German television - mid 1930s





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Published on May 28, 2009

Surviving record of mid-1930's German "Live" television. Preserved by an amateur, Horst Hewel, filming the images from the screen of a television receiver.

Electromechanical broadcasts began in Germany in 1929, but were without sound until 1934. Network electronic service started on March 22, 1935, on 180 lines using telecine transmission of film, intermediate film system, or cameras using the Nipkow Disk. Transmissions using cameras based on the iconoscope began on January 15, 1936. The Berlin Summer Olympic Games were televised, using both fully electronic iconoscope-based cameras and intermediate film cameras, to Berlin and Hamburg in August 1936. Twenty-eight public television rooms were opened for anybody who did not own a television set. The Germans had a 441-line system on the air in February 1937, and during World War II brought it to France, where they broadcast from the Eiffel Tower. The American Armed Forces Radio Network at the end of World War II, wishing to provide US TV programming to the occupation forces in Germany, used US TV receivers made to operate at 525 lines and 60 fields. US broadcast equipment was modified; they changed the vertical frequency to 50 Hz to avoid power line wiggles, changed the horizontal frequency from 15,750 Hz to 15,625 Hz a 0.5 microsecond change in the length of a line. With this signal, US TV receivers with only an adjustment to the vertical hold control had a 625 line, 50 field scan, which became the German standard.

A direct comparison can be made with this footage and that of BBC Television received in New York, also viewable on our YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SniB0.... The type of material being broadcast; dance routines, talking heads, songs at the piano, were the staple diet of the BBC Television Service during the 1936-1939 era of television.

This film footage is from the Archive Collection held by the Alexandra Palace Television Society.


Preserving the televisual past for the digital future

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