This is the oldest known recording of “television” as we know it. And there’s quite a story to it.
So I stumbled down a wikipedia rabbit hole this morning (Starting here falling via here, here, here and landing here) and landed upon something cool.
The oldest known recording of TV.
Now, There are a couple older recordings of broadcast images, but the 30 line shilloette images filmed by spinning contraptions are not really television as we know it, but more the forerunner of the system. When I’m talking about TV I’m talking about a couple hundred lines on a CRT, thank you very much.
An important thing to remember is that Videotape was not invented until some 15 or so years after television broadcasts were common. Before that everything broadcast on TV was basically live, or from a camera pointing at a projected film. Before 1947 when the kinescope made recording television onto film possible, almost nothing was recorded.
So we don’t have many recordings of early television, and other than this there aren’t really any recordings of Pre-war BBC live television.
This BBC broadcast was recorded by RCA technicians working on prototype televisions in 1938 on Long Island, New York. Wait What? Exactly.
Because of very specific atmospheric conditions this British broadcast traveled 3000 miles over the Atlantic, in a day before satellites and undersea cables, to be accidentally picked up by some techs in New York. And they were so surprised by it they grabbed a film camera and recorded it, and thats what you see here.
The picture quality isn’t what I’d call good, but Ionospheric bounce, also called F2 propagation will do that. Want to know what F2 propagation is? Just fall down your own wikipedia hole, friendo.