wasn't able to verify Dr. Baker's (VP of GE) prediction in 1957
of what the state of the television industry would be by 1960. He said
10 million sets would be sold in 1960 vs. 7.5 million in 1957. Some
recent sources claim there were as many as
52 million TV sets
total by 1960, so he might have been right. Transoceanic
scattering techniques were thought to be the method of choice for television
broadcasts, but we know that ultimately relay satellites would win out.
It wasn't until 1962 that the
bird carried the first TV signals, however. "Truly portable" transistorized
TVs would be appearing on store shelves within the next couple years.
One in forty American worked in the electronics manufacturing and service
fields at the time. I'm guessing the ratio is a lot lower today with
only a small percentage of any kind of manufacturing occurring domestically.
What's Ahead for the TV Industry
Dr. W. R. G. Baker takes optimistic view, expects growth, but also change.
In his report to the fall meeting of the Institute of Radio
Engineers and the Radio-Electronics-Television Manufacturers Association,
Dr. W. R. G. Baker, president of RETMA and vice-president of the General
Electric Company, anticipated a bright future for all facets of the
TV industry. He accompanied his predictions with the observation that
many forecasts for the electronics industry made in recent years turned
out to be not optimistic enough.
Since Dr. Baker was unable
to appear in person, his report was delivered by Arthur V. Loughren,
president of IRE. Some of the highlights, statistical and non-statistical,
included the following "guesstimates":
As compared to about
7 1/2 million TV sets being sold annually now, about 10 million a year
will be the annual sale by 1960.
Closed-circuit industrial TV
will quadruple over the next four years, with sales, now at the $6 million
mark, reaching $24 million by 1960.
With the rapid development
of scatter transmission techniques, trans-oceanic TV broadcasts are
only a matter of time.
With many other nations throughout the
world ready to begin TV broadcasting for the first time in 1957, the
sales potential for foreign markets will continue to forge upward.
Truly portable transistorized TV sets will be on the market
within two years.
Color TV will always cost more than monochrome
receivers, and there will surely be no drastic downward revision of
color prices in the immediate future, although eventually less expensive
color sets are in the offing.
Looking into the immediate future,
1956 will end up as one of the best years for TV receiver sales despite
the slackening off that characterized the first 9 months.
the u.h.f.-v.h.f. dispute, Dr. Baker advised a go-slow attitude until
a thorough study has been made.
Stating that there has been
no precedent in industrial history for the growth of electronics, Dr.
Baker pointed out, "Ten years ago it was an industrial infant and now
it provides employment for one-and-three-quarter million Americans,
which represents one person in every 40 in our total work force. And
the amazing thing is that 75 percent of these jobs didn't exist just
10 years ago." Posted