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History of Video


Video technology was first developed for cathode ray tube (CRT) television systems, but several new technologies for video display devices have since been invented.  Charles Ginsburg led an Ampex research team developing one of the first practical video tape recorder (VTR).  In 1951 the first video tape recorder captured live images from television cameras by converting the camera's electrical impulses and saving the information onto magnetic video tape.


High-definition video or High-definition television provides a resolution that is substantially higher than that of standard definition TV.  While there is no specific meaning for high-definition, generally any video image with more than 480 horizontal lines (North America) or 576 lines (Europe) is considered high-definition.  720 scan lines is generally the minimum even though many systems greatly exceed that.  Images of standard resolution captured at rates faster than normal (60 frames/second North America, 50 fps Europe), by a high-speed camera may be considered high-definition in some contexts.



The first electronic scanning format, 405 lines was the first "high definition" television system, since the mechanical systems it replaced had far fewer.  From 1939, Europe and the US tried 605 and 441 lines until, in 1941, the FCC mandated 525 for the US.  In wartime France, René Barthélemy tested higher resolutions, up to 1,042.  In late 1949, official French transmissions finally began with 819. In 1984, however, this standard was abandoned for 625-line color on the TF1 network.


Modern HD specifications date to the early 1970s, when Japanese engineers developed the HighVision 1,125-line interlaced TV standard (also called MUSE) that ran at 60 frames per second.  The Sony HDVS system was presented at an international meeting of television engineers in Algiers, April 1981 and Japan's NHK presented its analog HDTV system at a Swiss conference in 1983.

The NHK system was standardized in the United States as Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) standard #240M in the early 1990s, but abandoned later on when it was replaced by a DVB analog standard.  High Vision video is still usable for HDTV video interchange, but there is almost no equipment around to perform this function.  Attempts at shoehorning in High Vision into a 6 MHz broadcast channel were mostly unsuccessful.  All attempts at using this format for terrestrial TV transmission were forsaken by the mid-1990s.



The FCC process, led by the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) adopted a range of standards from interlaced 1,080-line video (a technical descendant of the original analog NHK 1125/30 Hz system) with a maximum frame rate of 60 Hz, and 720-line video, progressively scanned, with a maximum frame rate of 60 Hz.  In the end, however, the DVB standard of resolutions (1080, 720, 480) and respective frame rates (24, 25, 30) were adopted in conjunction with the Europeans that were also involved in the same standardization process.  The FCC officially adopted the ATSC transmission standard (which included both HD and SD Video standards) in 1996, with the first broadcasts on October 28, 1998.



In the early 2000s, it looked as if DVB would be the video standard far into the future.  However, both Brazil and China have adopted alternative standards for high-definition video that preclude the interoperability that was hoped for after decades of largely non-interoperable analog TV broadcasting.


Xcite™ appreciates you taking the time to learn some history about videos.

You may now proceed to the next lesson.


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24 Degas Street

Brisbane QLD


1300 789 737


Mon - Sat 09:00 - 17:00

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