Thursday 21 June 2012

Early Television History in New Zealand

1949 - Departmental Committee established to advice the Government on overseas television developments.

1951 - Canterbury University School of Engineering conducting experiments with closed circuit TV.

7th March 1951 - NZBS first official demonstrations for Waring Taylor St studios in Wellington.

May 1952 - Canterbury Engineering School TV transmissions using callsign ZL3XT.

1952 - Departmental Committee recommended the adoption of the 405-line system of transmission.

23rd February 1952 -  First test signals called "1YA Television" in Auckland.

1953 - The NZ Radio and Electrical Trades Federation annual conference in Christchurch where delegates were invited to view a demonstration of Television as operated by the Canterbury School of Engineering.

27th November 1953 - HMV in Wellington gave a public demonstration of Television with equipment made by Collier & Beale.

1953/54 - PYE brought to New Zealand a complete television transmission station for the Queen's Royal Visit.

January 1954 - PYE demonstrated television equipment at the Wellington Royal Show and later at Auckland in April 1954.

1954 - Harlequins versus Barbarians Rugby Match at Waihi's Rugby Park was televised by Akrad Engineers as and outside broadcast and sent to sets around the field and local hospital.

Early 1957 - Bell demonstrated closed circuit TV at the Auckland Birthday Carnival at Western Springs. Similar equipment was demonstrated in Dunedin later that year.

May 1957 - Bell's first TV broadcasts on air using ZL1XQ callsign.

From July 1957 Bell's transmissions are regular for about two hours a night, four nights a week to an estimated 100 sets.

August 1958 - Government announcement that when Television is introduced in New Zealand it will be the 625 line system.

November 1958 - NZ Television Society is formed.

March 1959 - Bell TV has adverts.

April 1959 - Bell had produced the first two commerical TV models for sale.

May 1959 - First official broadcast by New Zealand Broadcasting Service from Shortland St "NZBSTV Channel 2"

December 1959 - An initial run of 300 black & white PYE 201T 21 inch television produced at the Akrad Waihi factory.

28th January 1960 - Government announced that the NZBS would operate a national TV service starting in Auckland.

1st June 1960 at 7:30pm - NZBS TV service commenced in Auckland (for 4 nights a week).

1st August 1960 - First TV licences on sale at 4 pounds per annum.

October 1960 - NZBS TV on for 5 nights a week.

September 1960 - Bell TV services ceased (except for a short re-activation period in early 1961 when a fire in the NZBS facilities at Shortland St caused a shutdown there).

1st January 1961 NZBS began transmitting 18 hours per week.

Here is an article from the NZ Herald on Monday 22nd June 1959:

                                                           600 TV Sets Already Sold in City

About 600 people have brought television receivers in the greater Auckland since they were put on sale in shops on March 12. But since the Government introduced tariff control on the picture tubes on February 9, the most any firm has been able to import is 100 tubes.
Now the demand for sets is considerably in excess of the supply.
"We cannot keep up with it" said one of the large manufactures. "Right now, it will take 12 months from the time of the order for a set to be delivered."
                                                                   Go-Ahead Awaited
"If we could get the go ahead from the Government we could have things rolling again in three weeks. There need be no lack of entertainment either.
"People are buying sets now to see Channel Two, 1YA, once a week and Channel Six, transmitted by the Bell Radio-Television Corporation, three times a week.
Their programmes are experimental, but they are a novelty.
"Furthermore 1YA could put on a programme every day right now. It has two studio cameras. a film transmitter with a vast store of National Film Unit material and a pretty good announcer. The whole industry is ready to go."
                                                                      Prices Increased
About 200 retail shops are selling television sets in greater Auckland. The post office is keeping a record of sales so that, when the comes it can call for licences, which are not yet required.
After they went sale, prices of 17-inch sets rose from 135 pounds to 151 pounds and 21-inch sets from 185 pounds to 208 pounds. This retailers said, was because every set sold required at least one call back. With only short terms of transmission on four nights, it was difficult to adjust sets and serials and teach customers how to 'drive' the receivers. Usually a customer had to be visited three times after he bought a set. The original cost estimate has to be raised.