In 1950, CBS introduced a "field sequential" color TV broadcast system that used a mechanical spinning color wheel on their cameras and receivers. After a spirited competition with a rival RCA color system, the FCC initially adopted the CBS system in 1950. But the CBS color broadcasts could not be received on the millions of black and white receivers already in use, and vice versa. In other words, the CBS color system was not compatible with black and white programs or receivers.

Following successful demonstrations of a "compatible color" system developed by NBC parent RCA, the FCC reversed their decision in 1953 and dumped the CBS system in favor of the RCA system. RCA's all-electronic process was much simpler and reliable and compatible with black and white. It is our standard today (also known as the NTSC color system). But after more than 50 years the RCA-NTSC system is being replaced by the digital "ATSC" system. Analog NTSC broadcasts were scheduled to end February 17, 2009, but millions of Americans were unprepared for the big switch. The revised analog cutoff date is June 12, 2009.

CBS color broadcasts were rare until the mid-1960's. Other than an occasional special broadcast grudgingly with RCA color equipment, chagrined CBS executives maintained a black and white program schedule. When ABC expanded its colorcasting schedule to compete with NBC in the early 60's, CBS had no choice but to join the party.

Prior to becoming a "full color" network, CBS, like NBC and ABC, displayed a brief announcement at the beginning of their color broadcasts.

click your browser's BACK button to see MORE network color TV logos
or click here