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Pre-war (1937) Radiolympia TV Receiver Survey

Brian Cuff
Noble V-Ratter Rest in Peace

I was recently sent this spreadsheet by a friend. It is taken from the Royal Television Society Journal on 1937 and is as the title suggests, a survey of all the TV sets on display, working, during the annual exhibition at Olympia - Radiolympia.  It makes for interesting reading hinting that manufacturers didn't always stick to the normal Black & White phosphors! I have posted this on another sites and other, unbiased comments, both positive and negative.

Anyway, the spreadsheet does make for interesting reading.


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Topic starter Posted : 25/03/2017 7:09 pm
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Illustrious V-Ratter Registered

As we discussed privately, Pye came out of that quite badly, didn't they?!

Posted : 25/03/2017 7:17 pm
Prominent V-Ratter Registered

It strikes me as strange that the Baird T5c is priced as low as 47 gns.

In the August 1937 edition of Television & Short Wave World the Baird advert also quotes the price of the T5 as 55 gns. Were they struggling to sell the T5 and T5c. Perhaps all the television manufacturers were struggling at this time.

From various sources there were by the outbreak of the war something like 18,000 sets (perhaps not all in the hands of customers) but in the October 15th edition of Wireless World 1937 there is a report from David Sarnoff, president of RCA on his visit to Radiolympia. He states that fewer than 100 television sets were sold during the show and that fewer than 2000 sets have been sold since the start of the television service and of those 2000 less than half were in the hands of the public.


Posted : 26/03/2017 10:06 am
Famed V-Ratter Registered

Surprised about the  Pye sets having poor definition, I wonder what went wrong. Sets damaged in transit, poor quality video feed?


Posted : 26/03/2017 6:49 pm
Prominent V-Ratter Registered

There is an interesting report published in the U.S. magazine "Electronics" in Oct 1937 by Lewis & Loughren of the Hazeltine Services Corp. that describes viewing the 14 different Radiolympia sets and some longer term assessment of the test broadcasts from the show.

The only off-screen photo by the reporters was taken with a 2 second exposure and is not worth repeating especially when you read their descriptive text. I suspect their photo was taken from a small screen GEC receiver also photographed in the article.

I have edited the text somewhat but probably the main point that was taken from the British system was the need for good DC restoration that did not exist in the American standards at the time.

If you prefer to see the full text rather than my edited version then see:



Posted : 28/03/2017 11:07 pm