|This is an important document as it describes the system used for the world’s
first regular high definition public television service in 1936.
It is not an overview. The document describes the system in great technical
detail. It is therefore a significant record of broadcast technology history.
As the title shows, the system was developed by Marconi and E.M.I. but the
document was produced by D. C Birkinshaw who was the BBC Engineer-in-Charge at
the London Television Station, Alexandra Palace from 1936 to 1939. There are
twelve sections describing various aspects and they are dated from 1937 to 1939,
with some amendments up to 1950.
They cover the entire broadcast chain from camera to aerial, with the exception
of the transmitter's RF amplifier (but the modulator is included).
My intention to publish this document was posted on bbceng in 2016 and the
reaction was entirely positive. However, if you know of any concerns or objections please let me
know (see Publication Policy). The intellectual property in the document came from Marconi and E.M.I.
These companies no longer exist, but their major contribution to television
engineering is duly acknowledged. As the system was created in the 1930s it is
unlikely that anyone involved is still alive, but their descendants should be
very proud of the tremendous achievements.
I would also like to pay tribute to the author Douglas Birkinshaw. I don't
know how much assistance he had, but the result is a highly commendable piece of
work. Of course he went on to produce, with S.W Amos, the important series of
text books: Television Engineering - Principles and Practice.
This link goes to
a page which includes a video of him in his later years.