12 Important Steps In The History Of Television

From the first television image being beamed across the ocean to movies being streamed from space, here are some of the most definitive moments in the evolution of television. This ain’t your mother’s TV set—and neither is Boxee, the newest entry in television’s storied history.

1. 1928 - The First TV Set

Keystone-France / Getty Images

After John Logie Baird beamed the first television image ever—sent from England to New York—the first (black-and-white) TV set was also sold this year. It was a Daven, sold for $75 (the equivalent of $1,009.74 in 2012 dollars).

2. 1928 - The First TV Shows Premiere

NBC / Getty Images

Felix the Cat became television’s first star on RCA’s New York City-based channel in 1928, and he endured for years.

Erich Auerbach / Getty Images

The Queen’s Messenger premiered later in the year and was the world’s first TV drama.

3. 1936 - The First TV Channel

Underwood Archives / UIG / REX USA

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) debuts the world’s first television service, airing an (at the time) astounding three hours of programming a day.

4. 1948 - Cable TV


Cable’s invention came with good timing. Leonard Nimoy starred in his first science fiction role in 1952—as “Martian Narab” in Zombies of the Stratosphere, naturally.

The first cable connections were established in 1948, and installations were handled by entrepreneurial types, mostly in rural areas that couldn’t access the normal broadcast signals. John Walson, for example, set up cable boxes for people with a one-time cost of $125 and a monthly fee of $3 in 1948 (in 2012, $1,194.09 and $28.66, respectively).

5. 1954 - Color TV

Science & Society Picture Library / Getty Images

The first color TV sets went into mass production in 1954, for a cost of around $1,295—or $11,083.13 in today’s dollars. Accordingly, they were only a play-thing for the very rich.

6. 1954 - First Primetime Color TV Show

NBC / Getty Images

The first full-color, primetime TV series was The Marriage, beginning NBC’s sitcom tradition, and featuring stars Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn, who were actually married.

7. 1960 - The First Televised Presidential Debate

Mondadori / Getty Images

70 million people tuned into the presidential debate between Sen. John F. Kennedy and Vice President Richard Nixon. By this point, 90% of US homes have a TV set.

8. 1983 - The Most Popular TV Show in History Ends

Snap Stills / REX USA

After an unprecedented 11-year run 125m viewers tuned into the last episode of M*A*S*H—the most-watched television episode in history.

9. 1990 - “Seinfeld” Premieres

NBC / Getty Images

In 1990, Seinfeld debuts on NBC. Goes onto become the most definitive show of the ’90s—if not the “greatest show in television history.”

10. 1999 - The First DVR

DonNichols / Getty Images

Dish reveals the “DVR” concept and releases it later in the year; selling over 200,000 units within a year.

11. 2008 - Netflix Debuts Online Streaming

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

In 2008, Netflix debuted its “Watch Instant” service with just 2500 shows and movies through Starz. Today the Netflix streaming catalogue boasts over 13,000 titles, along with thousands and thousands more of DVDs.

12. 2010 - Boxee Brings It All Together

Though Netflix revolutionized how we watch television and movies, now, with products like Boxee, you can drop all the other components and have it all in a single unit. Boxee plays ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC and other TV channels, streams all of your favorite services and has an unlimited DVR that saves things to the cloud, meaning you can watch TV on nearly any device that’s connected to the Internet.

Check out more articles on BuzzFeed.com!

  Your Reaction?

    Starting soon, you'll only be able to post a comment on BuzzFeed using a Facebook account or via our app. If you have questions or thoughts, email us here.