Quiz: What do you know about the history of television?
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What do you know about the history of television?
By: Maria Trimarchi
Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

The word "television" is older than television itself. It was first used at the World's Fair in Paris in 1900. Today, 99 percent of American homes have at least one television, and 65 percent have three or more. How much do you know about what's happened to television since that Paris World's Fair?

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Before cable, televisions had antennas. An antenna that set on top of the TV set was nicknamed what?

Antennas that were set on top of your TV set were known as "rabbit ears."

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Which is not a basic component of a television set?

The basic components of a basic television include a tuner to process the sound and picture, a display to see the video signal and speakers to hear the audio signal.

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What, when American inventor Philo Farnsworth demonstrated it in 1934, was called the future of television?

When American inventor Philo Farnsworth demonstrated it at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, the all-electronic television was considered the future of television. Previously, he had demonstrated it in September 1928, but it was closed to press only.

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Which presidential candidates were the first to debate live on television?

In 1960, U.S. presidential candidates John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon were the first candidates to debate live on television before the election. In 1974, Nixon also used a television broadcast to resign from his presidency.

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Were the first liquid-crystal-display (LCD) televisions introduced before or after plasma displays?

While the first LCD TVs went on sale in 1988 in the U.S., plasma displays weren't available until 1997. LCDs have had more staying power over the years, though, due to low-cost LCD competition.

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Which early TV miniseries introduced Americans to the story of Kunta Kinte?

The TV miniseries "Roots" is based on Alex Haley's 1976 novel "Roots: The Saga of an American Family." It first aired on the ABC network, premiering in January 1977, and went on to receive 37 Emmy Award nominations, of which it won nine. It also won a Golden Globe.

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What show had the most-watched series finale in the history of television?

The most-watched series finale in history isn't "The Sopranos" or "Friends," although they both were very popular. It's the finale to the show "M*A*S*H" -- an episode called, "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen" -- that attracted an audience of 105.9 million viewers on February 28, 1983.

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What sporting event is the most-watched TV broadcast?

For several years, the Super Bowl has been the most-watched sporting event nationally broadcast in the U.S.

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What type of television system did a man named Paul Gottlieb Nipkow apply for patent as long ago as 1884?

Paul Nipkow patented the concept of an electro-mechanical television system back in 1884 -- under German Patent No. 30105. The system was based on a rotating scanning-disk with a series of holes, which we now call a Nipkow disk.

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How do you measure a television?

Don't be fooled that the new 50-inch TV is 50-inches wide. Televisions are measured diagonally, from one top corner to its opposite bottom corner.

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When television programming wasn't scheduled for 24 hours a day, seven days a week, what was displayed when no program was available?

When stations didn't have television broadcasting available 24/7, they used a test-pattern screen until programming resumed.

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In 1970, American TV audiences first watched "Monday Night Football," "All My Children" and "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." Which broadcast station was also introduced that year?

The same year that "All My Children," "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and "Monday Night Football" premiered, American audiences were also introduced to the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).

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What was the first paid advertisement to air on American television?

Bulova bought the first official advertisement that appeared on American television. It aired during the Brooklyn Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies game, on New York's WNBT (which became WNBC).

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Why did the FCC stop all U.S. television broadcasting, temporarily, in 1942?

The FCC halted all American television broadcasting in 1942 because of the U.S. involvement in World War II. When DuMont, which at the time was a rival network of NBC and CBS, petitioned to resume its broadcasts, it was approved.

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What was the first national color television broadcast in the U.S.?

On New Year's Day in 1954, NBC broadcast the Tournament of Roses Parade nationally -- and in color.

16.0 of 35
Which TV show is not from the "Golden Age of Television"?

The Golden Age of Television is the 12-year period between 1948 and 1960. Variety shows were popular during this period, and those such as "Alcoa Hour," "Kraft Television Theatre," "Playhouse 90," the "U.S. Steel Hour" and "Westinghouse Studio One" were broadcast live from New York City. The sitcom "I Love Lucy" also premiered during this time (in 1951). "The Brady Bunch," though, didn't air until 1969.

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In July 1996, a TV station in North Carolina was the first in the U.S. to broadcast what kind of signal?

It was WRAL-TV in North Carolina that was the first station in the U.S. to broadcast a public high-definition television (HDTV) signal, in July 1996. HDTV sets became available to the American public in 1998.

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Which Olympic Games was first to be broadcast on television?

The 1936 Summer Olympics, held in Berlin, Germany, was the first to be televised. Twenty-five viewing rooms were erected around the city, where anyone could watch the black-and-white coverage. The event marked the first live television broadcast of a sporting event. It wasn't until the 1960 Winter Games, held in Squaw Valley, California, that the Olympic Games were broadcast in the U.S.

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Initially, what prevented people from getting their first color TV set?

In 1954, the Westinghouse color TV sold for $1,295, and the RCA CT-100, which came out just a few weeks after the Westinghouse, wasn't much cheaper, at $1,000. Only 150,000 colors sets had been sold by the end of 1957. High prices, poor reliability and small screens, along with little to no color television programming, all contributed to why TV audiences were slow to adopt the color television set.

20.0 of 35
In 1907, a man named Boris Rosing was the first to transmit what using the basics of a mechanical system: a spinning Nipkow disk, a mirror-drum and a cathode ray tube receiver?

At the turn of the 20th century, Boris Rosing was the first to transmit the silhouette images of various geometric shapes using the three basic components of a mechnical television system: a spinning Nipkow disk, a mirror-drum and a cathode ray tube receiver.

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Using a spinning Nipkow disk, part of the mechanical television system, Scottish inventor John Logie Baird was the first to transmit what kind of image, in 1926?

In what is believed to have been the first time a working electro-mechanical television system was demonstrated, in 1926 Baird transmitted a moving image with enough detail at 30-line resolution to make out a faint human face.

22.0 of 35

In 1969, television saw the first broadcast of "Sesame Street," "Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!." The live broadcast of the Apollo 11 moon landing also aired that year, attracting a worldwide audience of at least 720 million people.

23.0 of 35
What was the first television reality show?

In 1948, a new type of show premiered on ABC: the reality TV show. The premise of "Candid Camera," which was originally called "Candid Microphone," was to perform practical jokes on unsuspecting people and film their reaction.

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What was the first live network TV series to broadcast most of its episodes in color?

In 1956, "The Perry Como Show" became the first live network TV series to broadcast most of its episodes in color.

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What was the first completely wireless remote control?

If you had the first wireless remote control, the Zenith Space Command, you'd be able to turn the television set on or off, and you could change the channel. It was sold in 1956, and unlike today's infrared technology, it used ultrasonic tones to communicate with compatible sets.

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Which country was the first to have television?

The U.S. was the first country to have television, although back then it didn't look much like the TV set in your own home. Television "systems" in the '20s and '30s in the U.S. used what's known as mechanical-scanning methods, rather than the electronic-scan technology of modern-day CRT and LCD displays.

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When did the first video cassette recorders, VCRs, go on sale?

In the mid-1970s, two video cassette recorders rose to prominence among the public: the Sony Betamax, which was introduced in 1975, and VHS (short for Video Home System) in 1976.

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In 1948, three states were the first to have cable service. Which wasn't one of them?

In 1948, in-state innovation broadcasted cable channels in areas of Arkansas, Oregon and Pennsylvania.

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In 1938, DuMont Laboratories produced and sold the first all-electronic TV sets to consumers. It's the same year inventor John Logie Baird demonstrated what kind of television?

In 1938, DuMont Laboratories produced and sold the first all-electronic TV sets to consumers. And, it's the same year inventor John Logie Baird demonstrated the first color projection television to the public.

30.0 of 35
Is it true that The Beatles appeared on "The Ed Sullivan Show" the same year that "Jeopardy!" and "Gilligan's Island" premiered?

Not only did The Beatles appear on "The Ed Sullivan Show" in 1964, it was the same year several popular TV series premiered, including "Gilligan's Island" and "Jeopardy!."

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How much did the first DVD players cost when they went on sale in 1997 in the U.S.?

DVDs or Digital Video Discs (now called Digital Versatile Discs) and the hardware to play them debuted in November 1996 in Japan and in March 1997 in the U.S. Early adopters paid $1,000 or more for one of the first DVD players.

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All of these shows were first broadcast in 1954, except which one?

In 1954, the NTSC (National Television Standards Committee) set the video standards for color television shows. It's also the same year that "Father Knows Best," "Lassie," "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." as well as "Disneyland" premiered.

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Chef James Beard hosted the first network television cooking show, called what?

In 1946, you could tune in to NBC on Friday nights to watch chef James Beard host the 15-minute cooking show "I Love to Eat."

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RCA demonstrated the first all-electronic color television set in 1946. By 1972, color TV sets outsold black-and-white sets -- how many American homes had a color TV in 1972?

First demonstrated in 1946, it wasn't until 1972 when half of American homes had color sets.

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Is it true the PrestigeHD Supreme Rose TV was made from gold and diamonds?

In 2010, Stuart Hughes' luxury line included the PrestigeHD Supreme Rose TV, which sold for roughly $2.3 million. The TV, of which only three were made, was made from 61 pounds of rose gold with 72 one-carat diamond inlays.

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