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Conflicting color TV standards

Photo caption: A General Executive Board Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Source: Steffens Corner Studios

RCA developed a high definition, all-electronic color TV system compatible with existing black-and-white TV.  The color transmissions were received in black and white by black-and-white TV’s.  However, the FCC approved color TV standards for commercial use that, unlike RCA’s, were incompatible with black and white television.  Viewers would have to choose between receiving only color transmissions or only black and white transmissions - but not both on the same TV set unless they invested in an adaptor that would only rebroadcast the color picture in black and white.

RCA had spent millions of dollars and decades on the development of color television, which suddenly was rendered commercially unfeasible by the FCC’s decision.