By Patrick R. Parsons
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Additional info for Blue Skies: A History of Cable Television
Some of the better Nipkow systems in the 1930s attained sixty lines of resolution. But the system of scanning a picture mechanically had inherent limitations reminiscent of those confronting the multiwire mosaic arrangements. Increasing the size and improving the resolution of the picture required increasing the number of scanning lines. Increasing the number of scanning lines, in turn, meant increasing the number of holes in the whirling disk and ultimately the size of the disk itself. The same principle held true for disks that used revolving mirrors or prisms.
Hotel and Apartment Master Antennas While failing on a citywide basis, cable radio did succeed in the United States in hotels and apartment buildings. Prior to development of high-quality internal antennas, radios typically required external antennas, often very long ones, and, in larger buildings, metal superstructures interfered with even those. Roof-mounted antennas were the best solution, but this gave rise to yet another dilemma, antenna population booms on the rooftops of apartment houses.
In a 1938 staff report, the Commission reviewed the variety of possible paths TV development might take in the United States, one of them being the use of coaxial cable in an AT&T wirebased system of TV distribution. ”79 It took a promise from Bell to keep the line open to all competitive interests to secure the FCC’s blessing for development of the new coaxial line. The company also promised not to pass along the $580,000 construction cost to customers. Construction of the New York to Philadelphia line was completed by the end of 1936 and voice-only tests initiated.