Witnessing a walk on the moon: Too bad we didn’t have 3D TVs!

Witnessing a walk on the moon: Too bad we didn’t have 3D TVs!

With 15 years of experience in the Display industry at Applied Materials, I have witnessed firsthand the dynamic advances that have taken place in display technologies.  But as remarkable as these advances have been; the excitement and promise of displays are their ability to allow for the interaction of the shared human experience.

Last Friday marked one of the great anniversaries in the history of live broadcast television, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to reflect on this moment in time and briefly describe the giant leaps made in display technology over the last 40 years.

July 20, 1969 marks the date of the first man to walk on the moon and the first live TV transmission from the moon.  The live lunar broadcast was in black and white.  The technology of the day allowed for the transmission to be received by radio telescope in Australia and retransmitted to flight command in Houston where it was broadcast to the world.  At 10:56 pm EDT, Neil Armstrong became the first human to set foot on the moon and uttered the famous words, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”  The telecast was watched by over half a billion people.

TVs Technology Has Come a Long Way

Broadcasting from the moon was certainly a major advancement in broadcasting technology.  Back then, in 1969 the majority of TV sets were still black and white.  Color TV did not become the majority until 1972 and the first demonstration of high definition TV was done by NHK the Japanese public broadcasting network in 1968.  In 1988, Sharp Corporation introduced the first commercial liquid crystal display (LCD) television, a 14" model.  Anticipating HDTV, RCA introduces the first wide screen TV in 16:9 aspect ratio in 1993.  The first plasma display television was introduced in 1995 at $20,000!  By 1996 1 billion TV sets are sold worldwide.  TFT-LCD televisions overtake CRT’s as a majority of sales in 2008. Analog television is eliminated in the U.S. in 2009 with all broadcasting required to be in HD.  3-D TV arrives in mass production in 2010. 

The advancements in digital flat panel television technology will no doubt continue.  Smart interactive television; ultra-definition, OLED, smart user interfaces to allow seamless transfer of data between display platforms will continue to change the face of television in years to come. 

Let us see how we will watch and witness the landing of the first human on Mars!

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