It is difficult to imagine many inventions that have had a bigger impact than the television.
It was first available in the 1920s but would only become truly consumer-ready in the 1930s. Soon after World War II, it would become a feature in every household and business. In its first decade of prominence, the television was a political superweapon – you could now reach people in the comfort of their own homes where their guards were relaxed. Propaganda dominated the television waves until the mid-1960s when colour was introduced.
People could now watch all kinds of pre-recorded material whenever they pleased and would continue to do so until the introduction of cable television and cloud-stored programming in the 2000s. The quality of picture stayed fairly constant for many years, with the big transitions being from black-and-white to colour, but over the past decade, we have seen the move to LCD, high-definition, 3D televisions, 4K and the rate of change is only increasing.
The credit for coining the word ‘television’ is given to Constantin Perskyi in a paper he read at a fair in France in August of 1900. There was no real relation to the television we know today until amplification was invented. John Logie Baird used the Nipkow Disk (a rotating disk used to scan images) to display his prototype images. He is famous for the first display of a talking and moving face in the form of a ventriloquist’s doll named “Stooky Bill”.
As of 2018 the amount of people in the world with television sets sits at about 79% which has remained fairly constant for a number of years.