The Evolution of TV

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TV Broadcasting Begins

1947   Broadcast drama series “Kane-no Naruoka (A hill where bell rings)” begins.
1948 NHK’s first post-war public TV experiment
1949 Broadcast of “Tonchi Kyoshitsu (Witty Classroom)” starts.
1949 Radio relay broadcast of U.S. National Swimming Championship from Los Angeles
1950 Sony test manufactures tape recorder.
1950 First post-war regular public TV broadcast experiment
1953 NHK commences TV broadcasting (February 1).
1953 Nippon TV Network Corporation (NTV) begins TV broadcasting (August 28).
1959 NHK Tokyo creates Educational TV channel (January 10).
NHK began regular TV broadcasting on February 1, 1953, followed by Nippon Television Network Corporation (NTV) on August 28 of the same year. Although at the beginning there was only one TV studio that could be used exclusively by NHK, all the broadcasting equipment except an image-orthicon were domestically manufactured, based on the designs of the NHK Science and Technical Research Laboratories.

1953 NHK Begins TV Broadcasting with Its Independently Developed Technologies

TV Broadcasting Starts
In June 1948, NHK conducted Japan’s first post-war public TV broadcasting experiment. In February 1950, it established an experimental TV station at the Science & Technical Research Laboratories, from which originated a regular 3-hour a day, once a week experimental radio transmission beginning in November.
Regular TV broadcasting by NHK commenced on February 1, 1953. Although at the beginning there was only one TV studio that could be exclusively used by NHK, all the broadcasting equipment for broadcasting except the image-orthicon were domestically manufactured according to the designs of the NHK Science and Technical Research Laboratories.
Thus, TV broadcasting began, 23 years after NHK began its first television experiments and approximately 30 years from the start of Takayanagi’s TV research.
The number of receiving contracts on the opening day of regular broadcasts was 866, among which 664 were in Tokyo. 482 of these viewers were amateur radio operators using handmade TV receiving sets.

Appearance of Commercial TV Broadcasters

From its beginning, the TV broadcasting culture of Japan has been one where NHK and commercial broadcasters coexist. Matsutaro Shoriki announced his plan for the Nippon TV Network Corporation to become the first commercial broadcaster in 1951. The plan included the establishment of large-scale commercial broadcasting networks. It called for financial backing from the United States, as well as the introduction of the latest U.S. technologies and facilities. Other commercial broadcasters soon followed in applying for TV broadcasting station licenses. The first to commence regular TV broadcasting was the Nippon TV Network Corporation, on August 28, 1953.
The expensiveness of the TV set initially delayed its diffusion. To overcome this problem, TV sets were installed in downtown areas, railway stations, and parks. They attracted large crowds of people excited about being able to watch professional wrestling and boxing.

TV Unites the Nation

NHK completed its own microwave network servicing Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka in 1953. The network was later maintained by the Nippon Denshin Denwa corp. (later NTT), and major cities from Sapporo to Fukuoka were connected by 1956. Economic development in Japan and a reduction in the price of TV sets quickly made the television one of the three most treasured possessions in peoples’ homes, along with the electric refrigerator and the electric washing machine. TV broadcasters began to create a variety of programs, from news and documentaries, to educational programs and dramas. TV was rapidly becoming popular.
1959 was the year of the wedding of the Crown Prince of Japan. The number of black-and-white TV sets quickly exceeded 2 million, as people purchased them to watch the event on TV. This important event helped people to recognize the value of television, leading to a period of rapid diffusion of the new media.

1. Commercial TV broadcasters
2. Appearance of the VCR: stop time, record images
3. NHK establishes microwave network connecting Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka

‘On the Street’ TV set: diffusion of TV had been hampered by the high price of receivers.

NHK Tokyo Television begins operation (1953)

The Crown Prince’s wedding (1959)

NHK Tokyo opens Educational TV channel (1959)

Public Television experiment (1950)


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