Posted on January 2, 2014 in ATSC News
An important milestone in the history of television broadcasting occurred 60 years ago this week – the first coast-to-coast “colorcast” using the newly-minted NTSC color TV standard adopted by the FCC in December 1953.
This followed the FCC’s brief adoption of the CBS color system, which was not compatible with existing black-and-white broadcasts and employed a spinning color wheel in receivers that had only 405 scan lines.
Sixty years ago, the January 1, 1954 broadcast of Pasadena’s “Tournament of Roses” parade was transmitted to groups of viewers watching specially-equipped prototype color TV receivers in 23 cities networked from California to Connecticut.
“It was the effort of the participants of the National Television System Committee — including RCA, GE, Philco, and Hazeltine — whose conceptual contributions made the U.S. color system acceptable and successful. Certainly RCA should be credited for developing the total set of integrated hardware elements, including studio, transmission, and receiver equipment, for a complete color television system. And it was RCA who almost single-handedly continued to fund the development and marketing of color television for more than ten years until its acceptance,” notes early color television historian Ed Reitan of Omaha, Nebraska. Reitan witnessed one of those New Year’s Day color TV broadcasts on NBC in 1954.
Only a handful of the original “Model 5” NTSC demonstration sets are still in existence, including one at the Early Television Museum near Columbus, Ohio.
Two and a half months after the parade broadcast, the first RCA Color TV (Model CT-100) with a 15-inch screen rolled off the company’s Bloomington, Indiana production lines bound for retail stores with a $1,000 pricetag (equivalent to $8,600 today.)
Posted in ATSC News
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