The History of Flat Screen TV

Techwalla may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story. Learn more about our affiliate and product review process here.
Flat screen TV.
Image Credit: Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images

While many people consider flat-screen TVs to be a new technology, that is actually only half true. In fact, flat-panel televisions existed long before high-definition and Blu-ray DVD content made them famous.



Flat screen tv's were invented in the 1960's.
Image Credit: Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images

The first prototype flat screen TV was invented during the month of July in 1964. The invention would be made public later that same year.


Video of the Day


Invention idea.
Image Credit: Brian Jackson/iStock/Getty Images

The flat screen TV was co-invented by University of Illinois professors Donald Bitzer and Gene Slottow. The two men were assisted by graduate student Robert Wilson.



Plasma TV.
Image Credit: Ingram Publishing/Ingram Publishing/Getty Images

The flat-screen TV that the men invented output a single color, and used a technology that is similar to modern day plasma TVs. Therefore, it could be said that the plasma TV was the first flat-screen TV available. However, the resolution was very poor by modern standards.




Close up of TV.
Image Credit: Achim Prill/iStock/Getty Images

Bitzer and Slottow's design worked by sealing an inert gas between two glass panels. The inside of the top outer facing panel was coated with phosphor. Passing electricity through the gas could excite the phosphor in a controlled manner to produce a picture.



Old tv.
Image Credit: Brand X Pictures/Stockbyte/Getty Images

The first flat-screen TVs offered had few practical uses. They were monochrome displays and were extremely expensive to produce. Their main function was as proof-of-concept devices for future use.



Modern Day

Modern interior with flat screen TV.
Image Credit: antagonist74/iStock/Getty Images

Using the flat-screen TV technology pioneered by Bitzer and Slottow, a Panasonic engineer named Larry Weber invented the present-day version of the plasma TV. This television was full color and was very thin and lightweight. Panasonic began selling the TV in 1997.




Report an Issue

screenshot of the current page

Screenshot loading...