The Surprising History of 3D Television

The Surprising History of 3D Television

On the face of it, 3D television seems like the ultimate in 21st century technology.

Dreamed of for years, it has indeed taken until the age of the iPad and the wireless computer before 3D TV has finally become available. But when one looks into the history of 3D there are some surprising facts.

Since the 1950’s the concept of the family one day being able to sit round the television and watch it in super-realistic 3D stereoscopy has been a familiar technological dream.

We have all seen the black and white science programs of yesteryear, in which a serious presenter would inform viewers that they would soon be able to do things such as leave robots to do the housework, work three or four days a week for much more money, and have lots more time for leisure. And, sure enough, one of the scenes shown to depict this advanced civilisation of the near future would invariably be one of Mom, Pop, little Johnny and Sue sitting round the television, eating ice cream and raptly watching the latest film in 3D, with the iconic 3D glasses sitting on their faces.

But then years went past…and then years turned into decades…there were no signs of any of these promised developments taking place. And indeed it has not been until this year, 2010 – and the age of the personal computer, the wireless internet, and the mobile phone – that the first 3D tvs have finally gone on Berita Sains to the public.

But the fact is 3D is not a technological marvel of the 21st century.

Not even a technological marvel of the 20th century.

In fact, the history of 3D goes right back to the 19th century and the dawn of photography itself.

Incredibly, the first photographic camera that could take photographs in 3D was thought to have been developed in 1844 by Scottish inventor David Brewster. The technology proved popular even then, and in 1851 a 3D photograph of none other than Queen Victoria herself was displayed at the legendary Great Exhibition in London.

And with the development of cinema, the first 3D film was shown in public – not in the 1950’s – but in Los Angeles in September 1922.

And several years later, in 1928, another Scotsman, and the inventor of the television himself – John Logie Baird – developed and displayed the world’s first 3D television system.

3D photographs in 1851? 3D films in the 1920’s? 3D television in 1928? It’s quite a thought. But nevertheless true.

It may well have taken until the 21st century for 3D television to make its long anticipated appearance.

But it is a technology that very firmly has its roots in centuries gone before.

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