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Television history

In the mid-1960s Don Bitzer, the director of the Coordinated Science Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, was tasked with creating the first computer-based instructional system. He recognized immediately that current screen technology would support such a program. A new, brighter display was needed, one that had no flicker and boasted higher contrast than what was then available on screens using cathode ray tubes.

In the all the recent hoopla about high-definition television, there have been some pretty astounding claims. Television manufacturers’ advertisements and marketing materials, salespeople in electronics stores, and the media (especially the technology media) have invariably described the crystal-clear quality of an HDTV picture as nearly lifelike, akin to looking through a large picture window.

UNTIL RECENTLY, RE searchers into pre-World War II television had only contemporary descriptions and blurry still photos of glowing screens to rely on. Now, however, a Scotsman named Donald F. McLean has managed to extract moving images from television signals that were recorded onto shellac phonograph disks as early as 1927—when most people were still getting used to radio.

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