• U.S.

Science: New Television?

3 minute read

News that might prove to be a bombshell was thrown into the television industry last week—and by a university professor. Before a group of television experts in Manhattan’s Yale Club, Dr. Palmer H. Craig, head of the department of electrical engineering at the University of Florida, announced that he had invented a system of television broadcasting which might send the existing systems, admittedly faulty, to the scrap heap.

Craig declared that his system would get rid of television’s major headaches at one blow: it would broadcast television programs as far as radio broadcasts (instead of only to the horizon); it would send clear pictures of outdoor or dimly lit scenes (high-powered illumination would no longer be required); it would use the same wave lengths as radio (instead of being limited to high frequencies). It would also, Craig said, make television much cheaper.

Craig went on to explain that he had achieved all this by getting rid of the present “scanning” principle of television cameras. In translating an image into electrical impulses for broadcasting, the usual television camera “scans” the whole image in no fewer than 240,000 separate impressions. These are recorded separately, in series, all within the space of a 30th of a second. This requires intense lighting, considerable power, and such high speed in transmission that a television broadcast must use a wide band of wave frequencies, room for which can be found only in the high-frequency wave lengths.

Complex Wave. Craig said he had eliminated the scanning problem by means of a new device which would make it possible to record all 240,000 divisions of an image simultaneously instead of in sequence. His device consists of 240,000 electronic “pickup loops,” each designed to record one division of the image. The result, he said, would be a complex wave of 240,000 elements, which could be broadcast with little power on a narrow wave band and would be unscrambled by a scanning device in the receiver. Though none of Craig’s audience wholly understood his proposals, he was given a respectful hearing.

Craig is a former industrial-research physicist, with a score of patents in radio and electronics. He said he had worked on television for more than 15 years. Because a television transmitter costs more than $250,000 to build, he had as yet been unable to give his system a full trial, but he said he had successfully tested its important elements. Craig hoped that television manufacturers would fully investigate his system before investing heavily in present types of equipment.

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