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1968 Chronokey Chronomedia index
Numbers after entries link to the list of references.


links and notes
  Cultural highlights | Predictions made this year  
January 1  UK colour television licence is introduced at £10, double the black and white fee—technically the basic £5 licence plus a £5 colour television supplement. > 1969
January 1  In the USA ABC radio splits into four separate networks for entertainment, contemporary music, information and FM.  
February 14  Protestors against the closure of the Cinémathèque Française in Paris, including a number of leading New Wave film-makers, are confronted and dispersed by 30 busloads of riot police. > May 17
February  Television service starts in Jordan. Television service start dates
February  Arvin Industries in US introduces prototype fixed-head colour videotape recorder. It uses 4,800 ft of half-inch tape compressed in a self-threading cartridge running at 160 ips.  
February  Secretary-general of the Cinémathèque Française, Henri Langlois, is dismissed on instructions from the French Minister of Culture, André Malraux. The issue becomes a cause célèbre as the industry—including many famous directors from around the world—and much of the political left backs Langlois (in demonstrations pressaging les évènemements of the coming May). François Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard make a short film for screening in cinemas, urging audiences to support Henri Langlois. [Source: Cinémathèque Française] Langlois is reinstated, with reduced funding, in April.  
March 14  Gratuitous advertising for Radio Free Europe is suspended by CBS television in the US because the commercials do not identify the station as CIA funded.  
March 28  Canadian government publishes a White Paper on satellite communications.  
April 1  Canadian Radio-Television Commission (CRTC) is established by the new Broadcasting Act.  
April 22  US Supreme Court rules in Ginsburg v. New York that material not obscene for adults can still be obscene for children and, in Interstate Circuit v. Dallas, that film classification schemes are constitutional if clearly defined.  
May 17  An organisation called Etats Généraux du Cinéma is formed by film-makers and all branches of the French film industry to develop the debate started during the protests about the closure of the Cinémathèque Française. > May 18
May 17  First European satellite, ESRO 2B, is launched.  
May 18  Film-makers protesting at the French state's treatment of the film industry, led by François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, Claude Lelouch and others, invade the stage at the Cannes Film Festival in the name of the Etats Généraux du Cinéma and the Cinémathèque Defence Committee and demand the closure of the festival.  
May 20  Harlech Television (HTV), the new ITV contractor for Wales, comes on air two months early when the previous incumbent, TWW, closes ahead of schedule.  
June 9  Canada’s four main political party leaders participate in a televised debate prior to the federal elections on June 25.  
July 28  New UK Independent Television programme contracts come into operation at 24:00. ABC Television and Associated-Rediffusion lose their licences but are merged to form Thames Television, which broadcasts to London on weekdays. ATV loses London at weekends, replaced by London Weekend Television (LWT); Yorkshire Television (YTV) takes over Granada’s previous franchise east of the Pennines.  
July  Television service starts in Equatorial Guinea. Television service start dates
July  Canadian government announces a policy of opening up UHF frequencies for television broadcasting.  
August 21  Soviet Union resumes jamming of Voice of America radio transmissions after a five-year hiatus.  
August  Strike by Association of Cinematograph Television and allied Technicians (ACTT) blacks out live output of UK Independent Television (ITV).  
September 25  ITA Television Gallery exhibition opens at ITA headquarters, opposite Harrods’ department store in London.  
September  International Broadcast Institute (later International Institute of Communications) formed.  
October 7  Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) introduces its Code of Self-Regulation for cinema film releases with four grades of classification: G (general), M (mature), R (restricted, no unaccompanied children) and X (over 16 only). The code comes into effect on November 1.  
October 12  BBC field-store standards converter is used to relay Olympic Games television transmissions from Mexico to Europe.  
October 14  Live television pictures are transmitted from the interior of the Apollo 7 spacecraft.  
October 24  UK government's Home Affairs Committee rejects an application from Pay-TV Ltd to extend its experiment on cable systems in London and Sheffield. Pay-TV, which claims it has already spent £1m on development and project management, wishes to raise the limit on subscriptions from 10,000 to 250,000 by 1976 within an extended licence running to 1978. The Committee says that continuation of pay TV could damage the 'public service concept of broadcasting'. The Queen's uncle, Lord Mountbatten (father-in-law of Lord Brabourne, the project's instigator), blames prime minister Harold Wilson personally for the rejection. The Home Affairs Committee's argument for rejection
November 6  Heavily restricted and thus unsuccessful UK pay TV experiment in London and Sheffield cuts its losses and closes.  
December 12  Over-the-air subscription television (pay TV) is formally adopted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as a regular US broadcast service.  
December 28  Columbia re-organises as Columbia Pictures Industries.  
December  Television service starts in Libya. Television service start dates
•  EMI buys a stake in Associated British Picture Corporation by acquiring the remaining Warner Bros shares and launches a bid for full control.  
•  BBC Television buys the rights to British Lion’s feature film library.  
•  Television service starts in war-torn Vietnam. Television service start dates
•  Spending on television commercials for the US presidential campaign amounts to $27m, compared with $10m in 1960.  
•  White light 'rainbow' transmission hologram developed by Stephen A Benton (1941- ) at Polaroid Corporation, Cambridge, Massachusetts—the first kind of hologram that can be viewed in almost any light conditions, albeit within limited viewing angle.  
•  Four large (612mm x 455mm) holograms are made for promotional display purposes at General Motors Building in New York by Conductron Corporation.  
•  Universal Studios starts its highly profitable studio tours.  
•  Matsushita markets the first videotape recording using the slant azimuth system.  
•  Ampex HS-100 video disc recorder with slow motion and stop-action facilities is used for first time by ABC during Olympic Games.  
•  CBS demonstrates its EVR system of video playback to the US press. > 1969
The quest for home video: EVR
•  First public demonstration in US of liquid crystal displays (LCDs) by RCA Laboratories.  
•  NHK in Japan begins work on high definition television (HDTV).  
•  ITV's costs rise by 9.5 per cent during the year. [0063] > 1969
•  Joint Industry Committee for Television Audience Research (JICTAR)’s British television audience research contract with TAM ends, replaced by one with Audits of Great Britain (AGB).  
•  BBC instals automatic camera line-up equipment (CLUE) in its studios.  
•  Manx Radio is bought by the Isle of Man government from the Isle of Man Broadcasting Company and Pye Radio, a subsidiary of Philips.  
•  Tele-Communications Inc (TCI) is formed in Denver on the basis of Community Television and Western Microwave. The wholly-owned subsidiaries are renamed Community Tele-Communications, Inc. and Western Tele-Communications.  
•  Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has its right to regulate community antenna (cable) television (CATV) upheld by the US Supreme Court, which upholds the FFC's decision in the so-called San Diego case. The FCC had ruled that cable operators in the top 100 television markets could not import distant signals of channels not available off air locally. Specifically, those in San Diego, California has wanted to import the signals of channels from Los Angeles, against the interests of television broadcasters in San Diego. The FCC sought to protect present and future UHF transmissions.  
•  The Radio Rentals UK retail chain is acquired by Thorn Electrical Industries and merged with DER.  
•  Television service starts in Surinam; radio service starts in Qatar. Television service start dates
•  First fiction film produced in Angola: Monangambé, directed by Sarah Maldoror, who also directed a short called Viva la Muerte.  
•  Setting up in New York and California of community video groups Raindance Foundation, Global Village, Videofreex, People’s Video Theatre and Ant Farm.  
•>  Attempt to establish Free Radio Andorra, a commercial radio station for reception in the UK on 428m MW, fails because of signal propagation problems.  
•  Chinese government bans books by 70 internationally celebrated authors, including Charles Dickens, Emile Zola, Honoré de Balzac, Mark Twain, Jonathan Swift, Aristotle, Plato and William Shakespeare. > 1978
•  Theatrical censorship in Britain, established in 1737, is abolished. The last production vetted by the Lord Chamberlain is a musical based on Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.  
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Page updated 29 June 2009
© David Fisher