• Mullard introduce the 110-degree C.R.T.
  • The vast majority of new sets were 17-inch models.
  • 8.9 million TV licenses by the end of the year.

Over the year, 17" sets accounted for 83% of sales, an increase of 11% over the previous year. Not suprisingly sales of smaller 14" sets almost halved from 20% to 12%, however suprisingly 21" sets also declined from 8% to 5%.

According to an survey published in March, there were still some 600,000 unconverted channel I sets in the London area, of which 62% were not suitable for modification.

Two further ITV areas begin transmission during the year. On January the 14th, television Wales and the West (TWW) began covering west Wales and the west of England. Then on the 30th August Southern Television began transmissions to the south of England area, transmitting from Chiltern Down not far from the BBC's transmitter at Rowridge.

1958 Radio Show

Picture of Vidor transistor television [8K]
Experimental Vidor transistorised TV.

Two firms displayed experimental transistor televisions. The first, Vidor, demonstrated a battery-operated receiver with an 8½-inch screen and using 29 transistors. The second, Mullard, showed a design with a 17" screen and using special magnetic method of scan mangnification using quadroplue magnets. It is a shame that I can find no details of this syetm as it apparently reduced the required scanning power to approximately 1 watt.

There were two key design issues regarding the use of transistors in televions of the time. The first was the power needed to drive the scan coils whilst the second was the design of tuners for the VHF band. Mullard clearly had an advantage, being transistor manufacturer, and produced a set covering both bands I and III whereas the Video was band-I only.

The 17" C.R.T was clearly seen as the minium standard for new televisions, with only one exhibitor displaying a set with a smaller screen.

A number of manufactures showed 110 degree C.R.T. designs but there were as yet no commercial designs utilsing them.

In previous years it was not uncommon for manufacturers to include a VHF FM radio with a television. Since the television had to cover bands I and III and F.M. broadcasts were made on band-II the existing tuner could be easilly adapted and so the only real cost was that of a simple F.M. demodulator. However such systems were constrained to use the television's wideband I.F. stages which lead to poor selectively. This was beginning to be recognised by several manufacturersat the show who now included completely seperate F.M. radio tuners. Bonkers as ever though, Murphy tried to do things differently with their model V330 by using a double superhet design for F.M radio (and TV sound) reception.

The show saw the introduction of push-button TV tuning by Bush who had introduced it in their model TV80 transportable.



Following the introduction of the 110-degree C.R.T. in America earlier in the year, Mullard introduce their first 110-degree CRT's, the AW43-88 (17in.) and AW53-88 (21").

70-degree C.R.T. [8K] 90-degree C.R.T. [7K] 110-degree C.R.T. [6K]
70deg - c1955 90deg - c1957 110deg - 1959
Depth :-

23in (21in C.R.T.)
Depth :-

19in (21in C.R.T.)
Depth :-

14½in (21in C.R.T.)
Pic of first British 110-degree set
1958 Pye PV110
These new C.R.T.s significantly reduced the required depth of a cabinet, with many manufacturers making full use of the improvement with their transportable sets. The first British set to use this tube was the Pye PV110 released in December which was soon followed by other manufacturers in the following year.
Transportable TV [4K]
1959 Sobell TPS180
Link to Wireless World artical on the PV110 [167K].

The wider deflection angle required an increase in deflection angle. This was partially compensated for by reducing the diameter of the neck of the tube, allowing the deflection coils to be placed nearer the electron beam. As a result existing line-ouput valves used by 90-degree tubes were still deemed capable of driving the new tubes, however for frame-output duties Mullard introduced a new valve - the PL84.

Meanwhile, at the start of the year Kolster-Brandes introduced a 24" model with a 90-degree Brimar C.R.T. (model PV100 "Regina").


Colour testcard used during experimental transmissions [11K]
One of the test cards used during the late 1950's colour
trials (though would originally been in colour of course!)

The series of colour test tranmissions ceased in April. Whilst a lot of valuable experience had been gained but mainly using programmes that had originated in the studio. It was therefor decided that s series of outside broadcast trials were necessary.

The first of these took place at the Festival Hall on June 25th 1958. Sadly any attempt to catch the pictures of dancers were a disaster due to a lack of camera sensitivity.

The second test covered the Military Tattoo in West London between the 11th and 13th August, an event naturally giving lots of both colour and movement. Sadly the weather was aweful, the resulting poor lighting again showing that cameras were still not sensitive enough for dependable outside broadcasts.

Further regular experimental broadcasts begin in October which continued until the early 60's. Their main purpose differed from the previous tests in tat they were intended for the benefit of industry engaged in colour television research and development. The morning transmissions, transmitted monday to friday, consisted of colour slides alternating every 15 minutes with test card 'C'. Afternoon transmissions occured between tuesday and thursday and consisted of a 30 minute program that originated from 35mm film.

Given the problems with colour camera sensitivity it was encouraging that in December a new colour "vidicon" camera was demonstrated.


In December the BBC reaches the further north to the Orkneys via two temporary transmitters, providing coverage for around 43,000 people. The first is sited at Thurmster (near Wick), comming into service on the 15th and using channel 1. This was in turn picked up by the second transmitter at Netherbutton in the Orkneys which retransmitted the service on channel 5.

News From Abroad

The USA now had 530 stations which represented 45% of world total. 42 million sets had been installed, with 84% of homes having TV (more than the percentage that had a fixed bath!). ["Television Factbook", 1958]

It was now five years since Japan first began regular broadcasts. The number of sets in use had now reached the 1 million mark, with 50,000 additional sets being manufactured each month, with over 70% of them equipped with 14-inch screens. In addition some 10,000 television kits were being sold during the year. There were now around seven hours of broadcasts each day, ot which around 20% was sport. From day one the medium's potential for education had been recognised, and now some 1000 schools in Japan were able to receive the special TV broadcasts.

Television services start in Perú, China (march), Chile , El Salvador and India.

<1957 Gallery of Sets from 1958 1959>

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J.Evans 2005
Last updated
3rd October 2005