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Soviet TV Set Production

Experimental TV broadcasts were held in Moscow in the 1930s on the system of low-frame rate TV-system. The first broadcasting of a moving image happened in 1932 and the first TV-center was organized in 1937 in Shabolovka. From 1938 this center provided experimental broadcasts. Regular television broadcasting began in 1939, with the first program being about the 18th Congress of the Communist Party. Further the war hampered active development of TV in the Soviet Union and TV center resumed its broadcasting in May 7, 1945 - two days before its ending and in December 15, 1945, it became the first in Europe to start regular broadcasting two days a week. The Central TV studio with daily broadcasting was established in 1951 on the base of Moscow TV Center. Daily day-time and evening programs started working in Kiev from 1952. State Committee on radio and TV broadcasting was established in 1957.

In the 1970s and 1980s, television become the preeminent mass medium. In 1988 approximately 75 million households owned television sets, and an estimated 93 percent of the population watched television. Moscow, the base from which most of the television stations broadcast, transmitted some 90 percent of the country's programs, with the help of more than 350 stations and nearly 1,400 relay facilities. Moscow projected some fifty hours of news, commentaries, education, and entertainment every day from its four channels.

About 20 percent of this programming consisted of news, the main program being "Vremia" (Time), a thirty-five- to forty-five-minute news program beginning at 9:00 P.M Moscow time. Between 80 and 90 percent of all families who owned televisions followed "Vremia" broadcasts. Normally, about two-thirds of reporting on each telecast consisted of domestic affairs, usually stories concentrating on the government, the economy, and important regional events. International news filled just under one-third of the format; three to four minutes were devoted to sports and two minutes to weather. Another news program, "Vokrug sveta" (Today in the World), which featured foreign affairs reports and short but in-depth news analyses, attracted from 60 to 90 million viewers every evening, particularly because it was broadcast both in the early evening and in the late evening.

The Soviet television schedule was highly irregular compared to that of the United States. Programs ranged in length anywhere from 5 minutes to 185 or more and therefore seldom started neatly on the half-hour; the daily program was flexible and often veered from the schedule announced in the printed television guide; regularly-scheduled programs such as Vremia, a hallowed and immovable staple of the programming day, were often sandwiched intrusively in between parts of long special-feature programs (unlike U.S. television, in which special programs, such as lengthy football games, tend more often to interrupt regularly-scheduled programs).

Almost every television program tried to include an ideological theme. Televised propaganda bombarded viewers in many forms; themes on the benefits of the economy were especially prevalent. Economic series, such as "Construction Sites of the Twelfth Five-Year Plan," "Winner in Socialist Emulation," and "How to Put Your Heart into Your Work," exhorted viewers to help to improve the economy. Patriotic films portrayed Soviet victories during World War II, and spy movies depicted the efforts of the country's security services to protect it from "imperialist threat." Other programs featured lectures ranging from high school class instruction to party virtues, nonviolent children's cartoons, some game shows highlighting proper social values, and sports competitions.

Commercial production of TK-1 television sets elaborated in the US was organized in Leningrad at the N.G. Kozitsky factory which made several hundreds of these TV sets in 1938-1939. The first television sets were maintained by television station workers and watched in public places. VRK and TK-1 were the first Soviet television sets produced on a large scale.

Founded in 1951, plant Rubin ["ruby"] began series output of television sets in 1952. The names such models as Sver ["north"], "screen", Almaz ["diamond"], "Yantar", "Moscow", "topaz" became the guarantee of quality for the user. In 1957 appeared the first television set under the stamp Rubin. In the 1970's the volume by output of the Rubin enterprise reached the one million mark. Technology under the stamp Rubin was exported to 65 countries.

During the 1980s, the wide availability of consumer electronics products in the West demonstrated a new phase of the Soviet Union's inability to compete, especially because Soviet consumers were becoming more aware of what they were missing. In the mid-1980s, up to 70 percent of the televisions manufactured by Ekran, a major household electronics manufacturers, were rejected by quality control inspection. The television industry received special attention, and a strong drive for quality control was a response to published figures of very high rates of breakdown and repair.

Soviet television sets tended to explode, because of faulty manufacturing. The surprising and alarming propensity of Russian receivers to blow up, and by extension the apprehension it causes in Soviet viewers, was one of the stranger features of Soviet life. By one estimate, sixty percent of all apartment fires in Moscow are caused by mass-produced Soviet television sets, which hada tendency to explode. Of the 715 apartment fires in Moscow in November 1987, 90 were blamed on exploding television sets, a statistic the Soviet press viewed as an alarming commentary on Soviet technology. Police said three television models notorious for defective wiring are being removed from the market, and millions of warning leaflets have been mailed to television owners.

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