The beginnings of television, depending on what you read, date back to Philip Nipkow’s 1885 patent for the idea of a television scanner, Boris Rosing’s 1906 electronic picture tube, Vladimir Zworykin’s 1923 invention of the iconoscope, or Philo T.Farnsworth’s 1927 patent on an “image dissector.” But in America, television as a true, nationwide medium began when the networks first linked the country from coast to coast in 1951. In the half century since, the television industry has grown from a poor relation and spin-off of radio and vaudeville to the world’s premier entertainment medium. People throughout the developed world spend more time watching television than doing any other activity but for sleep and work.