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History of Russian Television
July 26, 2012 09:07

Television in Russia was born in the first half of the 20th century. In 1930 the television laboratory of the All-Union Electrotechnical Institute in Moscow developed a mechanical system for transmitting images on radio-waves. On April 29 and May 2, 1931 the laboratory carried out the first experimental transmission in the USSR. The first images were motionless – those were photos of renowned actors and honored workers of this country.

On October 1, 1931 the central newspapers reported about the first regular broadcasts of "moving images" / television / starting in Moscow from the Moscow radio engineering. The system was far from perfect, and broadcasting was conducted separately - the image was transferred on certain waves, and the sound – on others. “Dear radio viewers, we start broadcasting of the Soviet far-vision…." – the TV presenters used to say. The word "televiewer" and concept of "television" did not come into common use yet, and there were only 30 self-made TV-sets in Moscow. But the broadcasts aired on radio-waves from the capital of the USSR could be picked up all over the Soviet Union and even abroad.

Thus the decade of disk television began. It was called Disk TV, since the bearing construction was a disk that had 30 openings 3 to 4 cm large on its surface. Hence were the number of lines (30) and the size of the screen of the first television receivers (3 to 4 cm). One could only watch self-made TVs only through huge lenses filled with water to increase the image.

In 1934 sound television appeared. A new television transmitter connected to two broadcasting radio stations was constructed in Nikolskaya Street of Moscow. On October 24 the Pravda newspaper reported that the All-Union Committee for Radiofixation and broadcasting started regular telecasting - two times in five-days.

November 15, 1934 saw the first sound telecast. Exactly at 24.00 the national actor of the USSR Ivan Moskvin recited Anton Chekhov’s short story “The Malefactor”. The audience could recognize the well-known actor of Moscow Art Academic Theatre (MKhAT) only by his voice - it was hardly possible to distinguish the face on the screen. The broadcast lasted for 25 minutes and had a huge response. In a few days the All-Union Committee for Radiofixation and Broadcasting took the decision to establish a television department.

Despite low quality of the image, television at once gained huge popularity - happy owners of TVs gathered in front of the screens with all the family members and invited friends and neighbors to watch it.

In the late 1930s the television became electronic. The first television center was constructed in Shabolovsky Radio Station in March, 1938 and started regular broadcasts in 1939.

During the Great Patriotic War (World War II) the television broadcasting was temporarily stopped. The first post-war transmission from the Shabolovsky Moscow Television Center was carried out on May 7, 1945, and on December 15 the same year the television center was the first one in Europe to start regular broadcasting - twice a week.

From 1948 outside broadcasting started, considerably expanding the possibilities of television. The first broadcast of the kind was the airplay of a football in 1949. Same year the first mass production of the TV brand “KVN” with the screen of a post card size and 625 lines was launched.

In 1951 the Central Television Studio was founded on the basis of the Moscow Television Center and first editorial boards appeared: those of literary and drama broadcasts, musical and children’s broadcasts, etc. All the programs went on the air: recording and cutting stepped in later. The broadcasting format was extended: besides social and political broadcasts, films, concerts, theatrical performances there appeared new genres - serialized television programs, reports, TV-sketches. Journalists came to work for television. But TV presenters were surely the “face” of TV: Nina Kondratova, Valentina Leontyeva, Anna Shatilova, Igor Kirillov, Victor Balashov, Nonna Bodrova – they deserved national love and recognition of the audience. It was thanks to the first TV presenters that television became a real means of communication. When they greeted or said goodbye to televiewers, the latter would answer "Hello" or "Good-bye!" without a second thought. Those seeming primitive first programs of the Soviet television are still considered surprisingly sincere by experts and the audience.

The television was promptly developing. From 1959 the satellite television started to operate in the USSR - on October 7 the image of the reverse side of the Moon was for the first time transmitted to the Earth by means of the interplanetary station "Luna-3". Regular broadcasting of color television began on October 1, 1967 in Moscow. The satellite system of distributing television programs on the network of land reception stations "Orbita" was created the same year.

  In 1967-1970 the Ostankino Technical Television Center was put into operation. The creative association Ekran (i.e. Screen) founded there became the biggest studio of television movies in the country. The 60s gave birth to the so-called “authors’ TV”- hosts or authors of TV programs appeared on screen along with TV presenters. Telecasts “Wildlife”, “Club of armchair travelers”, “News Race”, “A blue spark”, “Good night, kids”, “KVN”, and others enjoyed great popularity. The most popular Russian telecast “Club of travelers” was later included in the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest show of the Russian television.

In the late 1980s – early 1990s (Perestroika age) new type of programs came to be: teleconferences of the USA and Russia, The 12th Floor, the video channel Fifth Wheel, morning and night programs, the number of the airs that reduced in the 70-80s grew up again. Reorganization of telecasting started, with first commercial TV channels appearing, and division of TV companies into broadcasting and producing ones (making programs for other TV companies). Gradually news and political programs took the leading place on Russian TV.

Presently the television covers 99 percent of the population in Russia. There are 3200 broadcasting companies, with 10 percent of them state-run, and over 140 TV channels. Countrywide transition to digital broadcasting has been planned to take place by 2015.


Author: Vera Ivanova

Tags: Russian Television Television History of Russia Russian Cinema  

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