Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Non Black-and-White TV of Tomorrow

You can see how proud this suburban couple is about their colour TV of Tomorrow (from the cartoon of the same name).

However, as narrator Paul Frees notes, it’s only half paid-for. I like the sunlight glare on the TV screen here.

The cartoon was in development during the middle of a battle between CBS and NBC over colour TV. CBS developed a colour system that was approved by US government regulators in September 1950, and which NBC (RCA, the parent company, made TV sets) tried to keep off the market because sets that it used couldn’t show black-and-white programmes (made by NBC). To make a long story short, a new kind of colour technology (compatible colour) was approved by the FCC in 1953 (sorry CBS), though colour programming didn’t really become the norm until the mid-‘60s.


  1. And CBS, sulking, refused to go full colour until some years after NBC.

    1. I never thought about it, E.O. But we didn't have a colour set until about 1970.

  2. It wasn't merely a matter of compatibility with B&W sets. The CBS system used a spinning color wheel, which would have eventually been reduced in size and perhaps eliminated. The RCA/NBC forces attacked this, bringing to their presentation for NTSC a huge prop meant to represent the CBS color wheel, implying that it would fly to pieces while spinning at high speeds and viewers would be injured by shrapnel from the wheel.
    Some who saw both color systems during early tests preferred the CBS picture quality; one of those early viewers stated that the RCA system "scattered color like a crazed Van Gogh."
    Many local stations did not invest in the expensive transition to color broadcasting until the mid-late '60s. CBS waited till non-RCA color equipment became available (such as Norelco cameras).