Talk:Prewar television stations

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Lengthy criteria explanation[edit]

I have removed the title "Table of Experimental Stations" from the table for several reasons.

1) First, because "experiemental" was a term used only in the United States; licenses in the U.K., Germany, France, and the U.S.S.R. were not termed experimental.

2) Second, and most importantly, because it is a distinction without a difference. Technically, the systems in used in the U.S. in the 1930s were no different from the systems in use by the BBC at the same time.

3) Third, because all U.S. television licenses were officially "experimental" before July 1941, and many licensees continued to broadcast under experiemental licenses as late as 1947, although from a technical standpoint their broadcasts were no different than those of their commercial brethren. With that noted in the introduction to the table, it is not necessary to insert for every pre-1941 station that its license was experimental.

Walloon 18:01, 17 September 2006 (UTC)

Continuity required?[edit]

If a station broadcast with mechanical tv from 1928 to 1929, say, then the same company put an experimental electronic transmitter on the air for a couple of years in the 1930's, and finally went on the air with a commercial license from 1941 to the present, their seniority would seem to date back only to the start of broadcasting with their commercial license in July 1941. The last detail would then be which station went on the air first that day with commercial operation. Fits and starts and experiments don't count. 1920's broadcasts could certainly be put forward as "First" claims, but not as "Oldest" claims, which would seem to require no gap (other than perhaps a couple of months repairing failed towers or transmitters, or brief compulsory outages for changeovers to different frequencies and standards.) WRGB may be the successor to W2XB, but it is not W2XB. In radio priority, KDKA's claim to fame is its start broadcasting with a commercial license. This sorted out hobbyists who tinkered with voice broadcasts at the beginning of the 20th century from true commercial operation. The oldest TV station would be the one which began its commercial operation first with a commercial license and continued operation to the present, allowing for changes in channel and call letters. WNBC is older, dating commercial operation from July 1, 1941. Now see who started first on July 1, 1941. Edison 13:11, 13 October 2006 (UTC)

I'd fully agree with this, and have the feeling that there's at least a little bit of an attempt going on here to steal BBC One's thunder. WRGB's web site claims it began broadcasting in January 1928 [1] but these were clearly experimental broadcasts, and the station really didn't begin until 1939. I still think BBC One has the strongest claim to being "oldest"; it broadcast regularly from 1936 using a technological standard that remained in use for another 49 years, and anyone who wanted to could buy a television set to watch (and its cessation of broadcasting during the war was beyond its control, not due to technical problems or lack of demand). After all, if the BBC wanted to stretch their history back a little bit, they could point to their mechanical transmissions, as listed here, going back to 1929, or even claim to be a "successor" to the Baird experimental broadcasts of 1924; it would be as credible as some of the other claims here. But yes, this should probably be "Early television stations."  ProhibitOnions  (T) 15:06, 13 October 2006 (UTC)
I have read that BBC TV was off the air during World War 2. I read that in fact when they returned to the air after the war one station resumed the same cartoon they had been running when they shut down at the beginning. A number of U.S stations kept a weekly schedule broadcast during the war to maintain their license for after the war. A shutdown of 5 years or so by the BBC would seem to make the U.S. stations on since 1941 the "oldest" in the sense I discussed above if not the "first." Edison 21:20, 13 October 2006 (UTC)
For Edison: read the article on BBC One. They finished the cartoon in 1939, then did some test patterns, then left the air. When they resumed in 1946, there were a few announcements, then the cartoon ran again from the beginning. For ProhibitOnions: There were no Baird "broadcasts" in 1924. Keep in mind the definition of the word "broadcast". By definition, it does not include closed circuit transmission.
I strongly disagree with defining television stations by whether they had a commercial license. That is an artificial distinction. NBC's New York television station was on the air sporadically from 1937 and continuously from April 1939, with a minimum of 15 hours of programming per week. It did not suddenly go on the air when it got its commercial license on July 1941. And the BBC has never had a commercial license. Does that disqualify it? Of course not. The term "experimental license" does not tell you what technical system the station ran under — some stations ran under experimental licenses as late as 1947, using the same NTSC standards as commercially licensed stations. It does not tell you how many hours of programming the station had on the air per week. It does not tell you the content of the programming. All it tells you is that the programming did not have commercials. — Walloon 02:20, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
Walloon, I know perfectly well that Baird wasn't "broadcasting" in 1924. However, WRGB, claims to have begun "broadcasting" in 1928 when what it was doing was little more than what Baird had done four years earlier; ie, sending a signal to another room, or by radio waves (Baird tried this quite early on). There was a grand total of four receivers at W2XB, all of which belonged to the station. My point was that WRGB is stretching the truth in order to claim to be the "first television station" (as several others do). The genuine continuity between experiemental broadcasters and later commercial croadcasters is also an important question. Yes, the FCC defined everything as experimental before 1941. However, as there were only a few hundred sets in use in the US in 1939 [2] this is not an inaccurate description of the state of affairs for most of that time. Remember, also, that the U.S. was the only country to have commercial TV from the beginning, so the situation was a little different than that in other countries (although plenty of non-US stations were also described as experimental), and I would agree that FCC status should not be the deciding factor; however, a start date of 1939, when electronic sets began to be sold commercially, seems to be the most accepted date for genuine television service in the modern sense in the U.S.
Edison, Walloon is right about the shutdown of the BBC in 1939. There are some pervasive legends surrounding this event (it was not shut down in the middle of the cartoon; the cartoon was not the first thing broadcast in 1946, it was shown 20 minutes after startup; the first words upon reopening were not "Before I was so rudely interrupted" but Jasmine Bligh re-introducing herself). It's sometimes speculated that TV should have stayed on the air during the war for, essentially, propaganda purposes, but with a viewership in late 1939 of just over 100,000 this would have been hard to justify, as the transmitter would have provided German aircraft with an excellent locational beacon. Even if there been many more sets, this would probably still have been the case, as the technology for outside broadcasts was not yet terribly robust and the signal could not be recorded except on film, whereas radio and film and newsreels already reached everyone.  ProhibitOnions  (T) 08:19, 14 October 2006 (UTC)

Baird 2TV[edit]

In London The Baird company as well as sharing BBC facilities (2LO) also made its own broadcast (initially illegally but later under special licence as 2TV) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:39, 23 July 2010 (UTC)


☺ England is not a country. ☺ England must not be used in place of The UK and/or Britain. This is an arrogant (usually American) mistake.

The BBC was referred to in the article as being in London England

England has not existed since 1707 and the Act Of Union when the Kingdom of England (including Wales) and the Kingdom of Scotland Merged.

I Have Therefore Changed It To The Correct Form --Lemonade100 (talk) 18:03, 6 November 2008 (GMT)

Italy, Netherlands, Vatican[edit]

Didnt prewar TV experiments take place in these countries as well ? (talk) 14:08, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

Outdated information?[edit]

The article is full of statements that various US TV stations are presently broadcasting on various VHF channels. There was a switch from analog to digital broadcasting in June 2009. The article states that WMAQ is "currently" broadcasting on "VHF channel 5," but the WMAQ-TV article says it is now on "UHF channel 29 (virtual channel 5.1 via PSIP)." Edison (talk) 16:16, 11 December 2012 (UTC)