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Television Displays Hardware

The First High-Definition TV, Circa 1958 222

Posted by kdawson
from the swivels-and-tilts-and-comes-in-purple dept.
An anonymous reader sends us to Gizmag for a look at a recent auction of a large collection of antique TVs. The star of the show was the Teleavia type P111, one of the earliest examples of high-definition TV. This rare 1958 console-stand television was designed by Flaminio Bertroni, who was also responsible for the iconic Citroen DS. The TV featured dual resolution capability, with the higher setting offering better resolution than 720p — 819 lines. This early attempt at a high-def standard, originating in France in 1949, didn't catch on in the marketplace.
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The First High-Definition TV, Circa 1958

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 05, 2009 @09:49PM (#29652657)
    Just look closely at the fine kerning!
  • The Citroen (Score:4, Insightful)

    by conureman (748753) on Monday October 05, 2009 @09:51PM (#29652673)

    Way ahead of it's time, as well. What a ride!

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by conureman (748753)

      Is that web page ahead of it's time or do I just need to update my browser? ow.

  • by Master Moose (1243274) on Monday October 05, 2009 @09:57PM (#29652715) Homepage
    .. Only because it didn't have HDMI input, which as we all know is imperative to receiving HD content.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by StreetStealth (980200)

      Obviously the movie studios were afraid of having their content available to consumers in such high resolutions!

      But for all I know, that may not be entirely a joke.

      • by Firehed (942385) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @12:08AM (#29653437) Homepage

        I wouldn't doubt that (you can certainly fit a feature film's worth of 1080p on a dual layer DVD, but copyright holders waited for a more DRM-infected format), but I think bandwidth would have been the bigger issue. Lord knows they didn't have digital compression back then, never mind a decent implementation like h.264. I don't know a damn thing about analog compression, but I imagine that it's all inherently lossy so applying much would defeat the purpose of having the increased resolution in the first place.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @12:52AM (#29653631)

          As a frequent pirate of movies, let me just say: 8-9GB for a 1080p movie (in h.264) is not sufficient to make compression artifacts non-noticeable on any decent display. And I've yet to find a codec that is better than h.264.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Ant P. (974313)

            Have you tried that on video that wasn't horribly compressed to begin with?

          • I still have a copy of Burn After Reading that was a little over 700MB and 720p, with good quality sound and no artifacts that I noticed. Maybe it'd need to be a gig and a half to be perfect quality, but I couldn't tell the difference between it and Blu-Ray on a 24" monitor. So being very harsh indeed with the upscaling, maybe 4 to 5 gigs for full 1080? The only problem is finding that rare uploader who cares enough or uses a professional level edit suite.
        • It wasn't until the late 70s (early 80s) that the VCR became a consumer mass-market product. Sure, there have been other devices prior for niche markets; but they wouldn't have had much of an impact on content piracy.

          I think a more down-to-earth explanation as to why that hi-def analog format failed was due to the cost of the infrastructure to support it. In fact, were there any cameras with the technology to support 819 lines at the time?

    • by mcrbids (148650) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @01:10AM (#29653713) Journal

      Sure, HDMI is a joke. But there's a deeper issue going on... who hasn't noticed that TV as we've known it is almost dead?

      1) I don't bother with rabbit ears.

      2) I have a television but it's never on except to play video games.

      3) I never turn on a set to see "what's on".

      4) When I want to "watch TV", I turn to my Mac Mini, and surf to Hulu, Netflix or sometimes directly to the major networks.

      5) I'm oblivious to the network behind most of the shows I watch. I typically go to the networks' sites last, and then only when I have time to kill. Which is rare.

      6) I watch the shows I want, when I want, starting from the beginning. If I don't like a show, I switch to another show, which also starts right up, exactly when I want it to. When I stay at a Hotel, I find the "channel surfing" experience annoying since I can't start the shows at the beginning!

      I have plenty of money to buy a TV. I just don't care to - Hulu/Netflix/Mac-Mini with a nice screen and Altec Lansing speakers give me a much more satisfactory experience. (seriously, who knew speakers so small could PUMP like that with good fidelity to boot?)

      The only thing I really miss is the remote - the Mac Mini remote doesn't work with the browser. Wireless mice are annoying since the pointer tends to bounce around, and the batteries die quickly. But it's a small price to pay...

      • Huh, I'm the same, but everyone still looks at me weird when I tell them I don't actually own a TV... :P

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by mcrbids (148650)

          Don't be sheepish! When they say "TV" you say: "Why would you want one of those?".

          Turn the conversation around, and make them justify spending $XX money without even getting video "on demand".

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by plastbox (1577037)
            Here in Norway the outdatedness of TV is taken to a whole other level. Over here, you can't even own a TV (or anything else with a TV tuner) without paying about $456 a year in "broadcast tax" (loosely translated)! Even if you only use your TV with your media PC, you still have to pay this broadcast tax, even though there is no actual broadcasting going on, Hell, you have a TV in your basement? What you say !! Pay up, biatch! =(
            • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

              by k-vuohi (973009)
              Here in Finland they've really noticed the outdatedness (mainly from people canceling their subscriptions to the "TV fee"), and starting from 2012 they're going to charge about $250 or more per household, TV or no TV present.
              • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

                by dotgain (630123)
                New Zealand is way ahead of you lot at uniformly shafting everyone, in 1998. Try to keep up!
                • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                  by vegiVamp (518171)
                  Hmm, peculiar. Here in Belgium, the "kijk- en luistergeld", roughly translated "watch- and listen money", basically a tax on all radios and tellies, was abolished a few years ago.
              • You'll prise the BBC from my cold dead hands, or something
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by adolf (21054)

            Hrm. My 52" Samsung does just fine with these "on demand" tasks, coupled with a PS3 and a spare core on my Q6600. A little pricey, and a lot wasteful, for sure. But then, I'm a lot more comfortable on my couch with a beer and a smoke than in front of my PC when it comes to consuming passive entertainment. And it lets me watch with my friends and family, as well.

            To each his own, I guess.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ChienAndalu (1293930)

        7) You are not the average TV consumer

  • by Rantastic (583764) on Monday October 05, 2009 @10:03PM (#29652735) Journal

    The TV featured dual resolution capability, with the higher setting offering better resolution than 720p â" 819 lines.

    Nice try, but "by today's standards, it could be called 737i with a maximum theoretical resolution of 816x737 pixels with a 4:3 aspect ratio (10Mhz * 40.8 / 1000 *2 = 816)" Now compare this to the 720p standard which is 1280x720 pixels and a much higher resolution.

    • You've mist the most obvious difference... it was monochrome.
  • by NaCh0 (6124) on Monday October 05, 2009 @10:22PM (#29652837)

    Computer displays are the same way. Twelve years ago I had a vertical resolution of 1200px in a 21" monitor. Today on a 24" monitor, that's still the best sold in any store. It's sickening.

    • by Shadow of Eternity (795165) on Monday October 05, 2009 @10:35PM (#29652909)

      It gets worse if you just count 9 years ago. In 2001 we had a max vertical resolution of 1536 on a 22" monitor. Today on a 24" monitor you have either 1080 or 1200.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by StreetStealth (980200)

        One of the biggest factors to the glacial pace of desktop display resolution this decade may be web standards.

        A sudden jump in DPI just doesn't isn't practical for the pixel-for-pixel nature of the web (however much the W3C may try to change that). Sure, newer browsers will scale entire layouts to higher resolutions, but the image quality and often layout integrity lose a lot in the process. So, display manufacturers have kept everything in the 72-96 dpi range so that everything looks more or less the same.

        • That would make sense, except that widescreen's become horribly ubiqitous and at the same time even on a 4:3 most pages are still a narrow vertical strip in a field of background.

          • Why does that bother you? It's not like you need to run your browser in full screen all the time...

            Don't get me wrong - I'm not a widescreen advocate and I'd go back to my 2048x1536 CRTs if my eyes could still take it, but 16:10 isn't as bad as it sounds.

            Even on 1680x1050 (which is perfect for me on 15.4" laptops in terms of pixel density, I've found), I've got enough room for a 1050x1050 browser window/Word/PDF and 630x1050 left for E-Mail, IM, widgets or whatever. Being able to view two full A4 PDFs side

          • by Jared555 (874152)

            It is possible to avoid making a narrow strip but most people don't do it.... Just make sure at least one column can be stretched horizontally without looking terrible. The biggest issue is there isn't an easy way to say 'make this x px (or name your favorite unit) wide and then expand the rest of the page to 100% of the screen's width'. Or at least I haven't found one that doesn't involve javascript.

      • by BitterOak (537666)

        It gets worse if you just count 9 years ago. In 2001 we had a max vertical resolution of 1536 on a 22" monitor. Today on a 24" monitor you have either 1080 or 1200.

        That's because today's monitors are widescreen (16:9) instead of the old standard (4:3). Comparing 22" 4:3 with 24" 16:9 doesn't actually mean you have more space in the vertical direction, but you have many more pixels in the horizontal direction.

        Personally, I hate widescreen monitors. Unless you watch movies on your computer (which I don't) I don't see the point. Most of the work I do is page layout, and the typical pages I work on have a vertical orientation, so going to a widescreen monitor is a step

        • by sbjornda (199447)

          Most of the work I do is page layout, and the typical pages I work on have a vertical orientation

          Sounds like you would benefit from a dual monitor setup with one of the monitors in portrait orientation. This is surprisingly easy to do nowadays, and not expensive. Apologies if I've stated the obvious.

          --
          .nosig

        • Most of the work I do is page layout, and the typical pages I work on have a vertical orientation

          A two-page spread is wide. Try making two windows in your web browser, control-clicking them in the Windows taskbar so that they're both selected, and choosing one of the Tile options. Do this on a 1920x1200 pixel monitor, and it's almost like having two 1024x1280 portrait monitors.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Jesus_666 (702802)
          I simply got rid of the notion that applications have to run fullscreen. Granted, you end up with the browser taking up 75% of the screen but at least those 25% can be used for background apps you want to monitor.
        • by Shakrai (717556)

          Unless you watch movies on your computer (which I don't) I don't see the point.

          Or work with spreadsheets/financial software. Movies aren't the only purpose of a widescreen monitor and your experiences do not represent everybody else who uses a PC.

          But go shopping for a monitor today, and it's impossible to find 4:3.

          Yeah, it's as hard as going to Newegg, clicking on 'monitors', clicking on 'advanced search' and setting 'widescreen' to 'no'. I can see why you haven't been able to find any 4:3 monitors. Maybe [newegg.com] a [newegg.com] few [newegg.com] links [newegg.com] will help you?

      • pretty soon you'll be cranking that 24" down to 800X600 and loving it!

        Get off of my lawn!
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by imsabbel (611519)

        Funny Fact: none of those was actually able to display that resolution. Scanning, yes. But the pitch of the dot/grill mask was not sufficient.
        -> "build in" antialiasing/blur filtering.

        The "real" resolution of those monitors was usually at least 30% lower than the maximum supported one. everything above just pushed beyond nyquist and make your black lines gray.

      • by adolf (21054)

        As long as we're lamenting the long-gone days of high-DPI displays:

        My 4.5 year old Dell Inspiron 6000d with its 15.4" WUXGA+ display does 1920x1200 just fine, thanks.

        And I just parked a 19" Viewsonic Trinitron by the dumpster after it developed a power supply problem. That thing managed ungodly resolutions at sane refresh rates, but it ain't shit compared to the 20" 1600x1200 IPS LCD in front of me in terms of total usability. The Trinitron tube, at high resolutions, had some real convergence issues which

      • by nojayuk (567177)

        Actually the max resolution on a 22" LCD available to the general public is 3840 x 2400. This is the IBM T220 and it was first sold in 2001, later replaced by the T221 which used the same LCD panel but had better electronics support. Viewsonic and iiyama rebadged and sold them too. It was eye-wateringly expensive (more than ten thousand bucks) and frankly not very good with a low refresh rate, crap viewing angles, low contrast and brightness compared to other lower-res LCD panels on sale even back then.

        htt

    • by icegreentea (974342) on Monday October 05, 2009 @10:39PM (#29652935)
      Yeah. But that's the price you pay for having monitors that use half the energy, and use a tenth of the space.
    • It's sickening.

      Yeah, but if you stop trying to focus on those tiny, flickering CRT pixels for a while, the queasiness will pass.

    • That's because your old 21" monitor had an aspect ratio of 4:3, and the new ones have an aspect ration of 16:10 or 16:9. Widescreen 21" monitor will always be shorter in height compared to a regular monitor.
    • Speak for yourself. I have two (also old) 21" Eizo FlexScans (I think they are from 2000) which can do 2048*1536. So I have a total of 4096*1536. Do you know what I payed? 200€!

      Now those CRTs did cost 2500€ (converted price, ignored loss of value for simplicity) when they were new. For that price I would get twenty-five displays. With a total resolution of 10240*7680 !!

      That is a bit more than those 1200px, isn't it? :)

      Of course if you want those fancy TFTs, with their annoying problem to be able t

  • by AHuxley (892839) on Monday October 05, 2009 @10:43PM (#29652955) Homepage Journal
    The Scottish engineer and inventor of the world's first working television system was talking of a 1000 lines too in the1940's.
    Nothing new, just a young person thinking wow they could do that back then :)
    The revolution was the sweat shops of Asia and quality control.
    Digital HD was a rush, needing real skill. A duct tape effort ;)
    http://www.bairdtelevision.com/colour.html [bairdtelevision.com]
  • Thin CRT? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Danzigism (881294) on Monday October 05, 2009 @10:47PM (#29652973)
    As much as I love my 22" widescreen LCD monitor, I still miss the crisp, solid, and reliable CRT. This article is a prime example of why we have used CRT's for such a long time. But what I want to know is, why hasn't anyone mass produced a Thin CRT yet? I'm sure all of you remember the articles posted back in 2004 about Samsung developing a Thin CRT [gizmodo.com]. What the hell happened and why did this idea fall through?
    • Re:Thin CRT? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Miamicanes (730264) on Monday October 05, 2009 @11:07PM (#29653083)

      > But what I want to know is, why hasn't anyone mass produced a Thin CRT yet?

      They've been prototyped -- 10 years ago, I was convinced that the future of television was the Field Emission Display (FED) after I saw a demo at CES. Absolutely *beautiful*. The best of all worlds. Bright, saturated, distortion-free, and viewable from angles just like a regular CRT.

      Basically, coat a sheet of glass with colored phosphors, and put individually-addressable solid-state electron sources behind them. To light up a particular phosphor group, turn on the emitters behind it to make it glow. Unfortunately, the technology went nowhere. :(

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Field_emission_display [wikipedia.org]

      • > But what I want to know is, why hasn't anyone mass produced a Thin CRT yet?

        They've been prototyped -- 10 years ago, I was convinced that the future of television was the Field Emission Display (FED) after I saw a demo at CES. Absolutely *beautiful*. The best of all worlds. Bright, saturated, distortion-free, and viewable from angles just like a regular CRT.

        Basically, coat a sheet of glass with colored phosphors, and put individually-addressable solid-state electron sources behind them. To light up a particular phosphor group, turn on the emitters behind it to make it glow. Unfortunately, the technology went nowhere. :(

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Field_emission_display [wikipedia.org]

        Isn't that roughly how an OLED display is put together? If so, maybe you'll have cause to celebrate in the next couple years.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Randle_Revar (229304)

          In OLED, the current is run directly into an organic light emitting diode. Whereas FED/SED had an electron gun pointed at each phosphor pixel (more or less). Still, I guess OLED is closer to FED/SED than an LCD.

    • LCD's can be used in LOTS of places, they are simple and reliable and known tech.

      Your thin CRT would have a hard sell, they would be useless in laptops, be very heavy and offer what exactly as a benefit?

      People want flat, setting up an entire production facility just for TV's and MAYBE computer screens that you will have to sell with "yes we know it is bloody thick and heavy but it looks much better, well, no, you probably can't see it in the brochure but trust us!".

      People want flat. I don't think mosts d

      • by Khyber (864651)

        "Your thin CRT would have a hard sell, they would be useless in laptops, be very heavy and offer what exactly as a benefit?"

        You barely thump most laptop LCD panels and the damned thing will break.

        That extra quarter inch of glass won't break nearly as easily.

        I'd prefer durability over lightweight and flimsy any day.

    • YOu're the only one.

      Crisp, reliable CRT = big bux.

      Crisp, reliable(ish) LCD = cheap.

    • Plasmas are pretty close to CRTs technologically. Instead of energizing phosphors by shooting electrons at them, they make electric arcs jump through gas in tiny glass cells, which releases a bunch of UV which strikes the phosphors and energizes them. This process is easy to miniaturize but pretty inefficient, hence the perceptible heat radiated by one of these things. But that's beside the point; visually the result should be about the same. So maybe "thin CRTs" are plasma TVs -- just minus the "C" and
      • ...and, I hadn't been keeping up with this, but a quick google turns up "SED" and "FED" technologies which are even closer to CRTs and which will probably be rolled out eventually (just type these terms into Wikipedia if interested). Though with LED TVs already hitting stores I wonder if they'll offer any substantive advantages.
    • by klui (457783)
      My back doesn't miss CRTs' lead-filled tubes. I'm pretty sure my desk doesn't either.
    • by Jared555 (874152)

      Prototype SED screens (thin CRTs) have been made and I think still are being worked on. They also eliminate some of the other downsides of CRT screens (flicker, for example)

  • They never show it in use or any actual video being displayed on it.

    Buffoons! For all I know (being the internet) its just an old TV! SHOW ME THE MONEY!

    I'm gonna go play uncharted 2...

  • So 57 years ago France was already broadcasting 441 lines. I was under the impression, that in the USA, today, that 480 lines were being broadcast and sold as the low end of HD. And that we continue to use 320 line for regular cable / satellite / OTA broadcasts. I could be off a lot in my understanding and was looking for clarification. It just seems amazing that France would have been for all intents and purposes be broadcasting 57 years ago what we American's are being sold as HD TV today (considering how
    • by Rantastic (583764)
      Not all digital over-the-air broadcasts are HD. For example, the 480p you mention. It is digital but it is not HD.
    • Actually the 441-line system was a Nazi-developed format, exported to occupied France.
      Propaganda evidently required a better format than the crappy 180-line system they used for the 1936 Olympics.

    • by westlake (615356)

      It just seems amazing that France would have been for all intents and purposes be broadcasting 57 years ago what we American's are being sold as HD TV today

      It might sound a little less amazing if you asked how many channels were available.

    • So 57 years ago France was already broadcasting 441 lines. I was under the impression, that in the USA, today, that 480 lines were being broadcast and sold as the low end of HD.

      You would be wrong. NTSC (US analog) standard definition is 525 vertical lines, of which 486 are visible (plus or minus several depending on overscan). This is usually referred to as "480i60", as in, 480 vertical lines, interlaced, 60 fields per second.

      The ATSC over-the-air television standard used in the US can carry a variety of fo

  • Ow...it hurts my eyes...and my brain...

  • by Animats (122034) on Tuesday October 06, 2009 @12:08AM (#29653439) Homepage

    It's not that hard to do high-definition monochrome TV. You just need to crank up the horizontal sweep rate and use higher-bandwidth amplifiers. Color, though, requires more holes in the shadow mask or stripes on the screen, and the alignment tolerances are tighter.

    France had 819-line monochrome broadcast TV in the 1950s. But with the transition to color around 1960, Europe went to a uniform 625 lines. Kind of sad, but making special color TV tubes for France just wasn't worth the trouble.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mirix (1649853)
      Well, it could have been worse. They could have gone with NTSC.
      • Well, it could have been worse. They could have gone with NTSC.

        They did even better: they used SECAM, outrageous accent and all!

        ...laura

        • They did even better: they used SECAM, outrageous accent and all!

          Ah yes, the "System Engineered by a Committee of AMphibians".

  • There was me thinking the French actually delivered 3 iconic car designs, the Traction Avant, the DS and the 2CV. But I was wrong as it was an Italian that took care of these. And don't think Bugatti, which produced stunningly beautiful cars, had anything French about the design either.
    That leaves the French exclusively with absolute design mingers. (That is, if design is the correct verb for the process they use to envision cars.) In itself that's an achievement.

    Praise to Flaminio Bertoni.

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