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Discussion in 'The OT' started by SayWhat?, Nov 15, 2010.
At its inception, the CBS color TV system was doomed to failure. It was incompatible with the black and white television system, requiring new receivers. Being a field sequential system, it initially depended on a spinning color wheel or drum, having segments of red, blue and green. In order to have color purity, the color wheel had to be synchronized with the source.
The public and the other TV networks reacted angrily. Industry pressure forced the FCC to backtrack and adopt the (fundamentally dot sequential) system devised by the National Television Standards Committee (NTSC) - essentially the system developed by RCA.
It is also interesting since in many ways the non-adopted color system would have produced a superior picture at the time. I'm not saying it wasn't without problems... not the least of which would be requiring people to get entirely new TVs... but the picture quality would have been much improved.
(For clarity... what I mean by "buy new TVs"... Of course anyone who wants color would need to buy a new color TV... but with the non-adopted system, black & white TVs would have been out in the cold too and forced to buy a new TV... whereas with the system they ultimately adopted, black & white TVs continued to function just fine so you only had to buy a new TV if you wanted color.)
Sometimes technology gets in its own ways... and people have a hard time letting go to backwards-compatibility for the sake of a bigger leap forward. Of course it is also true that the economy dictates what people are willing to spend as well.
Real tragedy - Look at what the AM world did to try to kill FM in its early days.
The history of broadcast regulation in the USA, both at the national (networks) level and even more so at the local level (individual stations) is, sad to say, one of regulatory capture. Of businesses and individuals using regulations, and most often delay things, so they could make windfall profits.
The most infamous of these, but hardly to only one, is the FCC's "freeze" on issuing TV liscenses in the 50s. It was for no reason than to provide a period of windfall profits to the current liscensees. There was no reason that every city in the USA could not have simply had four TV stations up and running in the very early 50s, other than greed.
"all you need to do is" google David Sarnoff [RCA] and you'll find the source of most of the early "problems".