Murray Otto Bolen.

Fundamentals of television online

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From the collection of the




i a



San Francisco, California

Fundamentals of





Copyright, 1950 by


8820 Sunset Blvd.
Hollywood 46, Calif.

No part of this book may be reproduced in
any form without the written permission of
the publishers except for brief excerpts used
in connection with a review in newspapers or

First Edition



to my sweetheart Millie

who, besides being a wonderful wife

and Mother, took the time to type this.

with love



The author gratefully acknowledges the wonderful cooperation and
assistance offered by the Radio Corporation of America, the National
Broadcasting Company and Station KNBH, the Columbia Broadcast-
ing System and Station KTTV, Paramount Television Production, Inc.
and Station KTLA, Station KLAC-TV, the Philco Corporation, Five
Star Productions of Hollywood, George Burtt and Advertising Con-
sultants, Harry Lubke of Station KTSL, and Stokey-Ebert Productions,
in assembling what is contained herein and for supplying photographs
and material which made the assembly possible.

I am indebted also for permission to quote Mr. Hal E. Roach Jr.,
Mr. Donn Tatum, Mr. Mike Stokey. Mr. Hal Sawyer, Mr. Harry
McMahan, Mr. Tom Hutchinson and Mr. Phil Booth.

A special thanks too, to Gordon Wright of KTLA and R. Alan
McCormack of Station KCBS, and to my dear friend Maristan Chap-
man, who patiently read and re-read the pages that follow.

All points of view expressed and the interpretations of fact and
attitude given herein are the author's own, unless otherwise indicated.

M. B.





I. In The Beginning 1

II. Transmitting Television 9

Transmission channels Wave characteristics Antennas Kilo-
cycles, Megacycles Line-of-sight Reflection.

III. Creating The Picture 18

Co-axial cable as transmission line The Micro-wave Link-Para-
bolic Antennas The Mobile Unit At the Baseball Game.

IV. The Studio and It's Facilities 34

Size - - Acoustics Air conditioning Audience Viewing -
Film Projection Booth The Brain Control Room.

V. The Television Camera 43

Scanning The Camera Tube The Mosaic Physical Aspects

Pedestals, Dollys Cables - Camera Lenses - Zoomar
Mr. Cameraman.

VI The Television Receiver 60

Antennas Characteristics Signal Transmission To The Receiver

- Impedance The Receiver Itself - - Block Diagram - - The

Kinescope Cathode Ray Tubes Physical Aspects Controls

Projection Receiving Guides Maladjustments Patterns.


VII. Studio Practice 82

Terminology Facilities For A Show Art Lighting Light
Control Other Considerations Microphones.

VIII. The Announcer In Television 103

Staff Announcer Duties Ad-Libbing Angles Practice
Live Shows The Dramatic Commercial - - The Free-lance An-
nouncer In The Limelight Dress - Physical Appearance

IX. The Actor In Television 121

Decorum Rules of Thumb Dress and Makeup The Special-
ized Actor.

X. The Director In Television 132

Mr. Full-Charge Staff or Freelance - First Problems First -
Blocking Out A Script - - First Rehearsal - - Camera and Dress
Rehearsal Control Room Procedure - - Timing - Cuttings -
Ready For Dress - - Curtain Time - - Remotes - - Other Con-

XI. The Writer In Television 156

Adapters Form Rights Where From? From The Stage?
From Motion Pictures? From Radio? Costs Program
Creation Whodunit - - Armchair Detective Writing The
Commercial Message The Integrated Commercial Minute
Movies Designing the Video Commercial.

XII. The Film In Television 188

Film Programming Immediacy Future Program Types
Video Film Commercial Costs Do's and Don'ts For Com-
mercials Comparisons - - Unions - - Other Considerations
Kinescoped Programs Other Film Uses.


XIII. Station Ownership 205

Channel Applications Basic Equipment Costs Operating Costs
- Laws and Legal Problems Copyright Rights of Privacy
Mechanical License Other Rights.

XIV. Television Networks 221

Co-axial Net Micro-wave Relay Links Regional Net Strato-
vision Programming ^ Problems Affiliated Station Programming

XV. Television In The Theatre 234

FCC Public Events Economics Sports Live Drama.

XVI. Television In Education 241

The Cooking School For The Kids For Everyone Advan-
tages - - Public School - - Medicine - - Industrial Television
Other Applications.

XVII. Television As a Vocation 250

Receiver Service Station Technical Staffs Studio Staffs
Actors and Personnel.

XVIII. A Look In The Crystal Ball 257

Color Television Studio and Camera Techniques Education
Radio vs TV Employment Phonevision Musicians
Development of Other Spectrums FM Video.

Glossary 271


Television has come "around the corner." It's here with
such a clatter that it will no doubt remain to become one of
our greatest entertainment mediums. In this book there is
enlightenment for station owner, performer, engineer, and
the miscellaneous curious souls including the bulk of man-
kind whose interest is in listening-viewing television.

Just as food cannot be digested without mastication, so
ideas cannot be assimilated without having been thought over
and understood. The author devoutly hopes that the reader
will find herein enough thought-provoking information to
give him the urge for further research and thought. Tele-
vision is a pretty complex affair when one considers it in
all facets. So, in these following pages, we have made an
effort to be lucid, brief, informative, and interesting. We
have tried to avoid technical terms that may be omitted with-
out damage to the real meanings. We have tried to give
enough to make ourselves clear, and, at the same time, not
to become boring with detail.

Television cannot become mastered by the reading of
this book. However, you will find sufficient information here
to equip yourself for a good start in this great new enter-
tainment medium. At least, you will have some conception
of "what-goes-on" and be rewarded by a clearer outlook into
the whole intriguing business.

History is repeating itself. Within this generation, we
have seen the rise of radio broadcasting as an entertainment
medium and as an industry. We have every reason to be-
lieve that television will follow its path. Everyone shares
a responsibility in the future; but this responsibility can
materialize into a constructive effort only if we understand
the basic facts.

The writer hopes that such an understanding will be the
reward for whatever effort is imposed on the reader.

M. B.


A diligent search of all available sources does not dis-
close the exact date that someone, or anyone, contributed
anything tangible to what we now call television. We do
know that for ages people dreamed and talked of seeing
things through the air from remote places. Quotations of
such thinkings may be found even in the Bible.

What this writer believes to be the first recorded de-
velopment that bears on television transmission and recep-
tion under the system as we do it today was contributed by
a scientist named Becquerel in the year 1839. His discovery
did not lead directly to television, nor was anything done
in the direction of television then; but he discovered the
electro-chemical effect of light. As nearly as we know,
Becquerel made no use of this discovery, or, if he did, its
use was not recorded for posterity.

In 1873 a telegraph operator named May observed an
electrical effect while using some resistors which were made
of the metal selenium. May noticed that, when the sun
shone on the resistors, a photo-electric effect could be ob-
served by the erratic and unstable behavior of his instru-
ments. This erratic effect was tracked down and found to
be caused by the fact that the resistors, when exposed to
the sun, measured an actual change in resistance value. It
was thus that an announcement was recorded that the min-
eral selenium, was surely electro-chemically active under light.

For several years to follow, numerous scientists put forth
assorted schemes that speculated with the idea of transmit-
ting distant scenes by electricity, using the electrical action


of selenium as a basis for transmission. In 1877 Senlecq
proposed a rather crude scheme for television using what
we now call a "mosaic", plus the selenium, as a basis. Too,
a German named Nipkow took out a patent in 1884 which
brought to light the "scanning disc" in conjunction with a
cell employing selenium. His scanning disc consisted of a
round metal disc with a series of holes so arranged that,
starting from the outside edge, they traveled in an eccentric
circle path until this path ended 48 holes later and an inch
nearer the center of the disc. His receiver, although ingenious,
was lacking in amplification. So no real results were ob-

The cathode-ray tube actually came into being as early
as 1859, when laboratory tests and experiments were made
by discharging an electrical charge in a vacuum. In that
year, a scientist gave the name "cathode-ray" to the dis-
charge from the cathode element of a vacuum tube when a
high value of electrical energy was applied to another ele-
ment also in the vacuum. It was later demonstrated that
this discharge produced fluorescence of the glass walls of
the tube upon impact. This fluorescence was due to bom-
bardment by particles of electricity, which by 1890 were
termed "electrons." The original tube was developed by
Braun and Wehnelt, and in 1897 was revamped by Braun
alone and called, after him, the Braun tube. The revamp-
ing brought about some control of the electron stream and
made it visible at the point of impact if the stream was di-
rected up the tube and struck a mica screen which was
coated with fluorescent material.

In 1905 Wehnelt again contributed by adding a device
to the cathode element of the tube which focused the beam
to a narrower stream and increased the emission of electrons
even though much lower voltage was applied to the plate
element. This also gave greater brilliance to the fluorescent
spot and greatly increased the reflection sensitivity of the tube.


In 1907 a patent was asked for and granted to one
Boris Rosing for a system of television. This system made
use of the fact that, due to some experiments made by Ryan,
an electron beam could be deflected and bent by the use of
magnetic coils placed around the neck of a cathode-ray tube.

Rosing' s system transmitted the pulses of the photocell
tube as others had done, and he used two mirrored drums,
revolving at right angles to one another, to "scan" the
image in place of the former scanning disc. When received,
these pulses were used to charge, electrically, two plates in
the cathode tube. These fluctuating charges caused the elec-
tron beam of the tube to be deflected away from an aperture
placed in front in more or less amounts. Thus, the effect to
the eye examining the aperture was a variation in light and
shade corresponding to the original scene.

Satisfactory results in the way of a good, readable pic-
ture were never attained with this apparatus; but it was the
first real ingenious application of the cathode tube to tele-
vision. It failed only because there was, as yet, no way of
amplifying signals.

Not long after this, in 1911, Campbell Swinton con-
ceived the idea of a system whereby a cathode tube was
used at each end one to transmit the picture and the other
to receive it. His system was so basically like the one which
we use today that it deserves special mention when chronicling
events in television even though it was not made real use of
until years later.

Swinton conceived a mosaic screen made up of photo-
electric elements which were to be part of a specially con-
structed cathode ray tube. The image to be transmitted was
to be projected on the mosaic through a lens, and the back
of the mosaic was to be scanned by a beam of cathode-ray
electrons controlled by the currents from two alternating
current generators. The beam in the receiver tube was syn-
chronized, or kept in step with that in the transmitter, by


means of deflecting coils connected to the same generators
as the transmitter, and a wire connector carried the photo-
electric currents for modulating the receiver beam.

Again, because there was no such thing as the present
amplifying vacuum tube later to be developed by Dr. Lee
Deforest, this great conception was never tried in practice.
At least, no results are recorded.

In all experiments thus far, no transmission had been
attempted through the air. Tests were all made with the
signal being transported by a direct connector or conductor.
In short, there was as yet no radio. So we must pause here
in picture development to record the other portion of tele-
vision as we know it today.

Experiments in wireless had been going on since 1887.
A German physicist, Heinrich Hertz, was finding out how
to propel an electromagnetic wave through the air by the
use of a spark gap and coils. Because of Hertz, Guglielmo
Marconi, a half -Italian, half -Irish youth, in 1896 took out
wireless patents in England, and, with British backing, he
formed the first great company for wireless signaling, and
by 1899 was really in business.

Meantime "ham" (amateur) operators were springing up
and signaling around the country by use of the spark gap
and Marconi principles. By 1904, we begin to hear from
Dr. Lee DeForest in this field, until by 1910, he was ex-
perimenting with voice transmission by wireless. Actually, in
1906, a more or less amateur operator, Reginald Fessenden,
a Canadian, startled hams and commercial operators by send-
ing out human voice and sounds of musical instruments over
the air.

The public paid very little, if any, attention to all this
until 1912. In that year the use of wireless failed to save
the passengers aboard the Titanic when it rammed an ice-
berg in the Atlantic. From that time, governments here and
abroad aided the development of intercommunication by wire-


less although there was considerable big-business bickering
for routes and control.

By the end of World War I, the advent of the vacuum
tube was creating a change in the method of transmission
of wireless signaling. The tube was made to oscillate and,
thus, emit a "carrier" wave. When controlled by a key, this
wave could be broken into the dots and dashes of the
Morse code. This type, also, had sundry other important ad-
vantages over the spark and arc type wave. Emphasis must
be put upon the fact that Dr. Lee DeForest and others were,
at the same time, uncovering ways and means to "modulate"
the carrier generated by the vacuum tube with a signal or
pulse, including voice.

So it was that the Westinghouse experimental station
8XK started broadcasting test music and voice and in 1921-22
became KDKA, a commercial broadcasting station.

The carrier system of broadcasting provided a roadway
on which any signal could be imposed as modulation. So
here we have the other part of present day TV the method
to transport the picture through the air.

The next developments in television considered chrono-
logically, take us to 1924 and back to the scanning disc and
other mechanical devices. In this year, two men, each work-
ing independently, succeeded in transmitting to a receiver a
crude picture that was at least viewable. These two men were
J. L. Baird of England and C. F. Jenkins of the U. S.
Neither one contributed anything startlingly new to the art,
but their experiments did cause a flurry of research, experi-
ments, and some progress for the next several years. Most
all experiments were improvements of the mechanical de-
vices mentioned earlier. The holes in the scanning discs were
replaced by lenses and mirrors. Variations in methods of
scanning were tried with rotating drums of mirrors and
lenses. All methods remained in the mechanical category
and stayed that way. By 1931, the best that could be had


was a picture which consisted of only 60 lines and 20 pic-
tures per second. This made a "poor detail" picture with
lots of flicker present.

Meantime, Dr. Lee DeForest, along with his wireless
experiments, had come up with the vacuum tube triode
which could be used to strengthen electrical impulses and
build up the weak output of a received signal to a point
where it was much easier to make it perform. In short, it
was possible to amplify a signal electronically. This had a
tendency to turn the laboratory experimenters' thoughts back
again to previous experiments with cathode-ray tube systems
which had failed for the lack of amplifiers.

By 1933, Philo Farnsworth working in San Francisco, and
Zworykin of RCA each came up with methods of transmit-
ting and receiving a TV picture by all electronic methods.
Actually in 1931, the Don Lee System in Hollywood went
on the air on a one hour-per-day, six-day s-a-week basis em-
ploying all electronic systems. Their transmitter, engineered
by Harry L. Lubke a former associate of Farnsworth, put out
a picture of some 300 lines at 20 frames and claims the dis-
tinction of being the country's first television station.

Meantime, such notables as Ives of AT&T, Alexander-
son of G.E., Goldsmith of RCA, and Goldmark of CBS
were making improvements in the laboratory. By 1935, a
standard for transmission was 441 lines which figure was
raised in 1940 to 525 lines at 30 frames. This is the standard

RCA and Farnsworth settled their differences in court,
and this left the receiving set manufacturers with something
definite in the way of a standard to go by. Finally in 1939,
TV emerged from the laboratory stage, and NBC went on
the air with a regular schedule of programming. The bulky
receiving disc and equipment had been discarded. Electronic-
principle receivers were manufactured and sold, and the gen-
eral public began to take an interest even though receivers


were quite expensive. Cartoon pictures, March of Time, and
an occasional live drama were the viewer's fare. Lubke, in
California with W6XAO, the experimental Don Lee station,
used serial films interspersed with Easter services, Rose Parade,
and first wrestling and boxing pick-ups to maintain his schedule.

As Dumont and other stations got on the air, an occa-
sional sponsor, looking well into the future, put in a little
money to try TV as an advertising medium. Such far-sighted
people as Lever Brothers Company, for instance, released pro-
gram material with one of their soaps dramatized in a
"commercial" to the viewing public. It is very doubtful
that they received a commensurate amount of advertising for
their dollar for receivers were few and far between. The
action was, then, mostly institutional on the sponsor's part
and continued even through World War II, which intervened
to put further technical and commercial advancement at prac-
tically a standstill. Manufacturers put all their resources into
the development of radar and other electronic equipment for
war use. Considerable experimentation went on in all labora-
tories in the general field, however, and, as a result of this re-
search, we emerged from the war ready to develop television
broadcasting as we now know it at a rapid pace.

Manufacturers who had been making electronic war ma-
chines were rapidly geared to switch over to the manufacture
of receivers, cathode-ray tubes, sensitive circuits in special
amplifiers, and other television equipment. Receivers could
be put out on an assembly line basis, and through knowledge
gained in radar, guided missies, and ultra-high frequency ex-
perimentation during the war, transmitters were re-designed
for more efficient circuits and antennas.

Only one other development had to be settled to bring
us up to date. Dr. Peter Goldmark, of the Columbia
Broadcasting System, had been experimenting extensively with
television in color, and CBS applied to the Federal Commun-
ications Commission for permission to transmit TV in color.


They further suggested that color transmission be made the
standard for all picture transmission. Obviously, this point
had to be settled; for adoption of color at this time meant
that, for the most part, receivers already existent would be-
come obsolete immediately. The situation was thoroughly
explored by a Radio Technical Planning Board in 1944, and
their findings were confirmed by the FCC in January of
1945, at which time they ruled that color TV would be
put on the shelf until such time as the knowledge of the
art indicated that the public was ready to absorb it. In
other words, they implied that we had better get completely
developed in black and white transmission before tackling
color. We will dwell more on this in the very last chapter
of this book as we take a squint "in the crystal ball".


The transmission of the television program is very closely
allied to radio. This is natural because, as we have seen in
Chapter I, the radio carrier wave is the means of transpor-
tation for an audible signal. It is, likewise, the method of
transportation for "video" or picture information, which is
broadcast in the form of a composite signal.

Under any such system, a signal originates by impressing
the diaphram of a microphone with sound, or it originates
by creating a pulse signal. At any rate, the originated signal
is amplified by a series of vacuum-tube amplifiers and sent
over a good quality telephone line ("loop"), or other con-
ductor, to the transmitter. It is then further amplified to such
a strength that, when it is impinged upon the carrier wave
being generated by the transmitter, it is potent enough to
swing or otherwise change the character of the carrier so
that the carrier will be "modulated".

Television transmission differs from radio transmission in-
as-much as it requires the use of not one but two transmitters
to transmit the complete television program. One transmitter
carries the audio (voice) portion of the program, and the
other carries the video (picture) portion. These two trans-
mitters work as a closely allied team, and the audio trans-
mitter functions very much the same as does our normal
radio broadcasting transmitter except that the modulation
principle employed in television sound is referred to as "FM"
or frequency modulation.

The video transmitter functions exactly the way a normal
radio broadcast transmitter does even to employing "AM"


amplitude modulation but presents a much more complex
problem than either radio transmission or television sound

The complexities arise mainly from the fact that in picture
transmissions a very broad band of frequencies must be re-
leased, three to four MEGacycles for the picture as against a
mere 200 KILOcycles for the sound. Also, for picture trans-
mission, several elements or components must be added to the
picture information so that it can be unscrambled and re-
assembled at the receiver end to become a picture.

The camera, where the original pulse to be transmitted
originates, views the scene with a lens and a camera tube (to
be described later) and divides the scene or object viewed into
thousands of elements. The camera components convert the
amount of light in each element into an equivalent electrical
potential, or pulse. The sequence in which the elements are
selected, or scanned, is determined by an electronic timing
circuit which is associated with the camera controls. The re-
sulting video signal is then amplified and combined in the
video line amplifier with synchronizing pulses supplied by the
timing circuit. The combined signal now contains all com-
ponents necessary to reconstruct the original scene or picture
when it is picked up by the receiver, which makes use of some-
what analagous electronic circuits. This composite signal, which
now contains the camera information plus sync pulses and
blanking, is further amplified as with sound transmission to
such a strength that it can properly modulate the carrier wave
of the video transmitter. When impinged on the carrier, it is
ready for transmission, via a transmission line, to the antenna

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Online LibraryMurray Otto BolenFundamentals of television → online text (page 1 of 18)