Monthly Archive: September, 2011

September 23rd 2011

At yesterday’s Oldboys Lunch, Dave Bancroft asked the following question:-

“I am engaged in a research project and I have a fundamental question:

When was the term “video” first coined or used? (and where, why and by whom?)

The small print is:

I’m referring only to the use of the word to mean the electrical signal that combines picture (brightness, etc.) information with sync and blanking.

Since this is an historical investigation, I’m referring only to an analogue signal.

To explain why I want to know the reason why the term came into being, I am particularly interested in its replacement for earlier or alternative terms such as: the “television signal,” the “picture signal” or the “vision signal.”

I have my suspicions: I suspect the term of being American in origin, we Brits clinging on to “vision” for as long as we could, as in “vision mixer,” and “vision control supervisor.”

The Wikipedia entry associates “video” exclusively with recording; I’m pretty sure that’s wrong. For example, my Amos and Birkinshaw “Television Engineering,” Vol. 1, defines the “video signal” on page 5; the book was first published in 1953, well before the video tape era.

The OED apparently says the first usage appeared in 1951 in the New York Times, but Webster’s dictionary says 1937 (So, were Zworykin, Blumlein, et al using “video” in the 1930’s? Did Baird use the term before that, or did it not come into existence until electronic scanning displaced mechanical scanning?).

The most convincing answers will be those that involve human folly, greed, impatience, or some other weakness!

This is not a quiz! I really don’t know the answer!


Thoughts, answers etc to Dave Bancroft