Skip to main content

A lot happened in the television industry over the last 12 months, including the launch of 3DTV, Mobile DTV, the FCC’s redesignation of TV spectrum and signs of economic recovery. The mainstream stories were punctuated with a few on the fringes. TVB presents its top 30 for the year. . .

December 8

FCC to Take Up Retransmission Reform
NPRM expected in first quarter of 2011
The call to reform retransmission consent has been heeded. The FCC intends to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on retransmission during the first quarter of 2011.

December 1
Live Action Trumps Cartoons in Ad Effectiveness
Nielsen’s latest drill reveals higher recall for real life forms
Corporeality is more memorable than nonreality, in Nielsen’s estimation. The audience measurement firm took a look at live-action versus animated ads.

November 30
FCC Opens TV Spectrum for Broadband Use
Baker calls for exploration of MPEG-4 and OFDM
The FCC launched the procedure to open broadcast spectrum up for broadband use.

November 9
KCBS News Chopper Captures Mystery Missile Launch
Military officials puzzled
A KCBS-TV news chopper captured what was thought to be a missile contrail swiftly rising off the coast of Los Angeles. Military officials eventually concluded it was that of a commercial airliner.

October 28
Cablevision Subscribers Sue
Customers report cutting the cord
Cablevision customers sat out day 12 of a Fox black-out. Three among their numbers were sufficiently incensed to file a $450,000 class action lawsuit against the cable operator.

September 30
“Star Wars” in 3D to Hit Theaters in 2012
All six films will get third-dimensional treatment
“Star Wars” will return to theaters next year in 3D. All six films be released in story order instead of based on their original release dates.

September 22
Broadcast Tower Crew’s Free Climb Captured on Helmetcam
Technicians scale 1,768-foot structure without using safety lines

A seven-minute video of free-climbing tower technicians had the broadcast engineering community abuzz. “Stairway to Heaven,” was meant to illustrate a workday in the life of a tower technician equipped with a helmetcam.

September 14

Gadget Blog Reports Google TV to Launch in October
Fall release first announced in May

The tubes were alight with reports that Google would launch its TV venture in October. It landed with a thud.

September 13
Sony’s Unveils Prototype 3D Shoulder Camcorder at IBC
New 3D offerings, plus cameras, monitors and editing tools
Sony unveiled a new 3D shoulder camcorder at IBC, plus several new 3D production and workflows products, cameras, monitors and editing tools.

August 9
Buyers Stampeded Kmart’s $150 Android Tablet PC
Google apps will be removed from later models
Kmart had a run on a new tablet PC powered by Google’s Android operating system when it knocked a mere $20 off the price.

July 27
History Channel Contributed 3D ‘Universe’ to DirecTV
Season premiere to debut this Friday
DirecTV announced that History Channel will contribute 3D programming to it’s stereoscopic offering.

June 25
Young Broadcasting Erases $800 Million Debt in Ownership Transfer
Company now in the hands of private investors
Young Broadcasting is officially a private company. It’s now in the hands of investors who were formerly Young’s senior lenders. They purchased Young’s assets for $220 million in a Chapter 11 reorganization that wiped $800 million in debt off of the books.

June 11
World’s First 3DTV Channel Launches with World Cup
Soccer TV Coverage Redux
The venerable World Cup events commenced in Johannesburg, South Africa’s 94,000-capacity Soccer City stadium. marking the launch of ESPN 3D first full-time 3D programming channel in the world.

May 20
Japan Pledges 3D Holography for 2022 World Cup
Rudimentary holographic TV demonstrated at NAB 2009
Japan said it would have holographic TV technology ready in time to host the 2022 World Cup soccer event. That did not convince FIFA, however, which selected Qatar for the event.

May 3
iPad TV Apps Multiply
Free TV portal launched, traffic app tapped
TV applications are rapidly developing for the Apple iPad tablet computer.

April 21
Glasses-free 3DTV Demonstrated
Screen uses overlay technology to separate views

A company by the name of “NewSight Japan” demonstrated a new 70-inch glasses-free 3DTV at a recent display show.

April 19
Samsung Issues 3DTV Warning
Medical consultation advised for epilepsy and stroke risk
“Some viewers may experience an epileptic seizure or stroke when exposed to certain flashing images or lights contained in certain television pictures or video games.”

April 7
FCC Evacuated for Bomb Threat
Surrounding area affected
FCC headquarters was evacuated due to a bomb threat.

April 5
Google Positions to Take on Hulu
Hulu gets into iPad app queue along with every known entity in solar system
Google is boosting the commercial quotient of its online video business in the direction of, while that site is claiming its first profit and eyeing an iPad presence.

March 11
OK Go Syncs Song with Rube Goldberg Device in Single-shot Video
Four-minute sequence shot with a Steadicam
The band OK Go is rocking the online video community with a new YouTube composition of music and mechanical chain reactions captured in a single, long Steadicam shot.

February 25
Internet-connect TV Set Sales Takes Off in January
Vizio takes top spot for U.S. LCD HDTV sales in 2009
“Among U.S. consumers that purchased new televisions in January, 27.5 percent indicated their sets were connected to the Internet...”

February 23
FCC Says 93 Million Americans are “Disconnected”
Some consider it the Internet a “waste of time”

The FCC has determined that about one-third of Americans don’t have a broadband Internet connection at home. The main barriers to adoption are cost and literacy.

February 22
Univision Launches Mobile and Web Novelas Channel
Novelas y Series builds on YouTube presence
Univision debuted a new Novelas y Series channel on, but it didn’t include telenovelas from Mexico’s Grupo Televisa, the Spanish-languages net’s most popular fare. Grupo Televisa would invest $1.2 billion in U.S.-based Univision before the year ended.

February 18
Who Has Mobile DTV Rights?

As beta trials ramp up, the question emerges
Mobile DTV is more than merely a simple matter of putting an ATSC M/H signal on the air. There’s a question of rights.

February 8
InPhase Technologies Shuts Down
Company assets were seized by state
InPhase, spun out of Bell Labs around 10 years ago. Within five years, it was demonstrating holographic storage, whereby data is stored within the physical body of a disc rather than merely on the surface.

January 27
Thomson becomes Technicolor

Company still in talks to sell Grass Valley
Shareholders of Grass Valley parent corporation, Thomson SA, approved of the company’s debt restructuring plan, which renames the company “Technicolor.” Private investors bought Grass Valley in July for $100 million.

January 25
A Day on Mt. Wilson
TVB Editor Deborah McAdams visits the iconic broadcasting site
Southern California storms have restricted access to Mt. Wilson, home of transmission facilities for virtually every TV station in Los Angeles. TVB accompanied Univision’s Ralph Ortiz on a trip to the site with an L.A County escort.

January 20
3DTV Standards Face Multiple Obstacles
SMPTE Home Master coming mid-2010
Creating a standard for 3D video is a complicated matter. What works in a theater doesn’t necessarily work for TV.

January 13
TV Gears Up for 2010 Winter Olympics
NBC braces financially, CTV goes for broke
NBC is preparing to lose money on the 2010 Winter Olympics, while Canada’s CTV is gearing up for unprecedented coverage.

January 5
TVB’s 3DTV Timeline
2009 was a watershed year for 3D video technologies
Despite the economic difficulties of 2009, the year marked a turning point in the adoption of 3D a viable entertainment format. TVB presents a timeline of 3D video developments over the last year, from content to workflow initiatives to display technologies.