TOP PAGE > P8 NHK STRL Established:Full-scale TV Research Commences

NHK STRL Established:
Full-scale TV Research

1930  Zworykin applies for a patent for an "image transmission device by storage system" (iconoscope tube principle patent) (May 1930)
1930 NHK STRL established, full-scale TV studies commence (June 1930)
1930 Kenjiro Takayanagi applies for a patent for "television image transmission device using integral equation" (December 1930)
1932 BBC launches experimental TV station
1933 Zworykin invents image pickup tube iconoscope
1935 World's first regular broadcasting begins in Germany

NHK established the NHK Technical Research Laboratories (hereafter known as STRL) in Tokyo in June 1930. There were 16 people on the original research staff. In 1937, Tokyo was named the host city of the 1940 Olympic Games. The Games were scheduled for September 1940, and plans were put into motion for the TV relay broadcast of the event just three years away.

1930 The First Sixteen Gather in Kinuta

NHK Technical Research Laboratories Established: Commencement of Television Research

Kinuta village in Setagaya, Tokyo, was the site chosen for Nippon Hoso Kyokai's (NHK) Technical Research Laboratories (STRL). In June 1930, just five years after the first radio broadcast in Japan, STRL's staff of 16, including Director-General Yoshihiko Takada, began research on television broadcasting.
In 1937, Tokyo was named the host city of the 1940 Olympic Games, with NHK to do a TV relay broadcast of the event. After thorough examination of the systems that NHK had previously experimented with, including the Waseda University system and the Hamamatsu Industrial High School system, STRL decided on the Hamamatsu Industrial High School's electric TV system.

The first group from Hamamatsu Industrial High School, including engineers Yamashita, Ishino, and others, had joined the STRL staff in September 1936, working with STRL researchers such as Kingo Nakanishi on the design and establishment of research facilities. In August 1937, Hamamatsu Industrial High School finished assembly of four "TV automobiles" (one vehicle each for imaging, video transmission, sound transmission, and image reception). With the arrival of these vehicles came the addition of 10 new engineers, bringing the total number of STRL staff to 89 by the end of 1937.

100-meter Steel Antenna Tower

100-meter Steel Antenna Tower

The TV research facilities in 1937 were comprised of TV building No. 1, a transformer room, a garage for the TV automobiles, and an air-conditioned studio facility. A full-scale research system for television was completed in 1938 with the establishment of TV building No. 2 and a 100-meter high self-supporting triangular steel tower with transmitting antenna. Kinuta had become a bona fide TV research base, with an experimental studio, the latest facilities, and an antenna tower capable of broadcasting across Tokyo.

With their framework in place, STRL began working on technology based on Hamamatsu Industrial High School's imaging tube research. Development of a prototype iconoscope began in January 1938, with a standard prototype completed in June of that same year.

Studies on a receiving set had begun in 1937. Research continued on white phosphor, its coating on the screen, and expansion of screen, leading to the creation of the first 23-centimeter receiving tube with white phosphor screen in Japan.

Achieving the World Standard

The new Broadcasting Hall located in Uchisaiwai-cho, Tokyo, was completed on May 13, 1939. To commemorate the completion, an experimental TV signal was transmitted from STRL to the Hall 13 km away. This marked the first public television experiment using radio waves in Japan. By this time, Japanese television technology had caught up with the rest of the world. By 1940, the number of STRL staff members had risen to 266, following successive expansions of the project.