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1954-55 Theatre Catalog, 12th Edition, Page 383 (345)

1954-55 Theatre Catalog, 12th Edition
1954-55 Theatre Catalog
1954-55 Theatre Catalog, 12th Edition, Page 383
Page 383

1954-55 Theatre Catalog, 12th Edition, Page 383

Networks for Theatre Television

A Study of the Bell Systems Part in Providing Channels To be Used for Theatre Television Network Transmissions

The rapid growth of television has given the average family owning a television set a ringside seat at some of the nations important historic and entertainment events e political conventions, the World Series, Presidential inaugurals and even grand opera. The interest in these events is real, and television has added large numbers of fans to the viewing public as compared to the relatively few who were eye witnesses at the events prior to television.

The motion picture industry, in an effort to provide a share of these ringside seats for its patrons, has been investigating the possibilities of theatre network television since the early days of TV. The first intercity transmission of a program for use in a theatre was on May 1, 1948. By early 1951, a theatre network linked a number of cities along the eastern seaboard and extended west> ward to Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Chicago. Later that year, the network was gradually extended to other eastern and midwestern cities and the larger cities on the Pacific coast. The program televising the Marciano-La Starza boxing exhibition in late 1953, fed 45 theatres in 33 cities, and is an example of the present day network.

Network Facilities

The Bell System currently furnishes network facilities for all the major television broadcasting companies, for theatre television, and for such occasional special uses as company meetings, medical gatherings, and sessions where industrial or commercial products are introduced and displayed for customers. The network facilities provided for such services are used, in general, in conjunction with the telephone company plant employed for message telephone and other requirements. The sound portion of the television program is provided over separate high grade audio channels which, in general, parallel the video route in order to keep the transmission time of the picture and sound at about the same values.

When the first intercity theatre television network was established, the channels available for television services of all types totaled 900 miles, consisting of one channel in each direction between New York and Boston, and a similar set of channels between New York and Washington. At the end of 1952, there were about 30,000 channel miles of intercity television circuits available. Now, about 54,000 channel miles of Bell Sysv tem facilities are in service and extend to almost every area of the United

FIGURE 1 shows layout of oxislin . as well as planned intercity television notwor routes that will nah quote: theatre TV activity possible.



Engineer, American Telephone and Telegraph Co.

BRIEF: Although the past year has seen a lack of much activity in the field of theatre television . . . due of course to such things as the introduction of CinemaScope and other exciting innovations . . . there seems to be little doubt that this medium will find its place in the motion picture theatre industry.

In order to aid the reader to get a fuller understanding of what exactly is involved in the establishment of a theatre television network . . . we are presenting this article . . . which attempts to underline and clarify some of the subjects involved in the transmission of television programs directed into theatres.

The author of the article also makes the point that . . . although theatre television channels are not as plentiful as they might be . . . there are enough of them available to meet present needs . . . and with new equipment and systems almost ready to be put into use . . . there should be no shortage of theatre television channels when the demand increases.

States. Of these facilities about 36,000 channel miles are on radio relay systems and about 18,000 on coaxial cable. The layout of existing as well as planned intercity television network routes is shown in Figure 1. These networks, on

May 1, 1954, were serving 296 stations in 187 cities.

In addition to the intercity networks, the Bell System also furnishes local video channels within cities. These facilities provide the connections between the broadcasting studios, or theatres, and the intercity networks as well as between the studios and the radio transmitters.

Wide Band of Frequencies

Transmission of pictures suitable for theatre presentation over network facilities requires, fundamentally, a transmission system capable of carrying a very wide band of frequencies, with nearly linear phase and attenuation characteristics over the frequency band, and producing very little noise. The two types of intercity facility used by the Bell System for this purpose-radio relay and coaxial cablewcan also serve in the telephone plant to carry hundreds of message telephone circuits, one television program, or a combination of the two, depending on the type of system.

Radio Relay System

The radio relay system principally used for television circuits to date is known as the Western Electric TD-2. This system is capable of providing up to six broadband channels in each direction and usually consists of a number of radio links, normally from 25 to 30 miles in length. At the junction of the radio links, the incoming energy is received, amplified and transmitted to


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1954-55 Theatre Catalog, 12th Edition, Page 383