100th Anniversary of the Cathode-Ray Tube

Happy birthday, boob tube! Well, almost. The cathode-ray tube, the technology that made television sets possible, was patented 100 years ago today. But it would be a slow slog before TV took over our living rooms.

1910
Boris Rosing is granted a Russian patent for his cathode-ray tube, the technology found in most TVs today.

1925
Ventriloquist dummy Stooky Bill makes his on-screen debut in the first successful transmission of moving images.

1930
The first mass-produced TV set, the Baird Tele-visor, hits the market. Sold as a radio with an add-on TV, it produces images from a neon lamp and a spinning disc.

1934
Germany's Telefunken makes the first TV set with cathode-ray tubes. It doesn't catch on in the U.S. until 1945, when sales jump 500% in three years.

1956
Couch potatoes everywhere rejoice when Robert Adler invents the first wireless TV remote. The Zenith Space Command uses ultrasound to adjust the volume and switch channels. The mechanical click to send the signal is what inspires the nickname "clicker."

1962
AT&T foreshadows the era of satellite TV when it launches Telstar I, the first commercial communications satellite. The tech takes off in 1977, when pioneer satellite channel HBO amasses 1.6 million subscribers.

1979
Engineers in Japan begin work on the first modern HDTV system, Hi-Vision, which combines digital video and analog transmission signals. The U.S. switches to digital broadcasting 30 years later.

1998
Philips does away with bulky cathode-ray tubes and introduces the first flat-screen TV. Boxy console sets everywhere weep.

2010
Manufacturers race to bring a 3-D TV to market. Panasonic goes big, unveiling its 152-inch 3-D plasma TV.

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