Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now


SMPTE Honors David Sarnoff

Society names him to posthumous honorary membership

David Sarnoff at the 1939 World's Fair in the debut of television broadcasting
RCA President David Sarnoff at the dedication ceremony for the RCA Building at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York, the debut of television broadcasting. Photo: Getty Images/Bettman

SMPTE has named radio and television innovator David Sarnoff to posthumous honorary membership, the society’s highest accolade.

Honorary membership recognizes individuals who have “performed distinguished service in the advancement of engineering in motion pictures, television or in the allied arts and sciences.”

NBC was incorporated by RCA on this date (Sept. 9) in 1926.

The long list of notable names on SMPTE’s Honor Roll includes Walt Disney, Ray Dolby, Thomas Edison, Lee de Forest and Vladimir Zworykin.

“David Sarnoff is added to the Honor Roll for his visionary leadership in the advancement and implementation of color television and other communication technologies,” the organization sated.

[Read a bio of David Sarnoff.]

“Throughout his career as both a business and technology leader, David Sarnoff had material impact on advancing television and the allied arts and sciences. His understanding that radio signals could be ‘broadcast’ to many, and not be limited to a point-to-point communications channel revolutionized communication to the masses, starting with radio and later through the development and advancement of television.”

It noted that Sarnoff established “a highly productive and successful research and development lab to fuel innovation of new communications technologies. His support of innovation at the RCA Laboratories in Princeton, N.J., led to the establishment of the U.S. color TV standard in 1953 that served as the fundamental approach of monochrome-compatible color TV systems around the world.”

SMPTE also announced a number of other awards and scholarships.