When 82 TV Channels Was More Than Enough

How the rollout of UHF television in 1951 led to “the shot heard ’round the world”

2 min read
Photo: Peter Stackpole/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Hear, Hear: After the United States added UHF TV channels in 1951, television set owners needed ultrahigh-frequency antennas like these from RCA to pick up the new signals.
Photo: Peter Stackpole/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

BobbyThompsonHey, Ho! The new UHF channels and the microwave-relay network to support them meant that millions of viewers across the country were watching when the New York Giants’ Bobby Thomson hit a remarkable three-run homer against the Brooklyn Dodgers. Thomson’s feat became known as “the shot heard ’round the world.”Photo: AP Photo

A Promising New Era Begins for Television,” proclaimed Life magazine in September 1951. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission announced a new allocation plan that would open up UHF bands for television broadcasts in addition to existing VHF bands, increasing the number of available channels from 12 to 82 and making coast-to-coast transmission practical.

Keep Reading ↓Show less

This article is for IEEE members only. Join IEEE to access our full archive.

Join the world’s largest professional organization devoted to engineering and applied sciences and get access to all of Spectrum’s articles, podcasts, and special reports. Learn more →

If you're already an IEEE member, please sign in to continue reading.

Membership includes:

  • Get unlimited access to IEEE Spectrum content
  • Follow your favorite topics to create a personalized feed of IEEE Spectrum content
  • Save Spectrum articles to read later
  • Network with other technology professionals
  • Establish a professional profile
  • Create a group to share and collaborate on projects
  • Discover IEEE events and activities
  • Join and participate in discussions

How the Graphical User Interface Was Invented

Three decades of UI research came together in the mice, windows, and icons used today

18 min read
Horizontal
Stylized drawing of a desktop computer with mouse and keyboard, on the screen are windows, Icons, and menus
Getty Images/IEEE Spectrum
DarkGray

Mice, windows, icons, and menus: these are the ingredients of computer interfaces designed to be easy to grasp, simplicity itself to use, and straightforward to describe. The mouse is a pointer. Windows divide up the screen. Icons symbolize application programs and data. Menus list choices of action.

But the development of today’s graphical user interface was anything but simple. It took some 30 years of effort by engineers and computer scientists in universities, government laboratories, and corporate research groups, piggybacking on each other’s work, trying new ideas, repeating each other’s mistakes.

Keep Reading ↓Show less
{"imageShortcodeIds":[]}