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Baird, John Logie

system electrical bbc television

1888–1946) British electrical engineer: television pioneer. J L Baird and bearded Sir Oliver Lodge. Son of a Presbyterian minister, Baird was educated in Glasgow, almost completing a course in electrical engineering. His poor health made a career difficult and several ventures failed, including making and selling foods, boot-polish and soap. After a serious illness in 1922 he devoted himself to experimentation and developed a crude TV apparatus, able to transmit a picture and receive it over a range of a few feet. The first real demonstration was within two attic rooms in Soho in early 1926. In the following year he transmitted pictures by telephone line from London to Glasgow and in 1928 from London to New York. In 1929 his company gave the first BBC TV transmissions, soon achieving daily half-hour programmes with synchronized sound and vision. He used a mechanical scanning system, with 240 lines by 1936, but then the BBC opted to use the Marconi–EMI electronic scanning system, with 405 lines. Baird also pioneered colour, stereoscopic and big screen TV, and ultra-short-wave transmission. Television has no single inventor, but to Baird is due its first commercial success, although his methods have largely been replaced.

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