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1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 580 (552)

1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition
1945 Theatre Catalog
1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 580
Page 580

1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 580

History of Theatre Television in Britain

Past Experiences and Future Developments Give Factual Data to American Exhibitors

The English cinema exhibitor is somewhat bewildered regarding the subject of television and how it will effect him in the future. Previous to the war, certain cinemas in London had large-screen television equipment installed, where certain programs of a topical nature transmitted by the British Broadcasting Corporation were reproduced on the screen to paying audiences. The results achieved indicated that, with the normal course of technical progress, television projection could, in time, provide a picture equal

By CAPT. A. G. D. WEST M.A., 3.5., F.R.P.S.

President, British Kinemalograph Society; and Technical Director, Cinema-Television. le., Baird Television, le.. and Societe Continentale dc Television, Companies Afiliated with the 1. Arthur Rank Organization

in quality to that given by normal film projection. But the practical problem of the use of television for cinema entertainment, particularly in respect to how programs could be built using the

FIGURE T.-The Baird largeAscreen projector unit (an early 1938 type) shows the cathode-ray tube and the layout of the projector. Such a proiector was installed in London's Tatler Newsreel Theatre. The 3x4-inch image was proiected by an f/2.5 lens to an 8xl0 screen. (All pictures and diagrams of this article have been furnished by Capt. A. G. D. West, to whom a debt of appreciation is owed for this most comprehensive and lucid chronicle.)

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television medium, was the subject of much conjecture, and insufficient experience was available to enable the exhibitor to obtain a clear view as to how such entertainment would be organized and presented to the public. Television in England ceased to function in September, 1939, for 'security reasons, and, since that date, owing to the 100 per cent application to the war effort, no progress has been made from either the technical or the program point of view.

Many authorities-scientific, technical, and commercialehave expressed their views regarding the future of television in the theatre. Although it was generally agreed that television will eventually revolutionize theatre entertainment, detailed expressions of opinion have been highly divergent, and the English exhibitor is somewhat confused regarding the future. He realizes that the situation will in due course arise similar to that brought about by the introduction of sound, and the general tendency is to be prepared, on the assumption that some day not far distant a commercial system will be presented to him. The exhibitor, therefore, will take the opportunity of studying, as technique progresses, the program and entertainment aspects of television, so that he will be ready to incorporate it into his theatres when the equipment has been engineered to operate on a basis technically satisfactory to the general public.

There are many who believe that home television first, and later theatre tele vision, will have an adverse effect on the '

cinema business generally, but similar remarks were made on the advent of broadcasting, when many prophesied that that form of home entertainment would have a devastating effect on both the phonograph and theatre industries. The reply to such pessimistic expressions of opinion is that television will provide a technical means for the provision of new types of entertainment, and it is up to the exhibitor to see that he makes the utmost use of such a new tool for his own future benefit. Thus, television enthusiasts, who have made a close study of the commercial possibilities of the use of television for the entertainment of cinema audiences, have forecast that, provided a broad cooperative view is taken by all the various entertainment interests, including those concerned with sporting and similar events, the opportunities for expansion in the entertainment industry could be enormous, and would fully justify the wildest dreams of the most imaginative cxploiters in the entertainment field. The following observations aim at giving a review of the position of theatre television in Britain where, the war now being over, work will be re CATALOG--l945 ma..-.r -..; . .. .

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1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 580