TV Screen History: From CRT to Flat Screen Panels

The first TV screen was invented in 1924 by John Logie Baird, a Scottish engineer.

It was based on a mechanical system that used a spinning disk with holes to scan an image and project it onto a screen.

However the Picture quality was very poor and flickering, and the screen size was very small.

Then in 1927, Philo Farnsworth, an American inventor developed the first electronic TV screen that used a cathode ray tube (CRT) to shoot electrons onto a phosphor-coated screen that glowed when hit by electrons.

At this time, the image quality was much better and smoother, and the screen size was much larger than the first!

TV Screen History at a Glance!

an unused old crt tv placed in the corner of the room
Image Credit:

In the past, TV screens used to work differently.

They used rotating disks or mirrors to make pictures from electricity. One of the first ones was the Baird Televisor, made by a Scottish engineer named John Logie Baird in 1924. (As mentioned above)


Later, TV screens switched to using cathode ray tubes (CRTs), glass tubes that shot electrons to make images on screens coated with a special material.

In 1907, an English inventor named A.A. Campbell-Swinton and a Russian scientist named Boris Rosing first thought about CRTs.

Then, others like Vladimir Zworykin and Philo Farnsworth gradually improved them in the 1920s and 1930s. 

Introduction of Flat Screen Panel

Introduction of Flat tv Screen Panel

For many years, CRTs ruled the TV world, but they faced competition from new technologies like liquid crystal displays (LCDs), plasma displays, and organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs).

These newer screens were thinner, flatter, and more energy-efficient while still showing high-quality images and colors.

LCDs were created by George Heilmeier in 1964, plasma displays by Donald Bitzer and H. Gene Slottow in 1964, and OLEDs by Ching W. Tang and Steven Van Slyke in 1987.

Today, TV screens keep changing with features like curved screens, 3D displays, smart TVs, and super-sharp 8K resolution, offered in versions like OLED and QLED.

Now, TV screens are not just for watching.

They play an active role in how we experience media.

Why Early TV Screens Weren’t Flat

Why Early TV Screens Weren't Flat

The main reason early TV screens weren’t flat is because of how the old CRT (cathode ray tube) technology worked.

CRTs used an electron beam to create pictures on a screen coated with phosphors. This beam moved across the screen in horizontal lines, making different colored pixels light up.

But this method made it difficult to create flat screens for a few reasons:

  • CRTs Needed Curves: CRTs required a curved screen because of the electron beam they used. The curve helped make the picture look better, unlike flat screens.
  • Tough to Make Flat Screens: Back then, it was hard to make large flat screens that showed good pictures. Curved screens were simpler and cheaper to produce.
  • Shows Were Designed for Curves: Early TV shows were made to fit on curved screens, so they looked best on them.
  • Better Viewing Angles: Curved screens were better for people sitting at different angles to the TV because they reduced distortion.

It wasn’t until we got flat-panel display tech like LCDs, plasmas, LEDs, and OLEDs that we could make practical and affordable flat screens.

These new technologies gave us thinner, lighter, and bigger screens with better picture quality, and they eventually replaced CRTs as the main TV display technology.


Q: What is the history of TV screens?

The history of Smart TV screens dates back to the early 20th century when inventors like John Logie Baird and Philo Farnsworth developed the first mechanical and electronic television systems.

The technology evolved from bulky CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) displays to the sleek flat-screen panels we have today.

Q: What were the advantages of CRT screens in early televisions?

CRT screens offered advantages like better contrast, vibrant colors, and relatively low manufacturing costs compared to alternatives available at the time.

Q: When did flat-screen panels start replacing CRT screens in TVs?

Flat-screen panels began to replace CRT screens in the late 1990s and early 2000s, with the introduction of technologies like Plasma, LCD (Liquid Crystal Display), and later, LED (Light Emitting Diode) TVs.

Q: What was the first commercially successful flat-screen TV technology?

Plasma technology was one of the first commercially successful flat-screen TV technologies.

It offered thin and large screens with good picture quality, although it eventually gave way to LCD and LED technology.

Q: What’s the difference between LCD and LED TVs?

LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) TVs use liquid crystals to manipulate light, while LED (Light Emitting Diode) TVs use LEDs to backlight the LCD panel.

LED TVs are a type of LCD TV with LED backlighting, offering better energy efficiency and contrast.

Leave a Comment