Who invented the Color TV? (Invention Timeline Explained)

Most of us take watching color television for granted, but this wasn’t always the case. It is a little hard to imagine that people watched TVs in black and white in the early days. Indeed, the invention of color TV was a giant leap in television development. It opened doors of opportunities for the improvement of media and entertainment.

Color television symbolizes a thoroughly modern form of seeing and representing, and it is dubbed as one of the most transformational inventions in the field of technology. It gave the viewers a more unique and realistic experience. Here’s a little look into the timeline and evolution of the color TV and the genius minds behind its invention.

Who invented the color TV?

Many engineers/inventors like Gonzales Camarena and Peter Goldmark contributed to the design of the technology behind the first color TV. But it was John Logie Baird – a 49-year-old Scottish inventor – who successfully developed the first color television.

The color TV’s key contributors (and evolution)

  • Maurice Le Blanc
    The first color TV proposal

    In 1880, a lot of engineers submitted their proposals to add color to the then black and white televisions. Le Blanc’s invention was among the promising proposals. However, it was rejected since it lacked concrete detail and machinery to make it work.

  • Hovanes Adamian
    The first person to patent color TV

    Adamian was the first to apply for the color TV patent on March 31, 1908. He claimed to be the inventor of color TV.

  • John Logie Baird
    The inventor of color TV

    Improved Adamian’s patent. He utilized scanning discs to analyze colors at the receiving and transmitting ends. In 1928, his team recorded a girl wearing three hats of different colors. He continued with his research despite the limitations brought by the World War II. He used his savings and even his life insurance to have meaningful results.

  • Peter Goldmark
    The first color TV demonstration

    He invented a color television system with 343 line resolution in 1940. He was the first person to demonstrate his color television system to the FCC. He was recognized as the first to introduce a broadcasting color television system in 1944.

  • FCC
    Color Television Standard

    FCC approved the first color television standard in 1950. However, the system was not compatible with the existing black and white sets, it was bulky, and has terrible picture quality.

  • CBS
    The pioneer of color broadcasting

    In June of 1951, CBS began their first attempt to color broadcasting. They launched it in five east coast stations.

  • RCA
    Developers of better color television system

    A better color television was designed based on a technology called shadow mask CRT which was an innovation of Alfred Schroeder. In 1953, FCC approved their system. Leading to the sale of RCA’s color TVs in 1954.

When was the color TV invented?

The color television was first mentioned in a 1904 German patent for a color television system. Then, in 1928, the inventor John Logie Baird first demonstrated the color TV in his laboratory.

A brief history of the color TV

The color TV was first demonstrated publicly in a laboratory at 133 Long Acre in London by John Logie Baird. The earliest test subject for color television was strawberries—the electro-mechanical technology used utilizing a revolving disc and a spinning mirror-drum that alternated blue-green and red filters. 

He gave the world’s first demonstration of a fully integrated electronic On 16 August 1944, using a color picture tube called telechrome. This device has two sensor guns that scanned the image, creating color pictures and producing prints in 3D. Unfortunately, Baird’s untimely death in 1946 marked the end of this route of pioneering color research.

The world’s first public color TV service began in the USA. Color television was available in select cities from 1954 using the NTSC (National Television Standards Committee)-compatible color system championed by RCA.

Years of experimentation were made by BBC to begin public transmissions. The first experiment was the coverage of the 1966 elections to viewers in America via the Early Bird satellite, where color was more widely adopted; however, the UK still only received black-and-white coverage.

The color TV timeline

  1. 1925
    The patent for color TV

    Vladimir Zworykin is the first person who tried to file for a patent for an all-electronic color television system.

  2. Late 1930’s
    The undeterred engineer

    Braid financed his own research with his own personal savings in the late 30’s. Even if the BBC television service stopped because of World War II, he still continued his work and successfully demonstrated an improved color television with images made of 600 lines.

  3. 1944
    A brave try

    Peter Goldmark first person to demonstrate his color television system to the FCC. He was known as the first to person to introduce a broadcasting color television system.

  4. 1950
    The first shows in color

    USA became the first country with black and white transmission to introduce color television. The audience for color TV shows was incredibly small since it was very expensive. Only handful of regular shows and specials were aired in color during the 1950’s

  5. 1972
    The market penetration

    During this time, almost half of the households in the United States availed color TVs. Most TV broadcasts are in color as well.

Where was the color TV monitor invented?

The first color TV was demonstrated in Long Acer, London , at John Logie Baird’s laboratory.

The importance of the color TV

  • Transformed the way we see the world

    Color television helped the viewers experience everything in a realistic, unique, captivating, and sensational way. The viewers enjoyed sports, educational programs, cartoons, musicals, and even political programs more because of color TV. It added color to their everyday lives/

  • A breath after World War II

    Due to the World War and the Depression, Americans were deprived of luxuries and basic necessities. The rapid rise of post-war consumer culture gave way to the rise of color TV. Color TV provided hours of fun and entertainment for the people who’ve been deprived of freedom and luxury for a long time.

  • Opening doors of opportunities

    The invention of color TV opened doors for advertisements, TV shows, and and movie theatres to engage more viewers and improve their work quality. It was also an opportunity for celebrities and even politicians to gain more admirers and followers.

  • Effect on Educational TV

    Color TV is not only crucial in entertainment, it is also valuable for education. Because of this invention, students observed and learned in a more realistic way. This is deemed adequate by numerous researchers.

The color TV monitor by the numbers

  • 1,000The CT-100 is the first color TV set released by RCA. It is marketed to become a costly classic. The CT-100 was sold for $1,000, which has the buying power of $7,850 today
  • 15 The first color television sets which were sold in 1954 used a 15 inch screen.
  • 1In 1945, Color TV was introduced to consumers, only 1% of homes had a color set by the end of that year.
  • 1972Color TV finally surpassed the black and white TV sets. Almost all households have their own color TV.

Five facts about the color TV

  • Color TV Day

    Every June 25, Color TV Day is celebrated to remind everyone to appreciate one of the grandest innovation in technology.

  • Living Color

    “Living Color” was the first live national TV broadcast made in 1954 on New Year’s Day. This was the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California.

  • First color TV broadcast

    The program called Premiere was regarded as the first color television broadcast. CBS aired it in 1951.

  • Color TV was not a new idea

    The idea for color TV already existed in the late 19th century. It was A.A. Polumordvinov, a Russian scientist, who came up with a system of concentric cylinders and spinning Nipkow disks and concentric cylinders. But the technology for his idea to materialized was not yet available.

  • Technology behind color TV

    The technology behind color TV involves three electron beams simultaneously moving across the screen – the red, green and blue beams. Unlike in black-and-white TV ,the screen of color TV is not coated with a single sheet of phosphor.

FAQ about the color TV

  • Did a Mexican invent color TV?

    Not exactly.  Guillermo González Camarena, a Mexican electrical engineer, invented a color-wheel type of color television which was later on used to create the first color TV.

  • How does a color TV screen work?

    One monochrome image in each of the three colors of red, green, and blue (RGB) can create a broadcast. These images when displayed together or in rapid succession, will blend and produce a full-color image as seen by the viewers.

  • What was the first TV in color?

    The first color-TV set for consumers  was the RCA’s CT-100 . It was marketed with a high price but the quality is low.

  • When did color tvs become mainstream?

    The color TV sets were sold in large numbers starting in 1965 when it was announced that more than half of all networks’ prime-time programming would be broadcast in color.

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