History of CRT TV Color Bars

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History of CRT TV Color Bars

Origins of CRT TV Color Bars

The color bars we see on CRT TVs originated from a test pattern created by Norbert D. Larky and David D. Holmes of RCA Laboratories. First published in 1951, this pattern was designed to calibrate and adjust color televisions to ensure accurate color reproduction.

Evolution of the Standard

Over time, the original test pattern evolved into the SMPTE color bars, a more complex standard introduced by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE). This became a key tool for video engineers to assess how an NTSC video signal has been altered by recording or transmission and to make necessary adjustments.

Modern Relevance

Despite their analog origins, color bars remain relevant in the digital age. They are used to maintain accurate chroma and luminance levels not just in CRT displays but also in modern LCD, LED, plasma, and other video displays. The color bars have been adapted to test HDTV signals as well, proving their enduring utility in the television industry