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Technology News Timeline  1952-1959 

1952 - Finally, Los Angeles can view live television out of New York - as the major AT&T video coaxial cable now expands both coasts (this happened last year, but feeds are now perfected). No longer are low-quality kinescopes required... The Federal Communications Commission lifts the TV station licensing freeze. Right now (in 1952) - only 108 television stations are on the air - and, many parts of the country do not have television. In 1948 - the Commission stopped issuing licenses after a flood of applicants - as it found - there was not enough TV spectrum (only 12 channels) for all the demand. With the lift comes a new band of channels 14-83 (UHF) and by 1953 - many new stations are on the air. New York City - and Los Angeles have the most TV stations - each with seven (channels 2,4,5,7,9,11,13)... Trend in 1952 - children's phonographs. Lots of children's records from kiddie record labels such as Golden Records, Peter Pan, Cricket & others... There's no doubt, where there is television, it has become a huge threat to movies and radio (both will have to re-invent themselves)...    

1952 Westinghouse TV Set Commercial

1953 - The Federal Communications Commission - in reversing a 1951 decision - makes RCA's "Comptabile Color" NTSC TV transmission the standard by which all color-TV wll be transmitted and received. This reversed an earlier decision by the Commission - which made the inferior CBS color system a mainstay. The CBS system could not be received on b&w televisions - where over 99% of all TV is now viewed. NBC, a division of RCA - would begin to add more-and-more color-TV programming to the schedule to entice color-tv buyers... In order to combat television - the movie industry debuts several "wide-screen" formats - for a much better experience... Computers - random access/stored programming is born - in a one-story brick building at the end of Olden Lane in Princeton, New Jersey, Italian Norwegian mathematical biologist Nils Aall Barricelli inoculated a 5-kilobyte digital universe with random numbers generated by drawing playing cards from a shuffled deck... Portable radios - still use tubes. Here's a 1954 RCA portable radio commercial...    

1954 technology history photo1954 The battle of the phonograph record speeds is on - as 45rpm catches up to the 78rpm single. The market is now 50/50. 78's had dominated record speeds since their introduction in 1925 - but the smaller 45rpm is much more versatile, breaks less frequently and can be stored much more easily. RCA-Victor introduced the 45rpm in 1949 - and each year since, convinced more and more record companies to release their 78 singles in the new format. With RCA-Victor's 45rpm "Victrola" record player - which plays up to eight singles - more record player manufactorers began adding the 45rpm speed to their hardware... Also gaining - 33rpm albums. Now, instead of stacking singles - upwords of 12 songs can be placed on these phonograph records - giving them the nickname of "long-play." Like 45's, 33's debuted in 1949 from rival Columbia Records... The first transistor radio becomes available for sale by the holiday season. It's the first time transistor circuits are available for consumer use. The Regency AM radio sells for $49.95. Invented in 1947 - transistors would change the world - and by 2014 - would be found in everything electronic and beyond (motors etc.)    

Video - Transistor Radios Are Here From 1955

1955 -  The FCC reports that radio and television revenues totaled $1,042 billion in 1954, against $908 million in 1953. The 1954 earnings for radio presented a drop of 5.4% below the $475,300,000 the year before. As of September 1955 - there were 104 UHF-TV stations on the air against 224 VHF-TV stations. No new VHF stations went on the air in 1955. UHF is channels 14-83. VHF is channels 2-13 and they - are much more desirable...  More radio stations are adopting the DJ/records - whereby the broadcast day is manned by disc jockey shows... Interesting technology to aid TV actors and those on-camera - as the teleprompter is here!... Dumont - television’s “fourth” network is cutting back. Dumont just eliminated the greatest share of its AT&T line charges by cutting back on the use of the coaxial to as little as 10% of what it was a month earlier. The network is laying-off more people (it'll be gone soon)... Big business - replacing burned-out television set picture tubes turned into an $80 million business last year. 20% of the nearly 10 million picture tubes went to dealers for use as replacements... NBC opens its new Burbank,  California studios on Alameda Street. The studio is the first facility built specifically for color television...  Click Here For More 1955 Technology.

1954 transistor radio history technology1956 -  Ampex introduces video tape at an April broadcast show. It'll eventually revolutionize the TV industry - especially TV news coverage. This is bad news for Dumont's "Electronicam TV-film system" - which - finally figured out - how to film live shows (with great quality) for future playback. It is doing so - now with CBS-TV's "Honeymooners" starring Jackie Gleason. Before all this - Live TV shows depended on low-quality Kinescopes (filmed from a master TV monitor) for recording. Click Here For More 1956 Technology.

NBC-TV Now Letting Viewers Know What's In Color

1957 - NBC-TV introduces the color peacock - letting viewers know the following program is in color. This really was the beginning of the color-TV era as NBC began introducing more color programs (a later version was used throughout the 1960's). It was a subtle way to let b&w TV set owners know, they're missing out on something ... RCA introduces "ampliphase" - where - you can hear stereo music from an AM radio station. It'll take two radios though - one - tuned just above the channel - and the other - tuned below the channel. AM stereo never caught on as consumers favored the portability of music - anywhere with smaller transistor radios: a trend that continued through the late 1960's. FM is experimenting with stereo - but - not many consumers have FM radios... Big trend in television - network TV programming (once) mostly from New York - now - is migrating to Hollywood...  Network TV has an all-time audience high according to Nielsen. The average evening network show is reaching 1.3 million more homes than last year... Hawaii and the mainland are linked for the first time by a telephone cable. The $37 million submarine cable, laid last summer, runs from Point Arena, north of San Francisco, to Hanauma Bay near Honolulu...

Click Here For More 1957 Technology

  

Stereo Records Are Here! 

 

1958 - Compatible stereo - whereby stereo records can be played back on mono and stereo record players is here. Also - RCA begins to push, "Living Stereo" - it's music as you've never heard it.  As well as long-play 33's - some record companies begin to release 45rpm singles in stereo. It doesn't last to long - as most consumers have only mono players. It'll take until the late 1960's for 45rpm stereo to take off... Bell Telephone ads show a new kind of phone - for the kitchen. Hangs on a wall... Also in telephone news- you can now direct dial someone in a distant city - instead of using the operator. New term - "area code" becomes part of our lexicon... 

Telephone Direct Long Distance Dialing Is Here 

 Click Here For More 1958 Technology.

1959 - Many UHF-TV stations are struggling. The new band (channels 14-83) opened up in 1952 with the TV expansion - but the higher frequencies make them harder to receive than lower VHF-TV channels (channels 2-13). And, most new TV sets don't even feature UHF channels - so, you have to purchase a converter. So far, dozens have signed off since 1953 and - many with construction permits won't get on the air. The FCC begins to make certain TV markets "UHF-Only" - so - TV viewers in those areas will have to purchase UHF converters/receivers and antennas. Some of those markets include Erie, PA and Fresno, CA. Some are making it - such as WHNB-TV (channel 30) in Hartford, CT. (It would take years - but by the 1980's - with cable-TV penetration - UHF stations finally came up to par with their VHF counterparts.)... Radio is getting a nice boost from rock 'n roll. KFWB Los Angeles -  which plays this younger music, hits a ratings high of 42%! Other stations such as WINS, New York - are seeing bigger-than-ever ratings - thanks to this type of music. (also see payola) 

Here's a 1959 RCA Transistor Radio commercial... 

 

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Contact author Gary West

 

 
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