system . Sony is following suit with ED-Beta (Extended Definition Beta), but can no longer noticeably increase the low (and falling) market share of the beta system. For the first time, video amateurs can post-process their videos (which requires at least one copy) without the image quality suffering too much.


The Hi8 system brings the Video 8 standard qualitatively to the level of S-VHS -C.

For the first time, LCD color video monitors will be shown, albeit in small formats.


After prototypes of digital radio receivers had been shown since 1982, digital radio via satellite ("DSR") is officially launched at the radio exhibition in Berlin . It will be discontinued after a good 10 years with only moderate success, partly because it is not for mobile reception, e.g. B. in a moving car, is useful. Since the mid-1980s, alternative standards for digital radio reception have been developed in parallel. B. to Digital Audio Broadcast (DAB) , which should solve this problem.

The first ASTRA television satellite for direct reception goes into operation. Due to the previous failure of TV-Sat1, the market entry was quick; the 16 analogue TV channels that were initially set up are soon too few and will be expanded by further satellites at the same orbit position.

Sony produces the first mini camcorder "CCD-TR55E" with a CCD image sensor and highly integrated signal processing .


The first television sets with 100 Hz technology to counter image flicker are on the market. With fast horizontal movements, the image quality suffers from massive comb artifacts, which are reduced in the following years by better and better deinterlacing filters. Sharp introduces the first large-format LCD projector for television images.

Canon makes the camcorder with the "EX-1" acceptable for the semi-professional sector. (Previously shoulder cameras with separate recorders were used there.) The device can be equipped with various interchangeable lenses.

With QuickTime, Apple Computer brings the first multimedia architecture to its Macintosh computers. The videos are still small and jerky, but this will improve steadily over the next few years thanks to further developments in hardware and software.


Braun is leaving the hi-fi business with the "Last Edition" of its Atelier series. After the Wega brand was discontinued in the early 1980s, an entire era of progressive design in the electrical and electronics industry ended.


Sony introduces the Mini-Disc as a re-recordable digital sound carrier. The ATRAC compression method used is technically related to MP3, but in contrast to it is not freely available. In the same year and in competition with the mini-disc, Philips introduced the re-recordable " Digital Compact Cassette (DCC)". The DCC devices can also play analog cassettes, but not record on them. As with the competitor DAT, there is no broad market penetration of these two new systems.

Philips and Sony present the photo CD at the Photokina in Cologne . Photos taken conventionally can be supplied on photo CD instead of negatives. They can then be brought to the television screen using a CD-I or photo CD player or transferred to a computer using a CD-ROM drive and processed there.

Batman's Return is the first movie with digital multichannel sound using the Dolby Digital process.


With " Jurassic Park ", computer technology makes a furious entrance into film production. As a result, it is increasingly difficult to distinguish computer-generated scenes from real scenes.

The "Fast Video Machine" - a plug-in card and software for compatible PCs - brings the post-processing of video recordings on the computer to a price range that is affordable for semi-professionals and ambitious amateurs for the first time.

With the "ViewCam", Sharp is bringing a camcorder onto the market that no longer has a viewfinder, but an LCD monitor. Since this can hardly be used in a bright environment, the first hybrid models with viewfinder and monitor from other manufacturers will soon follow.

The ShowView system is introduced and simplifies the programming of video recorders for timer recordings.

While three tubes or CCDs as separate image recorders for the three primary colors have long been used for professional color video recordings , Sony is the first to bring a 3-chip camcorder onto the market for the semi-professional sector and for sophisticated amateur demands.

The first prototype of a plasma flat screen is shown by Sony. The system competes with LCD screens and is at times more successful with large image formats.


The television and video sound opens up the spatial dimension with the Dolby ProLogic process, which has long been used in cinemas.

The digital television standards DVB-S (for satellite television) and DVB-C (for cable television) - initially in standard definition, with later extensions also in HD - are ratified.

A first smartphone precursor - the "Personal Communicator" Simon developed by BellSouth and IBM - is sold in the USA .


With the DV ( Digital Video System) system, Sony brings fully digital video in semi-professional quality. The "VX-1000" digital camcorder uses the system for the first time. A year later, the "DHR-1000" was the first stationary video recorder. After that, the introduction of the compatible mini-DV cassette format will make camcorders smaller and cheaper. Ever faster computers and hard drives enabled digital - and therefore loss-free - video post-processing in the following years in the semi-professional and ambitious amateur sector.

In Germany, regular broadcasting begins according to the PAL-Plus process, which remains compatible with existing PAL receivers, but allows an image format of 16: 9.


The European standard EN 61305 defines procedures for measuring and specifying the performance parameters of hi-fi systems . Unlike the technically outdated DIN 45500 , it no longer contains any minimum requirements.

The pay TV operator DF1 ( Digitales Fernsehen 1 ) broadcasts the first digital television program in Germany. The right receiver is the d-Box , which is initially only available for rent and later also for sale.

With the Digital Versatile Disc (DVD), a system appears that is supposed to bring the advantages of the CD into the video sector. Numerous other applications are also conceivable with the data capacity of 4.7 GB, hence the term "versatile". Digital 5.1 multi-channel sound is part of the standard. The first Dolby Digital receiver, the Kenwood KR-V990D, enables playback at home.

While notebook computers have been using LCD screens for a long time, the first independent computer flat screen based on the LCD principle is on the market. However, only relatively small image sizes can still be realized in this way.

The Nokia 9000 Communicator is the first smartphone to hit the market. For the next 10 years, smartphones will remain an expensive "toy" for managers (e.g. as diaries) and technology freaks (e.g. as GPS navigation devices). They do not (yet) count as entertainment electronics. Often they have input pens, a tiny keyboard and Symbian or Windows Mobile operating systems.


The first digital HDTV broadcast in Europe follows a year after the digital HDTV world premiere in the USA. However, the high bandwidth required for transmission and the incompatibility with existing televisions do not suggest a quick introduction.

The digital television standard DVB-T (for terrestrial television broadcasts initially in standard definition, with later extensions also in HD ) is ratified. The DVB-T project Berlin / Brandenburg starts at the IFA . A year later, at CeBIT Home in Hanover, DVB-T broadcasts five television and four radio programs in northern Germany.


Philips shows the first flat screen TV. For the first time, the picture tube , the last representative of the electron tube genus , is facing serious competition that will ultimately lead to its extinction.

Digital video compression based on the MPEG-1 standard not only allows video to be stored on CD-ROMs (Video CD, VCD), but together with advances in the capacity of computer hard drives, it is now also making the first MPEG1 camcorder possible. The format does not prevail for camcorders . However, digital photo cameras subsequently used the format to record short video clips of limited quality on memory cards.

The first portable MP3 players hit the market, but due to high prices, low storage capacities and unusual handling (which requires a computer) they are not yet widely accepted.


With Digital-8, Sony is showing a Video-8 system that has been further developed for digital storage . Although the system is technically inferior to the DV system from the same company, it secures considerable market shares through lower prices and playback compatibility with old Video-8 cassettes.

The first digital television programs are broadcast by the ASTRA family of satellites in accordance with the DVB-S standard . Receivers for this cost almost DM 1000, but become cheaper and cheaper in the following years.

The first DSL connection for private customers is laid. The internet and multimedia are starting to grow together. About 10 years before the Internet becomes very important for consumer electronics, it is becoming clear that in the future it will not only include the interaction between people and database servers, but also direct interactions between machines. The term " Internet of Things " is coined.


Digital satellite receivers with integrated hard disk video recorders appear on the market. As an advantage over the established video recorders with cassettes, they offer real time-shifted television: the recording can be viewed while the rest of the program is still recording. The devices are not yet suitable for archiving due to insufficient hard drive capacity.

For the first time, more CD-R blanks are sold than pre-recorded CDs. The PC is - thanks to computer games, MP3 and digital video - part of consumer electronics become. Digital audio recordings on both one-time recordable (CD-R) and re-recordable (CD-RW) data carriers are almost exclusively made on PCs because audio CD recorders are expensive, require special expensive blanks and many CDs do not even want to copy digitally. The MP3 CD becomes the quasi standard and stores up to 10 times as much music with a slightly reduced quality. It can only be created on a computer, but then played on many DVD players and even car radios.

With the Apple iPod , an MP3 player comes onto the market that is initially intended to provide the demanding Mac computer clientele with easier handling than with established models. The complete system of online music distribution , software and player will soon also be offered for the more widespread Microsoft Windows platform and will make the following generations of iPods the best-selling family of MP3 players.

On November 1st the conversion from analogue to digital aerial television according to the DVB-T standard begins in Berlin / Potsdam. Similar to the early days of ZDF (1963), viewers have to purchase an additional device, the set-top box . In return, they now receive more programs, and with better sound and picture quality.

Since 2002: With HD into the networked age


As HD-enabled successor to the DVD is the BluRay -Disc standardized.

With the standardization of DOCSIS 2.0, operators of broadband cable networks will be able to offer bidirectional data services ( Internet and VOIP telephony ) to a wide range of customers via their networks. The subsequent standards allow ever higher data rates.


The 4.8. marks the beginning of the end of the age of analog television: In Berlin / Potsdam, the terrestrial distribution of analog television programs is completely stopped. By the end of 2009, all analog TV channels in Germany will gradually be converted to DVB-T (later DVB-T2 in HD).

The H.264 compression method is standardized. This creates the basis for the widespread introduction of HDTV without additional bandwidth requirements .


DAB receivers for the new digital radio are coming onto the market in large numbers. Due to high device prices, incomplete area coverage and only minor advantages over established VHF broadcasting, sales and market share remained low in the early days.

The DV video format is converted to high-definition HDV through MPEG2 compression . JVC, Sony, Canon and Sharp bring corresponding camcorders onto the market initially for semi-professional users and later also for ambitious amateurs.


The HD-Ready certification is intended to remove the previously prevailing uncertainty as to which digital playback devices will work with which (flat screen) televisions. For this purpose, the 16: 9 format and minimum standards for image resolution, scaling and connection of digital players (including copy protection) are set. Since full HD televisions will still be very expensive in the years to come, HD-ready devices mark the entry into the upcoming digital HD television.


For the first time, more flat screen televisions are sold in Germany (one year later also worldwide) than tube televisions. However, inexpensive devices often come without digital inputs, so they are only suitable for analog television. Better devices are at least HD-ready, i.e. have at least one HDMI input for digital players or set-top boxes . Some top models have even built in digital receivers for HD television, which will make set-top boxes superfluous for the foreseeable future.

Almost at the same time, two competing formats are coming onto the market, both of which aim to replace DVD in the HD age: BluRay and HD-DVD . Since only a few televisions have a digital HDMI input, the playback devices also offer analog outputs. In the end, the BluRay format will prevail.

The first camcorders based on the AVCHD standard from Sony and Panasonic come onto the market. Compared to HDV camcorders, they offer better resolution and better data compression thanks to the H.264 process. You no longer record with a fixed data rate on tape, but with a variable data rate, depending on the model on hard disk or DVD. Even the first devices are affordable for ambitious amateurs. With the introduction of suitable post-processing software and professional camcorder models, which will soon follow, the replacement of the only 2 year old HDV format will begin in all areas.


With the Apple iPhone , the first SmartPhone comes onto the market, which is also intended to specifically appeal to leisure users . The complete audio and video functionality of an iPod of the 5th generation is combined with a mobile phone and a pocket computer. A new type of user interface on the full-format touchscreen is intended to appeal to users despite the high price. A wireless Internet connection enables direct sales of media (iTunes Store) and software (App Store). For the first time, multimedia consumption becomes independent of the home computer - a milestone in the convergence of computer technology and entertainment electronics. In the years that followed, the iPhone became the trendsetter in a new industry.


The HD-DVD is discontinued - BluRay has established itself as the successor to the DVD .

The HTC Dream smartphone brings a combination of more traditional hardware (with a sliding keyboard) and the new Android operating system . Thanks to further new smartphone models from various manufacturers, this will soon become serious competition for Apple's iPhone .


In the USA, for the first time ever, more Android mobile phones than iPhones are sold. After the resounding success of iOS and Android on the smartphone market, Microsoft is launching Windows Phone, an incompatible successor to Windows Mobile, which was unsuccessful in the mass market . This means that the Nokia smartphones in particular will run from the following year . However , Windows Phone never achieved the market share of iOS or Android .

With the iPad, Apple brings the first modern, Internet-enabled tablet computer onto the market. In principle, it is an iPhone with a much larger display, but without a telephone function. This is the beginning of a rapid development in which the differences between notebook computers and tablets are becoming increasingly blurred.

Many of the functions of the iPad can also be taught to any television using the Apple TV Internet set-top box, which is also new . Soon afterwards, the first so-called smart TVs will appear , which have already built-in similar functions.


Philips is the last manufacturer to stop producing CRT televisions. The Braun tube has finally had its day.


On April 30th The age of analogue television also ends for satellite television: ASTRA is converting the last of the analogue television channels to DVB-S. This leaves cable television as the last analogue reception path.

The first 4K televisions with a resolution of 3840 × 2160 pixels, twice as much as that of HD devices, hit the market. However, apart from high-resolution photos and some impressive demo videos, there is no program material for it yet. In the period that followed, more and more Internet-based program sources were established.


In some urban areas, terrestrial television programs are beginning to be converted to the new DVB-T2 HD standard, which is incompatible with DVB-T . For many users, this meant purchasing a second set-top box within a few years.

Over half of all households have an Internet-enabled Smart TV, and even more have broadband Internet access. More and more multimedia, audio and video content is no longer being consumed (" streamed ") from local data carriers, but directly from the Internet - on TVs, web radios , streaming clients , tablets and smartphones . Computers and the Internet have become an integral part of consumer electronics.


Microsoft is discontinuing support for Windows Phone . This leaves only Android and iOS as smartphone operating systems with a significant market share.


The large cable network operators that have not done this earlier will stop broadcasting analog television programs at the end of the year. Some smaller supply areas from local providers should follow by mid-2019 at the latest. Analog television is history.

In Germany, DVB-T2 allows high-resolution digital television with a conventional antenna, as it was already used in the analog age. The incompatible predecessor standard DVB-T is only used by some regional broadcasters in Hamburg, Halle, Leipzig and Berlin, which are to be converted by mid-2019. This means that this first terrestrial digital television standard is history after a good 20 years.

The market share of DAB radios is still below 25%. The EU Parliament decides that digital radio will be mandatory for new cars from 2021 onwards. However, there is no end in sight to VHF broadcasting.

For the first time, more sales are made with the online distribution of music than with the sale of CDs.


Today the trend is in the direction of “networked home appliances”, mostly using powerline solutions. The display of the networking or the control of the devices usually takes place via a web browser and is sometimes integrated with other building automation solutions, so that the cycle to entertainment electronics or the new media is closed.

The goal of networking is to increase the added value when using the device and to create new (remote) control options. The underlying technology is usually LON , UPnP or KNX standard .

Worldwide important trade fairs

Trade fairs with exhibitors from all over the world and worldwide reporting are above all:

Web links

Wiktionary: Consumer electronics  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. More safety through certification of consumer electronics - UL - UL. In: Retrieved April 3, 2019 .
  2. Michael Riordan: How Europe Missed the Transistor . In: (Ed.): IEEE Spectrum . November 2005.
  3. Komet Super-Luxus-Automatic 1223SL TV Radio Kuba Kuba-Imperi. Retrieved January 4, 2019 .
  4. Networked televisions are conquering households. In: Handelsblatt. July 5, 2016, accessed January 21, 2019 .