President's Message
August 2002

1.  Under the heading "The Crime Behind Every TV--How David Sarnoff stole the invention of television", the NYT (9Jn02) reviews two books on Philo Farnsworth, the inventor of modern television: The Last Lone Inventor by Evan I. Schwartz, and The Boy Genius and the Mogul by Daniel Stashower.

David Sarnoff, the head of RCA, believed that RCA should charge royalties, never pay them. So they copied Farnsworth's working prototype and sued him. The litigation lasted for years, while the clock was ticking off the 17 year life of the patent. Finally RCA lost. However with the arrival of WWII the introduction of TV was put off and by the time the war was over, Farnsworth's patents had expired. RCA ushered television in with no reference to Farnsworth. Deeply embittered, he fell into drink and depression for a period, and was soon forgotten. (Not unlike Major Armstrong and the invention of FM)

A followup letter by Mark Schubin reminds us that Farnsworth was not the first to conceive of television scanning -- Paul Nipkow received a German patent on the idea in 1885. The concept of dividing an image into scanning lines for transmission dates back to facsimile transmissions in the first half of the 19th century. An all-electronic TV was described in Britain by Alan Archibald Campbell Swinton in 1908 and the all electronic picture tube was demonstrated even earlier by Boris Rosing in Russia.

2.  Yamaha's CRW-F1 CD burner allows you to burn images and text on the outer part of the CD, eliminating stick-on labels. It uses some of the disc space, but a useful label 1/4" wide can be made with only 50 megabytes of storage space. (NYT Circuits, 27Jn02).

3.  V24-3 of the BAS Speaker is being published shortly. It contains 5 meeting summaries: The ELP Laser Turntable, CES Reports, Alvin Foster's Home Line Source System, Richard Goldwater's Home Audio and Video Systems and the RCA Connector Clinic Report. Also reminiscences of David Blackmer by Les Tyler (dbx) and Henry Kloss by John Milder (KLH). Al Foster's review of the history of live vs. recorded at AR and a do-it-yourself record cleaner on a budget fill out the 43 pages. Also there is a complete listing of all guests of the BAS and where the writeup appeared in the BASS.

4.  Nearly 2/3 of U.S. commercial TV broadcaster missed the May 1 deadline to begin digital broadcasting. So the Media Bureau of the FCC denied more than 70 requests for 6 month extensions. Then to the same stations it gave until 1De (6 months) to finish the job. Trinity Broadcasting Network, a Christian TV system, led the pack of DTV nonbelievers with 20 noncompliant stations. [No mention of HDTV requirements in the article]. (TV Tech 10Jl02)

David Hadaway

President, Boston Audio Society


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updated 11/11/04