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Highlights of the History of Television

Wondering how we got from the TV sets of the 1950s to the high-tech televisions of today? Explore the long history of TV and some of the major milestones.

1900: The word “television” was first used in 1900 by Constantin Perskyi at the International World Fair in Paris.

1930: Charles Jenkins broadcast the first television commercial.

1946: Only 0.5% of American households had a television.

1948: Cable TV was introduced for people living in rural areas.

1950: 9% of US households – or 3.8 million homes – had a TV by 1950.

1954: The first color TVs were put on the market for consumers. By this time, more than 55% of US homes had a television.

1956: The first commercial remote is released.

1960: In the biggest jump during a 10-year period, nearly 90% of homes in America had a TV by 1960, up from 9% in 1950.

1960’s: Most consumers were purchasing color TVs by the 1960s.

1967: By 1967, most TV shows were broadcast in color.

1972: Half of all TVs in homes are color by 1972. Sales of color TVs outnumbered sales of black and white televisions.

1978: Nearly 98% of homes have a TV – almost 73 million homes with TVs.

1988: The first LCD television entered the market.

1997: The first plasma TVs were sold.

1996: By 1996, more than one billion TVs had been purchased over the years.

Today: About 97% of American homes have a TV. That’s the lowest percentage in nearly 20 years. Before, almost 99% of American homes included a television.

It’s all about the look: The history of TV sets

Home televisions have come a long way from the 1950s to the televisions of today.


Most TVs in the 1950s looked similar to this one.

A 1970s TV set was still quite large.

Projection TVs provide an advanced picture but are very large and bulky.

Today, most televisions look similar to this LCD TV.

Now, you can enjoy an incredible 3D experience right in your living room.

The future of television: HD, 3D, smart TVs

Televisions have been improving ever since they gained popularity in the 1950s. It’s incredible to see the new technologies that have emerged since then.

Today, it seems like everything is in HD. Many of your favorite channels broadcast in full-time HD now, delivering an impressive high-quality picture to your TV.

Turn your living room into your own private movie theater with a 3D TV. Grab your 3D glasses and get right in to the middle of the action of the latest thriller.

Take your home entertainment to an all-new level with a smart TV. Smart TVs offer impressive technology like no television has before, including voice and gesture control. Bring up an Internet browser, and use apps right on your TV. Smart TVs work with 3D programming, too.

The history of TV seems to have accelerated immensely in the past few years. What’s next for television? Only time will tell!