Museum Hours:

Saturday 10-6

Sunday 12-5

Postwar American Television

Zenith Phonevision

1960s converter

Zenith had experimented with pay television as early as 1931. By 1947 they had a working system and in 1951 they introduced Phonevision. After receiving FCC approval, they began a 90 day test run with 300 families from the Lakeview-Lincoln Park area in Chicago. More information on Phonevision can be found at the Chicago Television History site.

Popular Mechanics, October 1947

Popular Science, October 1947

The following is from a 1954 Zenith publication The Zenith Story

Courtesy of Al Anderson




Zenith equipped some of its 1951 model sets with a connector for Phonevision. Below are pages from a Zenith owners manual.

From the 1953 Zenith Corp. Annual Report

The Phonevision system was operational on station WHCT in Hartford, CT for at least two years, ending in 1969. The station would run conventional (non-subscription) entertainment programming during the day, and then switch to Phonevision-encoded programming in the evening.