I am sure many of our, dare I say, older readers will not only remember the days before TV at all, but also the days of black and white TV, then finally the arrival of colour TV.
Personally I remember watching black and white TV at my grandparents and watching my personal favourite at the time Lenny the Lion, (I am showing my age), on a small screen circa 12 inch TV.
But enough of the reminiscing, this article is intended to concentrate on the technology involved. In those days the electronics consisted of valves, these glass tubes glowed orange if you looked in to the back of the television and provided the switching and amplification need to operate the television. The valves were about the size of a modern ‘candle bulb’.
The valves were like light bulbs and relied on a filament to work, and like light bulbs they failed fairly frequently and needed replacing by a technician. A typical TV maybe had 8 to 10 valves in it acting as switches and amplifiers.
In 1947, the transistor was born, the valve had suddenly been shrunk to an item the size of a couple of peas, and required no filament, didn’t glow, and was very reliable.
In 1966 the Apollo space craft has 12,300 transistors, and cost a small fortune…..
A modern computer chip the CPU, central processing unit, essentially the computers brain contains not just millions but billions, yes I mean billions, of transistors on a chip about twice the size of a postage stamp. For instance the new X-Box One games machine, price around £400, has a CPU with 5,000,000,000 transistor switches/amplifiers. Quite unbelievable…..