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 The birth of Television Australia, great read
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 Return to top of page · Post #: 1 · Written at 6:52:11 PM on 17 October 2019.
Vintage Pete's avatar
 Location: Cromer, NSW
 Member since 1 May 2016
 Member #: 1919
 Postcount: 1049

Great Read , have a read of this story if you get the chance , It's great look back on how we use to be here,

Pete

Link rated G ,

https://nickplace.me/2013/03/08/other-writing-the-birth-of-tv-in-australia/


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 2 · Written at 10:08:54 PM on 17 October 2019.
Normf's Gravatar
 Location: Erowal Bay, NSW
 Member since 19 June 2018
 Member #: 2256
 Postcount: 78

Thanks Pete, a really great story, well worth the read.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 3 · Written at 11:33:01 PM on 17 October 2019.
Robbbert's avatar
 Location: Sydney, NSW
 Member since 18 September 2015
 Member #: 1801
 Postcount: 1068

Excellent story.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 4 · Written at 12:11:59 AM on 18 October 2019.
Brad's avatar
 Administrator
 Location: Greenwich, NSW
 Member since 15 November 2005
 Member #: 1
 Postcount: 5491

I seem to recall reading this some years ago. It's amazing how far back the Packer and Murdoch media dynasties go. Today's bigwigs in the media are Kerry Stokes and Bruce Gordon. A third was, Paul Ramsay, who once owned the regional Prime Network, though sadly he died about five or six years ago.

With all the industry's 'billionaires' of the time looking at you on opening night, I reckon the last thing anyone would have wanted to be was the chief engineer.


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A valve a day keeps the transistor away...

 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 5 · Written at 10:53:04 PM on 19 October 2019.
NewVista's avatar
 Location: MilwWI, US
 Member since 10 May 2013
 Member #: 1340
 Postcount: 595

Would like to have seen info on choosing system; article doesn't give background as to why they choose Italian TV system (big mistake); should have adopted the American system like rest of Pacific Rim.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 6 · Written at 12:03:03 AM on 20 October 2019.
GTC's avatar
 GTC
 Location: Sydney, NSW
 Member since 28 January 2011
 Member #: 823
 Postcount: 5258

should have adopted the American system like rest of Pacific Rim.

TV engineer I knew used to say:

NTSC - never twice the same colour
SECAM - something exceedingly contrary to the American method
PAL - peace at last


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 7 · Written at 9:50:41 AM on 20 October 2019.
Marcc's avatar
 Location: Wangaratta, VIC
 Member since 21 February 2009
 Member #: 438
 Postcount: 3685

I would agree with NTSC: Horrible. The interlaced system that came out of Cambridge I think? Much better. Three guys involved; got its info from two different directions and could not loose the info like NTSC and have different colours of the same mono- coloured object across the screen.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 8 · Written at 3:35:28 PM on 20 October 2019.
NewVista's avatar
 Location: MilwWI, US
 Member since 10 May 2013
 Member #: 1340
 Postcount: 595

Interestingly, the article says there was consultation with American experts, but (no surprise) the Canberra bureaucrats still managed to blow it.

Consider from an economics & business point of view: TV receivers and Broadcasting equipment would have been half price with economies-of-scale of US standard (locally assembled knockdown TVs from Japan, U.S.)

And when you consider the importance of Australian market for US programming, viewers suffered with an incompatible system. The real enemies of broadcast picture quality were 16mm film (lack of network-sourced 35mm telecine in Australia)(US networks would use 35mm masters for movies/series.) Australia also suffered even worse quality degradation due to kinephoto and earlier electronic standards conversion.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 9 · Written at 5:01:11 PM on 20 October 2019.
Brad's avatar
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 Location: Greenwich, NSW
 Member since 15 November 2005
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I doubt there was a disadvantage because no-one would have known any better at the time. Most Australian-made televisions had circuits that were based on British or European designs and adapted for local conditions even though the manufactured content was almost 100% local. Televisions at the time were prohibitively expensive and initial take-up wasn't quick.

Australia was more disadvantaged by a large country with a small population and the expense created by the need to have television stations in regional areas where everyone knew it wouldn't be profitable, which is why until 1989 there was only one commercial station in each regional viewing area and none were affiliated with a station in a capital city until after the 1989 aggregation scheme which ultimately led to the death of regional local content and screens plastered with the same rubbish that was available in capital cities.

Do bureaucrats still get things wrong? Yes. 4K televisions have been available for a long time, yet not one station in Australia broadcasts 4K and each of the five metropolitan FTA networks even only have one FHD channel each. Why? Because those who were thinking with their backsides were too stupid to allocate sufficient bandwidth for all channels to be a minimum of FHD with the prospect of UHD eventually getting the nod at some stage in the future. Personally, I think that is more of an issue going forward than their forebears selecting a 625 line system instead of a 525 line system.

If there were any issues with loss of quality during standards conversion I don't recall noticing it. Programmes such as Get Smart, Mash and Superman seemed as sharp as Blanketty Blanks, The Restless Years and Prisoner.


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A valve a day keeps the transistor away...

 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 10 · Written at 9:30:42 PM on 20 October 2019.
Robbbert's avatar
 Location: Sydney, NSW
 Member since 18 September 2015
 Member #: 1801
 Postcount: 1068

Channel 9 has 2 HD channels (90 and 95).


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 11 · Written at 12:34:22 AM on 21 October 2019.
NewVista's avatar
 Location: MilwWI, US
 Member since 10 May 2013
 Member #: 1340
 Postcount: 595

"...sufficient bandwidth for all channels..."

One local broadcaster stuffs eight sub-channels into a standard 6mhz channel assignment. These pictures are quite 'soft' in quality being 480p vertical (= ~350 lines of vert res as actual res is only ~75% the sampling) and even worse horiz res - maybe 250 lines - yielding a picture of only 100k pixels? Last night one of their channels was playing 'Casino Royale' (1954) an early US TV adaption of Fleming novel which, to make matters worse, seemed to be sourced from a 16mm print. In this, Fleming's roles are reversed: James Bond is an American agent and his co-worker Australian radio & television icon Michael Pate is a British agent!


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 12 · Written at 11:17:47 AM on 21 October 2019.
Brad's avatar
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 Location: Greenwich, NSW
 Member since 15 November 2005
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Robert, you are right. Additionally, SBS runs two and so does 7. It shows how long it has been since I've paid much attention to television.

That said, where did all these radio channels come from (I thought there was three or four) and what purpose does it serve to turn on an appliance that chews between 100W and 400W (depending on size) just to listen to content that can be heard on something that runs on batteries?

I tuned in a telly at work to see what's available now and there's 57 FTA channels, many with repeated content and most just broadcasting junk.


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A valve a day keeps the transistor away...

 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 13 · Written at 3:03:34 PM on 21 October 2019.
Ian Robertson's Gravatar
 Location: Belrose, NSW
 Member since 31 December 2015
 Member #: 1844
 Postcount: 1286

NewVista, the main reason for choosing CCIR in 1956 and not EIA was simply the local mains power frequency.
50Hz power and 60Hz pictures would have ensured that hum or noise would have always been visible.

Apart form that, there is little difference between EIA and CCIR. Just the line and frame frequencies, the higher resolution (625 lines as against 525 lines) and the sound subcarrier on 5.5MHz instead of 4.5MHz. It's quite easy to modify a US TV to work in Australia.

CCIR was slated for adoption throughout Europe and was the newest, highest performance standard that could have been chosen at the time. In my opinion the bureaucrats got it right this time. They got lots of other things wrong but not CCIR.

CCIR System B was the first internationally accepted 625-line broadcasting standard in the world.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 14 · Written at 1:21:31 AM on 22 October 2019.
NewVista's avatar
 Location: MilwWI, US
 Member since 10 May 2013
 Member #: 1340
 Postcount: 595

Am surprised to just learn that Kinephoto-process was used in early Aust television as well for archiving many shows! Then again, what else could they do: videotape was not quite available - certainly not for a fair price - (may have cost in today's money $0.5m for a 1st-gen VTR), Ampex model-1000 having a monopoly, soon to be a duopoly with RCA.

Just found out that James Bond 1954, starring our boy from Drummoyne Michael Pate, was in fact a 16mm Kinephoto! The reason why being it was a live-to-air teleplay in colour. There being no means at the time for making a hi fi video recording, so a (low res) B&W Kine' was run off for archive (and lost until 1981!) This would explain the poor picture quality I noted (compared to the resplendent colour live broadcast.) Home viewers would have only seen it on 15" screens as this was Oct 1954 and the 21" RCA 21CT55 didn't arrive until November. Another factor militating against the quality of the monochrome Kine would have been deriving Luminance signal from the RCA TK40/41 cameras, as registration errors on their triple Image-Orthicons would sap resolution from matrixed monochrome signal. Marconi in England and Fernseh in W.Germany made clones of these cameras in very limited numbers.

Edit: Just having second thoughts on how they may have derived the monochrome signal for Kine' - perhaps they (wisely) took "luminance-from-green" meaning the only ones to suffer decreased picture detail from camera registration errors would be home viewers Sad


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 15 · Written at 11:56:11 AM on 22 October 2019.
Ian Robertson's Gravatar
 Location: Belrose, NSW
 Member since 31 December 2015
 Member #: 1844
 Postcount: 1286

I believe it's been possible to extract colour from some late kines that were recorded from colour sources at the time onto B&W film...

Kinescope / Telerecording technology was quite interesting. The big problem they had was the film pull-down time, so early 24 / 25 frame kines simply blanked the alternate frames to allow time for the film to be pulled through the gate. Effectively throwing away half the vertical resolution!

When you look at the quality of some early kines, they can be surprisingly good. Queen's coronation (1952?) is a case in point. It was all a matter of how well the gear was set up.


 
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