1 Fade to black: On February 17, television stations will broadcast only digital signals, ending the run of the TV system used in the United States for the past 55 years.
2 The digital television signal can transmit pictures composed of up to 1,080 lines. That’s a long way from the first TV, demonstrated by John Logie Baird in 1926. It used just 30 lines to create a coarse image.
3 Baird’s television looked like a peep-show device, held together with scrap wood, darning needles, string, and sealing wax. His invention was partly mechanical, relying on a spinning metal disk with a spiral of holes to chop up images for transmission.
4 Two years later, Baird demonstrated color television, but black-and-white TV ruled for decades. People who watched such television as kids are more likely to dream in black and white than those who grew up with color TV.
5 Yes, it existed before Monty Python. On August 22, 1932, the BBC began regular broadcasts using the Baird system.
6 By 1935 there were some 2,000 Baird TVs in use. They cost £26 each—the equivalent of $7,700 today.
7 The largest plasma TV now available, a 103-inch monster made by Panasonic, will set you back $70,000.
8 Are television execs playing with hellfire? The inventor of all-electronic TV, Philo T. Farnsworth, called television a gift from the Lord and warned that “God will hold accountable those who utilize this divine instrument.”
9 By the age of 14, the average American child has seen 11,000 murders on TV.
10 The first television advertisement, broadcast in New York on July 1, 1941, was a 20-second Bulova Watch spot that aired before a baseball game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Philadelphia Phillies. The cost for the air buy was $9.