The Timeline - Major Milestones in TV History

1927
Philo Farnsworth transmits the first electronic television image and applies for a patent on the first complete electronic system, the Image Dissector. 

1939
RCA debuts the first black and white television to the public at the 1939 New York World's Fair. The first MLB and NFL games are broadcast on tv -  the Cincinnati Reds and the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field, Brooklyn, and the Brooklyn Dodgers vs. the Philadelphia Eagles. 

1948
Community Antenna Television (CATV) originates in the United States. Signals are sent by coaxial cable.

1950
Nielsen ratings begin tracking audience statistics for television, similar to how they had gathered statistics for radio previously.

1954
Color television kicks off with the first nationwide broadcast in the US: the Rose Bowl Parade.

1956
The first wireless remote control is introduced, allowing viewers to change the channel or turn the tv on or off remotely.

1969
720 million viewers watch live as Neil Armstrong walks on the moon.

1972
Half of all TVs in the United States are color. HBO becomes the first pay-TV network in the US.

1976
VHS recorders are introduced into homes.

1978
98% of US homes have at least one television. 

1981
HDTV is introduced in the US. MTV debuts as music video and reality programming for the 18-24 demographic.

1985
The first Blockbuster store opens in Dallas, TX.

1992
201 million TV sets in the United States, 900 million around the world.

1996
One billion TV sets worldwide. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 is passed: "To promote competition and reduce regulation in order to secure lower prices and higher quality services for American telecommunications consumers and encourage the rapid deployment of new telecommunications technologies."

1998
Netflix launches in April as a pay-per-rental service, offering 925 titles.

1999
TiVo launches, allowing users to pause live tv, record shows and skip over advertisements.

2001
The average American adult is watching 4 hours of television daily.

2002
10 million in the US are using cable technology for internet services. Adobe Flash changes the way video and other content is streamed online.

2005
YouTube is founded and launches its first video in April.

2006
Western Union officially discontinues telegram services.

2007
Hulu launches and Netflix expands to online streaming, in addition to the DVD and Blu-ray rental service. The first Apple TV ships out.

2008
YouTube makes agreement to allow companies to upload full movies and TV shows for users to watch to compete with Hulu. Roku rolls out its first devices, with Netflix streaming capabilities. Amazon renames their Amazon Unbox service as Amazon Video on Demand.

2009
All televisions go digital. Any analog television requires a convertor box to receive signal.

2010
Apple unveils the iPad, kicking off the year that tablets begin to gain traction. For the first time, "cord cutters" have an impact on cable subscriptions - pay television saw quarterly subscribers drop. NBC seeks to track viewing traffic for the 2010 Winter Olympics across platforms (multi-devices, multi-channels). YouTube ranks as the third most viewed website behind Google and Facebook.

2013
Netflix premieres its first original show, House of CardsPretty Little Liars has the most tweeted about episode in television history with their summer finale.

2014 
The Supreme Court rules that Aereo (on online live tv streaming provider) violated copyright law and is shut down. In the same year, CBS launched an internet TV service, and HBO and Showtime announce plans to make similar moves. The Season 4 premiere of Pretty Little Liars breaks another record, averaging 37,000 tweets per minute.

2015
DishNetwork launches Sling TV, and over-the-top television service to allow live tv channels to be streamed online. Game of Thrones is the most tweeted about show of the year.

2016
Netflix reports over 86 million users worldwide, with over 47 million in the United States.