The day the first public TV started – level 3


It is 1936 and a big competition is culminating in Britain. It’s a competition for who will provide the first regular television broadcast. The BBC has two suppliers to choose from.

One company is from the famous Scottish inventor John Logie Baird, who already thrilled the whole country 10 years ago when he was able to transfer a moving figure to the screen with a mechanical device. Against him stands EMI, which has teamed up with the famous inventor of the wireless telegraph and Nobel Prize winner, Guglielmo Marconi.

In the summer of 1936, both sides did a test broadcast, and on November 2, 1936, they went officially on the air.

EMI’s system was better, offering better resolution, and so EMI took over the broadcasting.

TV broadcasts in London were on the air for four hours daily from 1936 to 1939. There were from 12,000 to 15,000 receivers.

The start of the Second World War caused the BBC service to be suddenly stopped on September 1, 1939, at 12:35 pm, so that transmissions could not be used to guide enemy planes to London. It resumed, again on June 7, 1946 after the end of the war.

Difficult words: culminate (come together), broadcast (send a TV or a radio signal), thrill (to make excited and happy), device (a machine), go on the air (to start to send a TV or a radio signal), take over (to be in control of something), receiver (an antenna that can get a TV or a radio signal), resume (to start again).

What would have been the impact of television broadcasts had they continued uninterrupted throughout the war period in Britain?


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