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Topic: Colour TV Comes To The UK (60s/70s) Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 12 February 2018 at 9:02pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

I remember going around a neighbour's house back in the days when we still had B&W and being wowed by the green of the court when they watched Wimbledon on their colour TV.

I think we watched the classic McEnroe vs Borg final in B&W and then our TV gave up the ghost! In came a colour Hitachi that lasted the next ten years. When that one went kaput, in came Dolby stereo (but not yet widescreen). 
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Matt Reed
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Posted: 13 February 2018 at 1:39am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

 Robbie Parry wrote:
When someone tells you black and white programming is ancient, ask them how ancient 1970 is. ;-)

My wife, THIS WEEKEND, told me that THE WRATH OF KHAN was dated.  That movie came out nearly 36 years ago.  1970 IS ancient to them!  You're not winning any arguments spouting years!
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Matt Reed
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Posted: 13 February 2018 at 1:45am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

 Neil Lindholm wrote:
My family didn't get their first colour TV until 1991 when my grandmother died and left her TV to my mom. They just didn't really see the point to buy a new TV when the B&W one worked fine. 

I didn't see Star Trek in colour until I went to University and watched TNG in the common room in the dorm. That was in 1989.

Jesus!  1991?!?  I was born in 1967 and I don't ever remember NOT having a color set.  Oh, I had one on my own because I couldn't afford one, but the family TV was always color. 

We're talking over a two decade difference in color vs b&w.  Wow.  That's akin to someone still using dial up now.  
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 13 February 2018 at 2:01am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

I have a funny story...in the 90`s we were in a local
department store on a Saturday afternoon and i was
admiring the widescreen tv`s (still the clunky cathode
ray ones) I was particularly taken with the `huge` 32"
screen. My wife said to me `700 is a LOT of money for a
black and white tv`
I nearly choked laughing, Channel 4 were broadcasting an
old film!
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Neil Lindholm
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Posted: 13 February 2018 at 3:15am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

 Matt Reed wrote:
Jesus!  1991?!?  I was born in 1967 and I don't ever remember NOT having a color set.  Oh, I had one on my own because I couldn't afford one, but the family TV was always color. 

We're talking over a two decade difference in color vs b&w.  Wow.  That's akin to someone still using dial up now. 

We are the same age. I grew up in a town about an hour from Vancouver, BC that was surrounded by mountains. We had two TV channels and no radio reception (no cable available). It just wasn't an issue as I read a lot of comics and books and played outside a lot. Thinking back, I must have watched Battlestar Galactica and Buck Rogers in B&W also. Never really thought much about it. When I finished high school and moved out, I couldn't afford cable and the B&W TV I had was free so it was fine. Just didn't watch it much. 
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Jack Bohn
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Posted: 13 February 2018 at 8:32am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

I was born in 1964, and we changed from B&W to color TVs and back several times from the late '60s well into the '70s. (Man, thinking back, we must have gone through a lot of TV sets!) When the set we had gave up the ghost, Dad would take it to the repair shop and either get it fixed, or trade it in for whatever trade-in had just been rebuilt. I remember getting a "new" TV once that was color, and turning it on to get a b&w rerun of THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW, which struck me as a bit of a waste, but it had been days and we were desperate to see anything. When the TV would go out the first step was to "let it rest" and try it again later, then it was wait until Dad had the time (now I wonder if it was had the money) to wrestle it out of the house and into the car.

47 years, or 1970 isn't so ancient. Of course, to 1970, 47 years ago would be 1923, when families would watch the radio!
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Kevin Brown
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Posted: 13 February 2018 at 9:07am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

I know my family got a color TV no later than 1969 because there was a large group of people in our house to watch the moon landing in color!  We were one of the very few in the neighborhood to have a color TV.

It was a huge console with a 24" screen.  The screen looked incredibly small when compared to the size of the cabinet it was in!  We kept it for years, finally getting rid of it in the mid-80's.  It was stored in the basement during its final years, hardly ever used.
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 13 February 2018 at 9:33am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Neil`s mention of Buck Rogers reminded me that even
during the 70`s we got a lot of children`s tv in black
and white especially during the school
holidays...Champion the Wonder Horse, Whirlybirds, Buck
Rogers, Flash Gordon, The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe
to name a few!
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 13 February 2018 at 10:09am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Are black and white films/TV shows made today? Anyone know?

I'm not referring to black and white versions of films (e.g. LOGAN), but films specifically made in black and white.
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 13 February 2018 at 11:55am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

The Artist?


Edited by Bill Collins on 13 February 2018 at 11:56am
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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 16 February 2018 at 6:52pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

We were lower middle-class and didn't get out first colour set until 1976, and that's in North America where it was available earlier! :^(

I was most excited to see Space 1999 in colour for the first time! We kids got the old b&w set put in the basement so we still didn't see a lot of things in colour for awhile. I remember Monty Python was always watched down on the b&w on Sundays (we only saw them rerun on CBC or U.S. PBS). "What are you kids laughing about so much down there!"

My grandparents had a big wood (Viking or Admiral rings a bell) cabinet colour job, but everything seemed purple and pink and greenish... so that wasn't so impressive. Nobody seemed able to make it show realistic colours. It wasn't cable either and cars driving by would cause static. I guess I was lucky enough that we had cable at our house. Eleven channels because we were below the 49th parallel! :^)
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Brian O'Neill
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Posted: 16 February 2018 at 10:16pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

I was born in very late 1973. My family got a color TV the year before, and, to my knowledge, that was the first color one we had(still had an older black-and-white in the garage, but it didn't work.).
My grandparents had black and white(rabbit ears, no cable, shadowy pictures, funky vertical hold, the works) up until the early '80s, when they moved and finally got a color TV.
The big deal for me was when we replaced that '70s TV with a 'cable-ready' model, in the early '80s. We'd already had cable, but not the 'decoder box', so we had the 'empty' channel 3 that would have been HBO,and it was basically just for better reception (for the UHF channels that showed cartoons, and the PBS channel that had 'Doctor Who', a VERY important need back then!)
The new TV didn't require a decoder, so that 'upgraded' us to 30(!) channels. Livin' large in the '80s...

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Robbie Moubert
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Posted: 16 February 2018 at 11:18pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

My grandparents had a big wood (Viking or Admiral rings a bell) cabinet colour job, but everything seemed purple and pink and greenish... so that wasn't so impressive. Nobody seemed able to make it show realistic colours.

***********************************

It was the problem of the drifting hue or tint that led to engineers jokingly changing the meaning of NTSC from National Television System Committee to Never Twice the Same Colour! With the PAL system (Phase Alternation by Line (or Picture's Always Lovely!)) used in countries such as the UK and Germany, this was eliminated. It could be described as being like using two alternating NTSC decoders which enabled the TV to lock on to the correct colours.

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Bill Collins
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Posted: 17 February 2018 at 2:03am | IP Logged | 14 post reply

On a similar theme, i remember watching U.S. shows on
U.K. tv and it was like watching through gauze,
something to do with us having the picture made of 625
lines and the U.S. 405? Is that right Robbie M?
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Robbie Moubert
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Posted: 17 February 2018 at 6:25pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

A quick note to start: Technically PAL and NTSC refer to the way the colour signal is encoded but they've tended to be used generally to refer to the UK and US systems as a whole.

The UK began a 405 line service in 1936, with 625 lines being introduced with BBC2 in 1964. Over the next few years, production of all programmes was gradually switched to 625 lines ready for the full changeover in November 1969 (If you had a 405-line set you could still receive programmes until 1985 in London with the conversion being made at the Crystal Palace transmitter). 49 of the 625 lines are not used for the visible picture and were used to carry things like Ceefax/Teletext. These days the format is referred to as 576i.

NTSC was introduced as a 525-line system (480i). In the early years, the difference didn't matter as programmes were distributed on film which was a universal format. The fact that many US programmes were made on film helped matters. The BBC would transmit things like Star Trek and M*A*S*H direct from the 35 or 16mm prints supplied by the distributors.

The problems arise when you want to convert a programme that only exists on video tape. As well as the different number of picture lines, the US uses 30 frames per second due to the voltage frequency of 60Hz. Here in the UK our voltage is 50Hz so we use 25 frames per second. If you're converting a US tape for the UK you have to add nearly 100 lines of picture information which results in a softening of the picture. You also have to lose five frames every second which can lead to a jerky effect on fast horizontal movement. Obviously the reverse applies when converting from PAL to NTSC.

When we began to get tape-originated US programmes in the UK you could definitely tell the difference to those produced on film. They often looked very soft and smeary. These days standards converters have improved a lot and modern production methods have largely done away with such problems.

If your brain isn't full yet I'd like to mention the wizards at the BBC who came up with Reverse Standards Conversion a few years ago. As with several other processes, this was driven by the desire to improve the quality of old Doctor Who episodes!

In the early 70s the BBC sold Doctor Who and other programmes such as Up Pompeii to the US and Canada. After the 625-line master tapes were wiped, the 525-line copies, which were made using the Beeb's own in-house converter, were the best available so they were converted back. Nothing could be done about the missing picture lines but they could remove the five extra frames every second. Unfortunately, they weren't necessarily the same five that had been added in the original conversion resulting in even more jerky movement.

This was until a few years ago when someone with a brain the size of a planet came up with software, based on the original standards converter, that could identify exactly which frames had been duplicated and remove them. Essentially it meant that, instead of having to re-convert the tapes, they could un-convert them instead. Magic basically!!


Edited by Robbie Moubert on 18 February 2018 at 3:31am
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 18 February 2018 at 1:22am | IP Logged | 16 post reply

Thank`s Robbie, very interesting and educational!
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 18 February 2018 at 5:53am | IP Logged | 17 post reply

Fascinating stuff, Robbie, thanks for sharing! 
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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 18 February 2018 at 10:52pm | IP Logged | 18 post reply

It does sounds better though to say that they reversed the polarity.:^)

There was a vintage telly themed David Tennant Who where he climbs the tower at Ally Pally in the big finale, the great broadcast of the coronation went on as we all know it did in the end of course. Whew!
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