Symmetricom Telecom Solutions reports:

On September 7, 2007, we can all celebrate the 80th anniversary of the birth of television. As we consider the new technologies that are bringing us IPTV, and the impending end of analog TV broadcasting, consider that television is here today because of agriculture. That’s right, if it weren’t for tilling a field with a horse-drawn harrow, we may not be talking today about the wonders of packet-based video.

It all began when a young boy by the name of Philo T. Farnsworth was tilling his family’s potato field in Idaho. Just barely a teenager, Farnsworth was already fascinated by electrons, and as he went back and forth tilling the soil, he thought that an electron beam could perhaps scan images in the same way, line by line. He studied extra hours with his high school Chemistry teacher, learning as much as he could about electricity and electrons, and in 1922 he sketched out his idea for an “image dissector” vacuum tube that could revolutionize television. By the age of 16 he managed to gain acceptance to Brigham Young University where he researched television picture transmission.

In 1926 he moved to San Francisco, and backed by funding from investors, continued his pursuit of creating a vacuum tube that could reproduce images electronically, by shooting a beam of electrons, line by line, against a light-sensitive screen.

Then in September of 1927, Farnsworth demonstrated to his main financial backer, George Everson, how “electronic television” could actually work. Using his Image Dissector, which he had developed the year before, Farnsworth transmitted the first electronic television image to a charged screen. Harkening back to the lines in the fields that had first inspired him, the first image ever successfully transmitted was a straight line that was moved 90 degrees.

The following year Farnsworth gave a demonstration for the press, and the image that he chose to transmit was prescient – a $ sign.

When considering Farnsworth’s contribution to the development of television, it is important not to confuse the technology with the content. In his later years, as he watched television become so much a part of our modern culture, he had this to say to his children, “”There’s nothing on it worthwhile, and we’re not going to watch it in this household, and I don’t want it in your intellectual diet.”