1872 - 1877 A series of photographs can be viewed by stroboscopic disc.
1884 George Eastman invents flexible photographic film
1887 Thomas Edison patents motion picture camera
1888 Edison attempts to record picture photos onto a wax cylinder
1891 - 1895 Dickson shoots numerous 15 second motion pictures using Edison’s kinetograph, his motion picture camera
1895 First public demonstration of motion pictures displayed in France
1897 Development of Cathode Ray Tube Ferdinand Braun
1907 Use of Cathode Ray Tube to produce television images
1923 Patent for the iconoscope, the forerunner of the picture tube.
1927 Talking films begin with Al Jolson in "The Jazz Singer".
Early 1930s RCA conducts black and white broadcasting experiments.
1936 First television broadcast made available in London.
1938 Initial proposal for color TV broadcast made by George Valensi.
1945 There were fewer than 7,000 working TV sets in the country and only nine stations on the air; three in New York, two each in Chicago and Los Angeles, and one each in Philadelphia and Schenectady, N.Y. RCA symbolRCA that same month holds its first public demonstration of a new TV camera offering a sharper image than those then in use. Near the end of October, Gimbel's Department Store in Philadelphia holds the first large-scale TV demonstration. More than 25,000 people come over three weeks for a chance to watch NBC programs from New York and local shows sent out by Philco's Philadelphia station.
1946 Kraft Television TheaterThe Blue Network, part of NBC, officially becomes the ABC network. A 1941 FCC ruling required RCA to divest itself of one of its two networks; NBC Blue was sold in 1943 to Edward Noble for $8 million, and becomes ABC in 1945. NBC and Gillette stage what's billed as the first "television sports extravaganza" -- the Joe Louis-Billy Conn heavyweight fight at Yankee Stadium -- in June. The fight is a viewing success with an estimated audience of 150,000 watching 5,000 sets. For every TV set tuned into the fight, there are, on average, 30 people watching, many seeing an event on TV for the first time. In October, the Television Broadcasters Association declares "television is ready to proceed on an expanded basis," and that the new industry is "well on the way to becoming one of the most important in the nation."
1947 "Howdy Doody," a children's series, premieres live on NBC in December as a one-hour Saturday program. Symbolic of the first generation nurtured on TV, the show remains on the air until 1960. In May, live theater equivalent to the Broadway stage comes to TV on a regular, commercially sponsored basis with the premiere of "Kraft Television Theatre." In March, FCC postpones final decisions on Color TV but reaffirms a go-ahead on existing standards. NBC debuts "Meet the Press," a kind of made-for-TV news conference. It goes on to become the oldest series on network TV.
1948 The Ed Sullivan Show"The Ed Sullivan Show" (originally "Toast of the Town") makes its debut in June. Sponsored by Lincoln-Mercury, the show becomes one of TV's longest-running and most successful variety series. The show airs on CBS into 1971, spurring the advancement of scores of show business careers. Advertisers accept the medium: Throughout the year, 933 sponsors buy TV time, a rise of 515% over 1947. By the fall, FCC has issued 108 licenses for new stations, with hundreds more applications pending across the nation. The earliest cable systems are born in remote areas of Pennsylvania and Oregon. Known then as Community Antenna Television, its function was simply to bring TV signals into communities where off-air reception was either non-existent or poor because of interfering mountains or distance. George Burns And Gracie AllenB.F. Goodrich sponsors the new TV series of radio comedy team George Burns and Gracie Allen. Milton Berle Milton Berle makes his TV debut in September as the master of ceremonies on "The Texaco Star Theater," which runs until 1956. By November, Mr. Berle is so popular the show earns the highest rating yet -- 86.7% of all TV households.
1949 By January, number of TV stations grows to 98 in 58 market areas. A special broadcast in January inaugurates East-Midwest TV linkage. Included in the broadcast is a one-hour sampler with the networks displaying their best: Arthur Godfrey for CBS, Ted Steele for DuPont, Milton Berle and Harry Richman for NBC, and for ABC a mystery show called "Stand By for Crime." The event moves Chicago Tribune to report: "The end of dull sustaining filler on television screens appears to be in sight." FCC adopts the Fairness Doctrine, making broadcasters responsible for seeking out and presenting all sides of an issue when covering controversy. (Earlier in the Communications Act of 1934 broadcasters were required to give "equal air time" to candidates running in elections.) U.S. Dept. of Commerce confirms TV's selling power when it reports in May: "Television's combination of moving pictures, sound and immediacy produces an impact that extends television as an advertising medium into the realm of personal sales solicitation." Betty Furness starts pitching refrigerators and appliances in TV spots for Westinghouse, launching a relationship that lasts more than 11 years and makes her one of the first stars created for commercial TV.
1950 Arthur GodfreyIn January, Arthur Godfrey and Faye Emerson are named most pleasing personalities in Look's TV awards show on CBS. National sponsors exit radio for TV at record rates, moving Variety to describe the exodus as "the greatest exhibition of mass hysteria in biz annals."
1951 Alistair Cooke"Omnibus," one of commercial TV's most honored cultural series, debuts. Hosted by Alistair Cooke, the program takes in $5.5 million in advertising revenues during five years on the air, against $8.5 million in costs. "I Love Lucy," a half-hour filmed TV sitcom, is born. The show, unlike the live TV productions typical of the time, ranks No. 1 in the nation for four of its first six full seasons. It is sponsored by Philip Morris.I Love Lucy CBS broadcasts the first color program on June 21, but only 25 receivers can accommodate mechanical color. Viewers of 12 million existing sets see only a blank screen. "Hallmark Hall of Fame" series launches in December with "Amahl and the Night Visitors."
1952 National Association of Radio & Television Broadcasters ratifies a new Television Code establishing guidelines for content and addressing the concerns of social critics. Nearly half the code is devoted to advertising. In response to protests about program content, a House subcommittee investigates "offensive" and "immoral" TV programs and touches on wide range of topics -- from beer spots to dramas depicting suicide. Bob Hope takes his comedy from radio to TV when "The Bob Hope Show" debuts in October. Elsie the CowBorden's Elsie the Cow beats out actor Van Johnson and U.S. Sen. Robert Taft in recognition polls as one of America's most familiar faces. NBC's "Today" show, first and longest-running early-morning network show, bows with host Dave Garroway and chimpanzee sidekick J. Fred Muggs. By year's end, the number of TV households grows to 20 million, up 33% from previous year. U.S. advertisers spend a record $288 million on TV time, an increase of 38.8% from 1951.
1953 Color broadcasting officially arrives in the U.S. on Dec. 17, when FCC approves modified version of an RCA system.
1954 The "Captain Kangaroo" the first network kids show, begins on CBS. The Hamm's bear is introduced in a TV spot that initially runs as a sequel to a 1953 Hamm's commercial that featured beavers beating on tom- toms.Hamms Bear The first color commercial televised in a local show was commissioned in March by Castro Decorators, New York, in a contract with WNBT. It was first telecast on Aug. 6.
1954 Steve AllenNBC launches "The Tonight Show," featuring comedian Steve Allen, on Sept. 27. For nearly four decades -- until CBS' "Late Show With David Letterman" enters the scene in 1993 -- the show dominates late night. In April, groundwork is laid for the Television Advertising Bureau. For the first time, television is the leading medium for national advertising.
1955 Immensely popular daytime radio show "Queen For A Day" shifts to TV in January. Between radio and TV, the show had a run of nearly 20 years, although widely criticized as an exploitation of human misery, wrapped in commercial plugs. At the peak of popularity, NBC increased the show's length from 30 to 45 minutes to gain time to sell at the premium ad rate of $4,000 per minute. Future U.S. President Ronald Reagan becomes host of "General Electric Theater," long-running anthology series on CBS (1953-61) in which many top Hollywood film stars appeared. One of NBC's perennial specials -- "Peter Pan" with Mary Martin and Cyril Richard -- first telecast in March as a live production. It's billed as the first network presentation of a full Broadway production. Videotape later makes it possible to present the show annually for several years. The classic Western series "Gunsmoke" begins its 20-year run on CBS. "The $64,000 Question," sponsored by Revlon, premieres in June on CBS, igniting a U.S. game show craze.
1956 Videotape is introduced by Ampex Corp. at a CBS-TV affiliates' session. Most TV shows at the time are produced by the kinescope process. The 1939 movie "Wizard of Oz" debuts in November on CBS's "Ford Star Jubilee." After more than three decades of exposure, the feature is considered one of the most successful single programs in TV history and the longest continually sponsored theatrical movie on TV.
1996 Digital satellite dishes that are only 18 inches in diameter hit the market. They become the biggest selling electronic item in history next to the VCR.
2005 Flat screen TV's & HDTV are the "In" thing of the year. Almost all televisions sold are now flat LCD and Plasma screens. Some are only a few inches thick. Large screen Plasma and LCD TV's are also well within the reach of the average consumer. A 42" Plasma screen retails for as low as $1400.00 with prices getting lower as the year progresses. Hi Definition TV's, (known as HDTV) are also the big seller for 2005. A 42" Plasma HDTV usually retails for $4500.00 - $7000.00. Some new 42" TV's even sell for as low as $999.00. By 2006 all television stations will switch to a HiDef broadcast. Click Here for more information on HDTV
2010 3D movies and 3D television sets arrive. It started with James Cameron's blockbuster "Avatar". 3D has been around for decades, but this time it seems as though it is here to stay. Numerous movies have come out and all TV manufactures have released high definition 3D sets. Instead of those funky red/green cardboard glasses you now wear a modern hi-tech LCD pair that let's you watch the new sets with incredible clarity. Never before has 3D been so vivid. The images truly appear to jump off of the screen. New 3D Blu-ray players have also been introduced so you can watch your favorite movie (as soon as it's released on disc) in 3D at home. Several cable stations and networks are starting to deliver programs in 3D.
Websites The history of Film, Television, and Video