Collaborative efforts in the late 19th and early 20th centuries brought about the first television sets, marking the advent of a technological shift to forever change society. Here’s a little look at what goes on behind the scenes to bring us our favourite piece of household technology.


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Initial camera capture

A television camera will snap upwards of 24 images each second by capturing hundreds of lines of light via its light detectors. The recorded pictures give the effect of moving images, while microphones pick up the simultaneous sounds. The images and audio are transmitted as distinct signals.

Transmission through the airwaves

Analog technology transfers signals as waves, often resulting in screen ‘snow’. While many basic sets still use this format, the introduction of digital television has brought about a significant improvement in quality thanks to multiplexed, encoded signals.

From the wires to your television set

Whether digital or analog, signals will be sent via cables, satellite dishes or antennas for your television to convert them back to images and sounds. The specifics of how this is done varies depending on the type of TV. Cathode-ray tube (CRT) televisions separate the audio and video. Electrons are shot down a cathode-ray tube for electromagnets to essentially push them in a sweeping motion across the screen. They will reach certain dots on the screen of green, blue and red, called phosphors, lighting up those required and leaving others darkened to generate the image. Contemporary flatscreens, like LCD, have coloured pixels which can be turned on/off. While similar, plasma screens utilise plasma-filled pixels, giving a smooth, vivid picture but with a higher price tag.


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Of course, no technology is infallible. Seek professional assistance for installation and repair of TV or satellite services and consider a company such as Stroud TV aerial installation at

Development over time

Research by Ofcom suggests that 95% of homes owned a TV by 2016, with the average time spent watching it by those aged 4+ is 216 minutes per day –

Roots can be traced back to the development of the Nipkow disk in 1884. The first BBC broadcast aired in 1932 and the first LCD TV set for purchase was released by Sharp in 1988. By 2017, we have TVs over 60″, curved screens and 3D technology, with advancements set to continue.