Evolution of the TV

Share open/close
URL copied.

Watching TV is one of life’s simple pleasures. Your favorite movie paired with your favorite snack. It’s a time-honored way to wind down at the end of the week. Having a group of friends over to watch the big game on that ultra slim TV hanging on the wall. That’s another good reason to turn on the TV. And today, with the Ultra HD TV such as our very own Samsung SUHD TV, watching movies and TV shows at home has never been this good: The Quantum dot display breathes life into what you see on the TV screen. But life wasn’t always like this. Clearly, we’ve come a long way since the days of black and white, as well as the early days of colour TV.



Mechanical Television

No one can say for sure who invented the television. It was the result of the unrelenting efforts of several people spanning several decades across different continents. It is generally agreed though that the first television images were produced in the 1920s and some of the first television sets were produced in the 30s. They were hugely limited in both picture quality and in screen size, with screens no bigger than 3 cm-wide offering blurry images with reddish-orange hues. With the appearance of Ultra HD TV far off in the future, they quickly lost any popularity they’d garnered.



Electronic Television

It was with the appearance of electronic television that TV really began to show its potential as the future mainstay of the living room. Using cathode ray tubes to display the images, the world’s first successful demonstration of the electronic television happened in 1927 by a 21-year-old Philo Taylor Farnsworth. And the first image transmitted was a simple line. When you consider the incredibly realistic images we see on Samsung’s Quantum dot displays today, the progress made over the years is undeniably impressive.



First TV Show

The TV we know today wouldn’t really exist without all those TV shows that we spend so much time watching and that continue to dominate water cooler conversations to this day. It was in 1928 that the first ever televised drama was aired on TV. And it was a pretty intense one at that. Featuring a Russian spy and a British diplomat, “The Queen’s Messenger” involved guns, daggers, poison, and blood. Clearly, this was before the days of Ultra slim TV, Ultra HD TV, Quantum dot displays, let alone regular colour TV — the TV screens at the time were so small that you couldn’t really see more than a hand or face at the same time.



First Live Sporting Event

In 1936, Berlin hosted the Summer Olympics. This was to be the first ever sports event to be broadcast live on television. A total of 72 hours of live coverage was watched by athletes in the Olympic Village and by some 150,000 people in special viewing rooms called Public Television Offices in Berlin and Potsdam. The Rome 1960 Olympic Games were the first to be broadcast live across Europe, while Tokyo 1964 reached a worldwide audience for the first time.



Colour TV

Efforts to produce colour images using three monochrome images began almost as soon as black-and-white televisions were built. The world’s first colour transmission happened just a year after the electronic TV’s first successful demonstration. Carried out by Scottish inventor John Baird, he also succeeded in making the world’s first colour broadcast a decade later in 1938. Colour television broadcasting didn’t truly break ground until the mid-1950s though, it took two more decades for colour TV to fully reach people around the world. And even then, the sets carried considerable weight, literally. The slim TV as we know it today was yet to arrive.



First Man on the Moon

While colour TV was making its way across the globe, history was being made out in space. On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 landed on the moon. The event was broadcast live to a worldwide audience. And as one fifth of mankind watched breathlessly on Earth, Neil Armstrong left the first human footprint on the lunar surface and declared “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”



First Samsung TV

In 1970, Samsung Electronics was established selling exclusively home appliances. It was during that same year with just 45 employees that Samsung developed its first television — a 12-inch black and white model called the P-3202. And it wasn’t long before it took the position of an unfailing market leader in the world of TV. By 1976, Samsung sold over one million units in Korea alone. In just two years’ time, it hit the 4 million mark, making it the producer of the highest number of black and white TVs in the world. By 1989, Samsung produced its 20 millionth colour TV.



Digital TV

The biggest step in television’s technological evolution since colour TV came with digital television. There was no comparing picture quality. Digital TV was simply better. And with MPEG-2 chosen as the worldwide standard, the stage was set and Samsung was ready. Beginning with the mass production of the world’s first digital TV in 1998, Samsung went on to launch the iconic Bordeaux in 2006. Following the slim LED TV in 2009, 2010 was the year of the Smart TV. TV finally had both beauty and brains. In 2013, Samsung created waves, gigantic ones with the curved TV.



Samsung SUHD TV

And that’s how we arrived at today’s age of the ultra slim, Ultra HD TV, among them the Samsung SUHD TV capable of HDR (High Dynamic Range). Relying on Quantum dot technology, the SUHD TV produces up to 64 times more colour variations than conventional 8-bit panel TVs – that’s about 1 billion colour shades. And with Quantum dot displays you also get HDR (up to HDR 1000 in fact) which brings out the nuanced colours in lighter areas and the subtle details in the shadows. It’s essentially the world in all its glorious colour and detail right there in your home.


From the Beetles to the fall of the Berlin Wall, from the September 11 attacks to watching the world’s fastest man break his own world record, television has been invaluable in delivering some of the most unforgettable, intense moments to people across the world. And with relentless advances made in television technology, we now have television sets like the SUHD TV that offer picture quality that’s so magnificently realistic, one can only imagine how amazing it would’ve been to watch Neil Armstrong’s first lunar step in Ultra HD. Then again, we have the entire universe in front of us. Who knows, the next big moment could be the first step taken on Mars.

Products > TV & Audio

For any issues related to customer service, please go to samsung.com/za/support for assistance.
For media inquiries, please contact ssapr.newsroom@samsung.com.

Check out the latest stories about Samsung

Learn More