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 Post subject: New Line Cinema drama on the Farnsworth/RCA dispute
PostPosted: Sep Fri 03, 2004 1:22 pm 
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Hmm. It's as we suspected. Total history distortion.<P>Right, here's an off the wall idea. Who knows any writers who can pen a screenplay about John Logie Baird? Put it to a non-Hollywood film producer (the British film industry springs to mind) with a view to getting it produced in response to this travesty of a film. Unfortunately I haven't read it yet (I intend to), but what about your father's book, Iain? I suspect that would be a great basis for a screenplay.<P>The J.L. Baird film could trace his early life, what led him into television, the work that went into creating the first ever full television system culminating in the first ever demonstration of television, his subsequent amazing achievements in the twenties, the BBC competition in the thirties (giving due regard to the failure of Farnsworth's Image Dissector in this context, but illustrating the success of elements of Baird's system in the final solution), and the war that brought an end to television production, leaving the field open for the later progression that was electronic television (because mechanical television would have been side-by-side with electronic television if the war hadn't happened. Perhaps Sorkin should give a credit to Hitler and the Third Reich for making his film possible), the subsequent rise of electronic television with the television industry concepts that Baird pioneered (the BBC wouldn't have been even half-way down the line to providing a high definition television service without the experience gained via the mechanical system), the development by Baird of the first ever electronic colour tube, and finishing on a close-up of a working DLP or GLV chip with a news transcript that mechanical television is poised to outsell electronic television due to the latter's inherent limitations.<P>Now that would be a film worth seeing. I can only dream.......<P>Jason.<P>------------------<BR>


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 Post subject: New Line Cinema drama on the Farnsworth/RCA dispute
PostPosted: Sep Fri 03, 2004 11:34 pm 
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I never knew Farnsworth went into shock therapy. It sounds like Sorkn is stealing a page from Ron Howard's "A Beautiful Mind," another wonderful movie made with little interest in accuracy. I'm not saying Farnsworth didn't have shock therapy, but it's the kind of detail Farnsworth's advocates would be loath to share.<P>So the movie's title "The Farnsworth Invention" seems weakened when the filmmakers descride Farnsworth as the man who merely perfected television. Sounds like backpedaling of a sort.<P>Did he perfect television? His centerpiece invention, the image dissector, was a failure. The "electronic image" he won his most vaunted patent interference for was not used in the British or U.S. systems that began regular broadcasts before and during the war.<P>FWIW, I don't think television has ever been "perfected" but that discussion is for a different thread if not a different forum.<P>Probably the most ironic twist to Sorkin's preposterous title "The Farnsworth Invention" is that Sorkin's television shows were shot on film and transferred to video with flying spot scanners, an invention of John Logie Baird (and/or Jenkins). Some of the best film scanners made today (possibly the ones used for The West Wing) come from Rank Cintel in England, once known as Baird Television Company. No "electronic image" as Farnsworth defined it, is involved.<P>Scott<P><BR>------------------<BR>


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 Post subject: New Line Cinema drama on the Farnsworth/RCA dispute
PostPosted: Sep Sat 04, 2004 4:02 am 
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"His centerpiece invention, the image dissector, was a failure."<P> While I am not "pto" any one person as having invented TV I would hardly classify the image dissector as a failure.... A very close but minaturized version of the image dissector brought us the first live TV pictures from the moon. RCA Image dissectors also played a big role in monitoring the insides of extremely high temperature furnaces from the late 40's through early 60's.<P>Mark<P>------------------<BR>


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 Post subject: New Line Cinema drama on the Farnsworth/RCA dispute
PostPosted: Sep Sat 04, 2004 9:24 pm 
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Iain,<P>I agree with your views on the other television pioneers such as Jenkins and Alexanderson. Jenkins in particular should not be forgotten as he shared the same mindset as J. L. Baird. I would have more sympathy with a film called 'The Jenkins Invention' than 'The Farnsworth Invention', although I would still have an issue as J. L. Baird was the first to achieve and demonstrate true television and, as I said before, I believe that the first achievement of the desired goal constitutes the definition of invention for many great inventors.<P>Also, I have a copy of 'JLB - The Man Who Saw the Future' and it's a great production. I ordered it from the Alexandra Palace shop. However, I was disappointed that it was the 55 minute version. I believe that there's a longer version, around 90 minutes. I wonder what extra material is on that?<P>I also wish that there was more material available about J. L. Bairds Telechrome. If anything contributed to the 'perfection' of television it was this, as it defined the colour era. I also agree with Scott. Television as it currently stands is far from perfect. In my opinion it has stagnated. Baird and others had so much vision for television, it's a shame that it's turned out the way that it has.<P>However, we may be on the brink of some great improvements with the new non-electronic sets.....<P>Jason.<P>------------------<BR>


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 Post subject: New Line Cinema drama on the Farnsworth/RCA dispute
PostPosted: Sep Sat 04, 2004 9:54 pm 
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"In my opinion it has stagnated."<P> Jason, Why do you think its stagnated. I would hardly call all the work thats been done to get digital TV going over the last 5 years stagnation.....<BR>NTSC certainly has and will stagnate by virtue of the demise of the analog system although analog TV transmitter technology seems to be keeping pace with everything else.<P> Programming.... now thats a whole other subject to debate about.<P>Mark<P><BR>------------------<BR>


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 Post subject: New Line Cinema drama on the Farnsworth/RCA dispute
PostPosted: Sep Sun 05, 2004 12:07 am 
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Hi, Mark,<P>I do agree that a lot of good development work has been done and I would not like to denigrate the efforts in this field. However, what I am referring to is that television as an entity has remained relatively unchanged over the years. There has not been a 'step change' improvement in my opinion.<P>Today in 2004, I watch a 28 inch Sony Trinitron on the 625 line PAL system. In January 1941, John Logie Baird demonstrated a 3 foot 600 line colour system. This comparison is in my opinion stagnation over 63 years.<P>I think by now we should have made the jump into 3 dimensions. J. L. Baird was already looking at this. Perhaps also more immersion in a virtual world instead of looking at the flat screen that has been used since the beginning. I know these are fantastical ideas but they're in the spirit of the original innovators. Instead, all we seem to get are more channels with more dubious content (I agree with your point here), albeit with more flexibility in choosing and storing what to watch. <P>Jason.<P>------------------<BR>


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 Post subject: New Line Cinema drama on the Farnsworth/RCA dispute
PostPosted: Sep Sun 05, 2004 12:38 am 
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I wonder how practical that Baird system would have been on a very large scale back in those days. Probably not very, but others will probably argue that one but alas we'll never really know and thats ok. I say that mass production of that system would have been another dismal story for technical reasons not necessarily understood at that time.<P> Today in the U.S. I watch TV at a much higher level of resolution than in the past and there are as many as four sub channels on just one frequency while the old analog TV is also still availble to me.... but I rarely watch the old analog any longer.<P> In the states our government mandated this new system which really does represent a giant leap over what we've been using for the last 50 years, however the old system will also remain in place till there is sufficient market saturation of the new TV's. This will likely take quite a few years to see any real saturation even though digital TV transmitter saturation is at about 98% right now and with many other countries already committed to this new system, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Phillpenes, and South Korea among others. I would suggest that its really more up to your government to prevent stagnation and to want to do something similar to what the U.S. did. Wether they develop another HD system or utilize whats already been developed is really up to them.<P>Mark<P>------------------<BR>


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 Post subject: New Line Cinema drama on the Farnsworth/RCA dispute
PostPosted: Sep Sun 05, 2004 3:29 am 
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Why I peg the Image Dissector as a failure:<P>There were two fundamental flaws in mechanic scanning: Limited scanning speed, and the wasting of all but the miniscule amount of light that gets through the tiny holes in the disk. The Image Dissector solved the scanning speed problem but did not solve the wasted light problem. The best calculations I have indicate that in the brightest areas of the brightest sunlit settings, only eight electrons would be available per pixel to achieve NTSC resolution in B&W (2-3 per channel in a full color system). You can't get a good image with only eight levels of brightness per pixel and its resulting noise floor of 1/8 of the signal. There was no hope that the dissector, as originally defined as a tube that scans an electron image over a tiny hole, would ever be generally practical for live television broadcasts even at mediocre NTSC resolution.<P>Why I don't think television has been perfected:<P>An imaging system, in my mind, is perfected when you can't tell the difference between the real thing and its image. This is the criteria we have with audio...why not with video? The pasty faces I see on live network NTSC broadcasts show me television is far from perfect. Modern digital HDTV is often jaw-dropping it's so good, but is nevertheless bedeviled with pixel scintillation and compression artifacts.<P>I've heard of a laboratory system in Japan with 4000 line resolution. It purportedly confuses one's brain into no longer being able to detect if we are seeing a rendered image instead of the real thing. This is what I would call "perfected" television. My guess is that it is achieved without one single Farnsworth invention.<P>Scott<BR><P>------------------<BR>


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 Post subject: New Line Cinema drama on the Farnsworth/RCA dispute
PostPosted: Sep Sun 05, 2004 3:44 am 
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"This is the criteria we have with audio... why not with video?"<P> Audio is hardly a criteria to use as a standard as there is not an audio system in existance that can reproduce the original source EXACTLY as it sounded live, only a close reproduction... just like every other means of reproduction that we use today, TV, Radio, Photography, Holograms, etc. In fact we are not even close in audio reproduction. The main problem still lies in the transducers(speakers)and the fact the you can push air but you can't pull it!! Even "lossless" digital record/play systems I've had experience with (DTS) also generate artifacts of their own.... but like DTV it is definately an improvement.<P> 4000 lines would be nice but not practical to do a large scale transmission with todays technology.... that would require some place around 100mbps plus of data transmission. With todays DTV we are only at 20mbps of data transmission and straining our technological limits to transmit even that bit rate, thats why DTV has high dats compression. What would have been nice was if analog HDTV had gotten somewhere.... All the demonstrations I saw at different SMPTE meetings of the analog system had image quality that was beyond belief. But operting the transmitters required for that system, generally four or more 100kw uhf rigged in parallel/push pull would have bankrupted even the large TV networks. So here we are crawling along in this day and age putting up with what we have and allowing new technology to be devloped and advance along. Thats unfortunately the way life is and I'm thankful for that because we are still now able to go see, hear and enjoy the "original" what ever it may be. A society that is able to replicate anything "exactly" will soon loose the joy of lifes finer things.<P>Mark<P>------------------<BR>


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 Post subject: New Line Cinema drama on the Farnsworth/RCA dispute
PostPosted: Sep Mon 06, 2004 7:40 am 
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I have been watching this thread for some time now and am quite amazed that ANYONE here would expect that Messers Sorkin and Schlamme would be sticklers for "the truth" in any way, shape or form. While "The West Wing" is certainly a well put-together fantasy, it is just that; a fantasy. Should we expect any more in a story about television itself?<P>I am reminded of the old quote: "Never let a simple thing like the TRUTH stand in the way of a good story."<P>The final film will be what it is. One man's idea of what history was SUPPOSED to be, not what it actually IS!<BR><P>------------------<BR>


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 Post subject: New Line Cinema drama on the Farnsworth/RCA dispute
PostPosted: Sep Tue 07, 2004 8:28 pm 
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Perhaps the most important of Farnsworth's inventins was the photomultiplier effect. With this method of amplification by using a cascade of secondary electrons, he greatly improved his image dissector sensitivity. While not as sensitive as the image orthicon it was used in studios with indoor lighting. His dissector was so rugged it was also used to monitor and record nuclear explosions. BTW, if you look at the rear of a image orthicon tube you can see a spiral of fins. These were photomultiplier electrodes that rca used to increase the sensitivity of this tube.<P>------------------<BR>


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 Post subject: New Line Cinema drama on the Farnsworth/RCA dispute
PostPosted: Oct Wed 20, 2004 2:37 am 
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Just saw a DLP television in pride of place in the foyer display of Curry's store. Beautiful picture and looks great set atop its futuristic plinth! I can just imagine John Logie Baird standing beside it and demonstrating its capabilities....<P>------------------<BR>


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 Post subject: New Line Cinema drama on the Farnsworth/RCA dispute
PostPosted: Oct Wed 20, 2004 8:34 am 
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"I can just imagine John Logie Baird standing beside it and demonstrating its capabilities"<P> He'd also be explaining why it has so many digital artifacts and color limitations when compared to CRT and LCD displays. DLP is not what its made out to be, especially the single imager DLP sets with the color wheel!! Spend some time and watch fast action and sporting events very closley..... A good LCD set will outdo a DLP set in the artifact department. <P> Even the big movie theatre DLP projectors have their problems with digital artifacts and those systems cost nearly 500K with all the accessories and playback storage system.<P>Mark<P>------------------<BR>


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 Post subject: New Line Cinema drama on the Farnsworth/RCA dispute
PostPosted: Oct Wed 20, 2004 9:08 am 
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What a great thread. I really like all the links. How long is a thread like this kept in the archives? In referance Farnsworth's claim of his invention being stolen by Zworykin, if stolen it was because he was unwilling to work with others to develop his falted system. Zworykin knew and in my extensive videotaped interviews with him,at Instant Replay Videomagazine, he made the off published statement,that Sarnoff considerd him a salesman as he convinced Sarnoff that he could deliver Television for $100k, a small portion of what it cost to hire and staff such a project and bring it to completion. Farnsworth at one time had the backing of Philco, which could have been his "RCA" but he was so paranoid and untrusting that shortly after going to Philco he took his stuff out of the labs in the "middle of the night" and went back to California. All great revolutionary advancements like Television take a lot of talented people,money, marketing, etc. to develop and bring to fruition,and Zworykin knew this and that is one of his greatest acomplishments. As far as the oft repeated story of Farnsworth as a young boy noticing the way the fields were plowed and that giving him his idea for developing an electronic scanning system, it pales in comparison to Zworykins conversations as to how after many,many tries to slice,dice,score and trying many methods to try to make the individual portions of the Mosaic for the Iconoscope, he discoverd one morning while shaving, that the steam that appeared on the mirror from the hot water made "perfect individual beads or globules" which then became the process for making mosaics.I noticed that one of the contributors to this thread was the grandson of the person who made the early mosaics and and I'm sure that he knows that until the process of depositation was developed the Iconoscope was an dificult inpractical device to build. Perhaps if Farnsworth was as passionate about his device as Zworykin and willing to share with others the necessary steps to develop his invention the story might have been different. I really enjoyed the comparison with all the mechanical systems and the new micromirror diplays and the same would hold forth for LCD displays. Its amazing how "old obsolete" technologys are practical as soon as the technology to implement them becomes available<BR> Thanks David for starting this great thread<BR>and thanks for all the people who contributed. The thread should be sent to the producers and is worthy as an educational primer on the subject.<BR>Chuck<P>------------------<BR>chuck azar


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 Post subject: New Line Cinema drama on the Farnsworth/RCA dispute
PostPosted: Oct Thu 21, 2004 5:18 am 
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Scott Marshall wrote:
<font>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by charlesa:<BR><B>Farnsworth at one time had the backing of Philco, which could have been his "RCA" but he was so paranoid and untrusting that shortly after going to Philco he took his stuff out of the labs in the "middle of the night" and went back to California. <BR> <P></B><HR>
<P>Happy to see you here, Chuck! I gave a repeat performance of my talk "The Case Against Farnsworth and Claims he Invented TV" a couple of weeks ago. Always learning more and discovering new angles in the Farnsworth/Zworykin stories.<P>To the best of my knowledge, Farnsworth and company worked for about a year at Philco and was fired for lack of progress with the Image Dissector. Farnsworth then continued his work in Philadelphia while Philco continued work on television by hiring some of Zworykin's people away from RCA. Farnsworth then put on the famous public demo at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia while RCA was continuing its more advanced but private work across the river in Camden, New Jersey.<BR><P>------------------<BR>


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 Post subject: New Line Cinema drama on the Farnsworth/RCA dispute
PostPosted: Dec Mon 06, 2004 3:58 am 
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Leo?! Ew!! No, my underdog choice to play Philo Farnsworth is Sean Whalen: <IMG SRC="http://i.imdb.com/mptv1.gif"> Look at the uncanny resemblance! <IMG SRC="http://www.ethos.org/farnsworth.jpg">


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 Post subject: New Line Cinema drama on the Farnsworth/RCA dispute
PostPosted: Dec Wed 08, 2004 4:14 am 
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Scott Marshall wrote:
<font>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by TDRyan:<BR><B>Leo?! Ew!! No, my underdog choice to play Philo Farnsworth is Sean Whalen: <IMG SRC="http://i.imdb.com/mptv1.gif"> Look at the uncanny resemblance! <IMG SRC="http://www.ethos.org/farnsworth.jpg"> </B><HR>
<P>You're right! That IS an amazing resemblence:<BR><P><BR><img src="http://i.imdb.com/Photos/HH/0923490/th-HEADSHOT.jpg"><BR><P><BR> In "Big Dream Small Screen" the opening monologue suggests James Stewart would be good as Farnsworth, ergo Tom Hanks, today's Stewart, would be a fine choice. I think Jack Nicholson might make a fine Sarnoff.<P>------------------<BR>


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