There was color television in the 1970s

When the television got color

Status: 11/21/2019 11:00 a.m. | archive
"In the hope of many peaceful, colorful, but also exciting, colorful events", Willy Brandt starts German color television.

Vice Chancellor Willy Brandt stands smiling in front of cameras on August 25, 1967 on the grounds of the International Radio Exhibition in Berlin. His hand rests on a large red button. When he presses it, a new age begins. In Germany viewers can now receive television in color.

Start of color television: the button was only a dummy

The button Brandt pressed is just a dummy, however. A technical assistant behind the stage operates the real switch, but a little too early. German television is colored a few seconds before the public press a button. But only a handful of viewers notice that, because only around 6,000 households have a corresponding television set, which at the time cost 2,400 to 4,000 marks. The final breakthrough for color television in Germany was not achieved until the 1974 World Cup, which many Germans took as an opportunity to buy a color television set.

Race for the best color television

For many years, engineers in industrial research laboratories had worked on bringing colorful images onto the screen. Color television was introduced in the USA as early as 1954 - based on the NTSC standard developed there. In doing so, however, clear color errors appear again and again. Faces turn green, a meadow suddenly turns bluish. It is clear to the corporations that big business beckons if you can fix these deficiencies. The technicians are feverishly looking for a solution - also in Germany.

Walter Bruch and his employees had the goal of developing a high quality system for color transfer.

At Telefunken in Hanover, a team around engineer Walter Bruch is working on this task. The company is even setting up Bruch's own research laboratory below his private home. There he tinkers around after work and on weekends, following developments in the USA and the progress of the competing French SECAM system. Finally, he succeeds in making the breakthrough: He optimizes the process of the already known NTSC technology.

PAL becomes standard in (almost) all of Europe

On December 31, 1962, Telefunken registered it with the German Patent Office as a "color television receiver for a true-color NTSC system". In January 1963, Bruch presented his color television based on the PAL system to experts from the European Broadcasting Union. Two and a half years later, the federal government decides to use PAL for the transmission of color television. Most Western European countries join in - with the exception of France, which is introducing its own SECAM technology.

A few years will pass before color television is introduced in Germany. There are several reasons for this: On the one hand, there is a dispute over the patent, and on the other, a number of technical adjustments are necessary. The entire studio, transmission and reception systems must be converted to three-channel color technology. And the technicians must ensure that black and white devices can continue to receive PAL in the usual quality.

Phase Alternating Line (PAL)

The abbreviation PAL stands for "Phase Alternating Line" or in German phase reversal per line. The process prevents color errors in the transmission of television signals. Every second line of the image is shifted by 180 degrees to the previous one.

PAL is used in many countries in Western Europe, Asia and Africa. In France and Eastern Europe, the French SECAM (Séquentiel couleur à mémoire) technology is used, in North and Central America and Japan with NTSC (National Television Systems Committee).

Honors and awards for Walter Bruch

Walter Bruch went down in television history as Mr. PAL.

Walter Bruch has received numerous awards for his development. In 1964 the University of Hanover awarded him an honorary doctorate, in 1968 a university in Saarland an honorary professorship. In the same year Bruch received the Great Federal Cross of Merit and a street in Hanover was named after him. Critics accuse Bruch and the Telefunken Group, however, of having patented an already known technology and marketing it successfully. PAL is indeed successful - it sells in many countries and becomes the most widely used technology in the world. However, PAL no longer plays a role in digital television today.

Everything's so colorful here

On August 25, 1967, Willy Brandt started German color television at the international radio exhibition in Berlin. But with a glitch. 15 minutes

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Classic in the day | 11/21/2019 | 6:20 am