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The origins of television
The basic principle of television is a little like that of film and works because of the way we see. When we look at a series of still images send rapidly and sequentially, the trace of each one lingers at the back of our eyes even as the next is being seen. Therefore our brains translate the sequence of still images into one continuous moving one.

The invention of television meant finding ways to capture movement as a series of still images and then separating them into strips (scanning) to allow them to be transmitted as electrical signals - down wires or over the airwaves.
Developing television
Television got off to a slow start. This was a new and expensive form of entertainment and the technology was far from assured.

Even before World War Two intervened to close television broadcasting operations in most countries for the duration, television showed every sign of catching on in a big way.

Maybe the real surprise is how much investment was made in television - and how quickly.
fun and games

Can you beat our games? Explode equipment to see what's inside, hear the changing sounds of telecommunications, see how telecommunications designs have changed over time or send an e-postacard.

what's on

The UK's first permanent gallery dedicated to the history of information and communication technologies opens in the new Information Age gallery at London’s Science Museum.

audio history

Take a trip down memory lane with extracts of the interviews which have been recorded as part of the Connected Earth oral history programme.

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100 years of automatic switching!
In 1912 the GPO installed Britain's first automatic telephone exchange in Epsom.

Discover the early days of the telephone...