Date of the introduction of colour television by country

Posted in History

This is a list of when the first colour television broadcasts were transmitted to the general public. Non-public field tests and closed circuit demonstrations are not included.  

Most television researchers appreciated the value of colour image transmission, with an early patent application in Russia in 1889 for a mechanically-scanned colour system showing how early the importance of colour was realized.

John Logie Baird demonstrated the world's first colour transmission on July 3, 1928, using scanning discs at the transmitting and receiving ends with three spirals of apertures, each spiral with filters of a different primary colour; and three light sources at the receiving end, with a commutator to alternate their illumination.

In 1938 shadow mask technology for colour television was patented by Werner Flechsig in Germany.

Colour television was demonstrated at the International radio exhibition Berlin in 1939. On August 16, 1944, Baird gave a demonstration of a fully electronic colour television display. His 600-line colour system used triple interlacing, using six scans to build each picture. 

Country     Date     Network or Channel     Colour System     Notes    
Argentina 1980   PAL  
Australia 1975   PAL  
Austria 1969 ORF PAL  
Bangladesh 1980 BTV PAL  
Belgium 1971 RTBF & BRT PAL / SECAM  
Brazil 1972 Rede Globo PAL  
Bulgaria   ?NT SECAM  
Cambodia 1986   PAL  
Canada 1966 CBC NTSC Colour broadcasts from the United States were available since 1953
China   CCTV PAL  
Cuba 1958 Canal 12 NTSC Ended in 1959; returned in 1975
Cyprus 1982 CyBC SECAM  
Denmark 1969 Danmarks Radio PAL  
Finland 1969 YLE & MTV PAL  
France 1967 ORTF SECAM Introduced on La Deuxième Chaîne at 2:15pm (14:15) on October 1, 1967
East Germany 1969 DFF SECAM Introduced on October 3, 1969 on the new 2nd television channel launched for that purpose on behalf of the 20th anniversary of the GDR on October 7. The television tower in East Berlin was also opened that day.
West Germany 1967 ARD & ZDF PAL Introduced on both channels simultaneously at 9:30am on August 25, 1967 with a symbolic launch button pressed by Willy Brandt on the International Radio and Television Fair in West Berlin.
Greece 1979 ERT SECAM  
Hong Kong 1970 TVB PAL  
Hungary 1969 Magyar Televízió SECAM  
Iceland 1976 Ríkisútvarpið PAL  
India 1982 All India Radio PAL Introduced for the Asian Games
Ireland 1972 RTÉ PAL Introduced for the Eurovision Song Contest 1971 in Dublin on April 3, 1971. Colour broadcasts from United Kingdom available since 1967/69.
Israel 1981 IBA PAL Introduced for the Eurovision Song Contest 1979 in Jerusalem on March 31, 1979. Colour broadcasts from Jordan availale since 1974.
Italy 1977 RAI PAL Introduction temporarily stalled due to political turmoil. colour broadcasts from Yugoslavia (PAL) were available since 1971, from France (SECAM) since 1967, and from Austria (PAL) since 1969. Privately operated transmitter chains made these signals available as far as Rome.
Japan 1960 NHK NTSC-J  
Jordan 1974 JTV PAL  
Luxembourg 1972 CLT PAL / SECAM The then only channel for audiences in Luxembourg, France and Belgium originally used the French/Belgian 819-line B&W standard. After Belgium and France opted for different colour systems, Luxembourg broadcast two versions of the same channel. All later RTL channels aimed at French, German and Dutch speaking audiences in Europe adopted the standards of their target markets.
Mexico 1963 XHGC-TV NTSC  
Monaco 1973 TMC PAL / SECAM  
Mongolia     SECAM  
Netherlands 1968 NTS PAL  
New Zealand 1973 NZBC PAL Introduced for the 1974 British Commonwealth Games in Christchurch
Norway 1972 NRK PAL  
Pakistan 1982 PTV PAL  
Philippines 1966 ABS-CBN NTSC  
Poland 1971 TVP SECAM  
Portugal 1980 RTP PAL Introduced for the Portuguese version of Jeux Sans Frontieres on September 5, 1979
Romania 1983 RTVR PAL  
Singapore 1974 RTS PAL  
South Korea 1981 KBS NTSC  
Spain 1975 RTVE PAL  
Sudan 1978 Sudan TV PAL  
Sweden 1970 Sveriges Radio TV PAL  
Switzerland 1968 SSR PAL / SECAM  
Turkey 1984 TRT PAL  
United Kingdom 1967 BBC 2 PAL Introduced for Wimbledon coverage took place on July 1, 1967
United States 1950 CBS CBS Field sequential system; ended 1951
United States 1953 NBC & CBS NTSC Dot sequential system
USSR 1968   SECAM  
Vietnam 1978 VTV NTSC  
Yugoslavia 1971 JRT PAL  
Zimbabwe 1984 ZBC PAL

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