April 30 – In the United States the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approves the National Television System Committee (NTSC) standards of 525 lines and 30 frames per second, and authorizes commercial television broadcasting to begin on July 1.
NBC television begins commercial operation by its affiliate WNBT using channel 1. The world's first legal television commercial advertisement, for Bulova watches, airs at 2:29 PM on WNBT before a baseball game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies. An announcement for Bulova watches, for which the company paid anywhere from $4.00 to $9.00 (reports vary), displayed a WNBT test pattern modified to look like a clock with the hands showing the time. The Bulova logo, with the phrase "Bulova Watch Time", was shown in the lower right-hand quadrant of the test pattern while the second hand swept around the dial for one minute 
As a one-off special, the first quiz show called "Uncle Bee" was telecast on WNBT's inaugural broadcast day, followed later the same day by Ralph Edwards hosting the second game show broadcast on United States television, Truth or Consequences, as simulcast by radio and TV and sponsored by Ivory soap. Weekly broadcasts of the show commenced during 1956, with Bob Barker.
December 7 – WNBT broadcasts special news report concerning the Pearl Harbor attack, pre-empting regular programming, a New York Rangersice hockey game. WCBW also broadcasts a special that evening, from their Grand Central Station studios.