Obviously the original Star Trek presented a number of amazing technologies (even if it wasn't necessarily the genesis of all of them).

Today we have amazingly huge high-resolution screens becoming more common all the time. But in the sixties, color television was relatively new and rare and reproduced color poorly, and TVs were small, bulky, curved and low resolution.

enter image description here

enter image description here

Did the audience of the time view the viewscreen on the Enterprise bridge as novel and amazing, or merely as a logical extension of contemporary technology?

  • 3
    Anecdotally, two generations of my family were glued to TOS when it was on television in the sixties-- and while they spend lots of time talking about the new technologies present in the show, a big color screen wasn't one of them. Aug 16 '18 at 18:49
  • 3
    Similarly anecdotally a Star Trek view screen was not that dissimilar to an 8mm home movie camera screen and projector that was relatively common back in the 1960s.
    – Sarriesfan
    Aug 16 '18 at 22:41
  • I think @Sarriesfan hit the nail on the head here. If you compare the viewscreen to TVs (especially colour TVs) of the time, it seems unusual (and "forward-thinking" when you further consider today's flat screens.) However, if you compare the TOS viewscreen to other technologies of the era, like projectors, it's not really that out of place, even for the 60s.
    – Steve-O
    Aug 17 '18 at 19:10

No, it was not. Viewscreens such as the one from Forbidden Planetenter image description here

were a staple of science fiction. And even though the one on the Enterprise bridge reminds us today of an enormous flatscreen television, its true resolution was unknown. After all, the only thing you see on a standard TV is standard definition, and that includes the main screen of the bridge. The only thing distinctly different was its aspect ratio, and that was based on movie theater screens.

Incidentally, those tube TVs reproduced color just fine. It was the way the picture tubes simulated standard definition with interlacing to get a resolution of 480i that looked terrible.


Large screen technologies were relative novels. The Largest tv in 1966 had a screen size of 21 inches and cost 399.95 US dollars (3,200 in todays money). The Enterprise view screen was not only presumably flat, had excellent high resolution and could image things from distances of thousands of kilometers zoom. It was certainly spectacular.

  • 3
    Do haveevidence to support any of your claims?
    – Skooba
    May 22 '20 at 11:21

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.