CATHODE RAY TUBE OR DISC….1931 By HUGO GERNSBACK …?

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HUGO GERNSBACK  Television News was another specialty title from Hugo Gernsback, focused on the new television technology.
It was merged with Radio News in 1933. Prior to Television News, Gernsback published a few issues of Television in 1928, but his financial problems and the depression ended that original title almost immediately.This Article extract From JULY -AUGUS 1932 Television News Magazine.

THERE seems to be a good deal of confusion, not in the public’s only mind but partly in manufacturers’-mtihndes as well, as to which will prevail in the future cathode ray tube or the disc.The writer frankly believes that when television is finally accepted on a par with present -day audible radio, most likely neither the cathode ray tube nor the disc will be found
in the television set of 1942 or thereabouts. Radio, as well as all other similar mechanical arts, has proven again that new inventions never spring into existence fully perfected. It is a slow process of evolution. Neither the disc nor the cathode ray tube is perfect, both have their faults and short comings,
and the chances are that in the future an entirely different television system will be used. It probably will be an outgrowth of the cathode ray tube or it may be a com- bination of both cathode ray and neon tubes, but it surely will not be a mechanical disc.
The disc should not be condemned entirely, as it certainly has shown its worth up to the present time, and has helped to make television what it is. The trouble with the disc is,
of course, the mechanics of it. This feature, for some reason. or other, seem to be looked upon with more or less suspicion by the average radio engineer.The idea of the disc does not seem to present as “elegant” a solution for television, as, for instance, the silent and non- ‘ mechanical cathode ray tube, which has no moving parts at all. In this respect, the cathode ray tube approaches our present -day radio sets, in which we have no mechanically moving
parts, the only “moving” parts being the silent electrons which fly at the speed of light inside the tubes. As I have stated in a previous editorial- which, by the way, has brought in letters from all over the world -the chances are that in the end we will not “scan” at all, as we
know the term today. However, this is probably in the future,and it undoubtedly will be some time before the art catches up with that prediction, possible and plausible as it is.

If it were not for the mechanics and moving parts of the present disc system, we might say that the lens disc, which is in use at present, has reached a fairly high state of development.
It is certainly a tremendous improvement over the plain hole discs with which we started out. By means of the crater tubes now available, we really get a very satisfactory amount of illumination, and fair size images can be obtained. As such lens discs are produced now, they are reasonable in price and their results are pretty fair.
A mistaken notion of the advocates of the cathode ray tube is that this tube has cured all the ills of the disc. This is not true at the present time of writing. In the first place, you can now get only small images with a cathode ray tube – about five inches on each side. Making the images larger calls for larger tubes or expensive projection apparatus. These are not practical or economical at this stage of the art, because their cost is commercially prohibitive. Second- ly, the color of the obtained image is not any better -if as good -as . with the crater tube. With the latter we obtain the familiar orange and black combination, whereas the cath- ode ray tube gives a green and black effect which, to many, is not as pleasing as the orange and black combination. Other colors can be obtained, but practically all of the tubes now available use green. It is true that the cathode ray tube gives better definition and better detail when working at the ultra -high frequencies, and as the art progresses there is no question but that it will take the lead and in time supersede the disc entirely. That time, however, has not yet arrived. I believe the disc has not as yet seen the end of its ascension, by any means. The chances are that a number of improvements can still be made on the disc to make it vastly more efficient than it is today. In my opin- ion, the disc will be with us for a number of years to come, even though the cathode ray tube will forge ahead and will eventually come out far in the lead.
A parallel to this might be had in the crystal detector.At one time we had nothing but crystal receivers. Later, the vacuum tube came along and took the lead, and has held it ever since. Yet, strange to say and believe it or not, the crystal detector is still being sold in good quantities today, and thousands and thousands of crystal sets are still being bought all over the world -including the United States.
At the present time cathode ray tubes are necessarily ex- pensive, but it should be remembered that vacuum tubes which sell today for 35c at one time brought $12.00 -and were difficult to obtain at that. There is little question that as the art progresses tremendous improvements will be made in the cathode ray tubes to give us better and larger images. At the same time the future cathode ray tube probably will not sell for any more than a good radio tube brings today – with the chances that its price will be even lower.

 

 

 

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