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These broadcasts were elaborate, usually opened by a local politician, and featured many people appearing on camera – singing, playing instruments, and giving demonstrations of cooking, sport, and magic tricks.
Buoyed by the success of these tests, in March 1950, Astor embarked upon a tour of 200 regional towns with a mobile broadcast unit, giving a series of 45 minute demonstration programs, allowing local performers and members of the public to appear on camera.
The programs included news headlines, still pictures and silent movies such as the temperance film Horrors of Drink.
The Commonwealth Government granted a special licence and permission to conduct experimental television by VK4CM, in July 1934. Television commenced in the United States and in the United Kingdom after the end of World War II.
British TV was dominated by the government-created broadcasting corporation, the BBC, which derived most of its revenue from compulsory viewer licence fees, with some government allocation.
Videotape technology was still in its infancy when Australian television was launched in 1956 and video recorders did not become widely available to Australian TV stations until the 1960s.
For the first few years, the only available method for capturing TV programs was the kinescope process, in which a fixed movie camera filmed broadcasts screened on a specially adjusted TV monitor.
In January 1953, in response to increasing pressure from the commercial lobby, the Menzies government amended the Broadcasting Act 1948 to allow for the granting of commercial licences, thus providing the legislative framework for a dual system of TV ownership.
This structure was directly modeled on the long-established two-tiered structure of Australian broadcast radio—one tier being the stations in a new national, government-funded TV network run by the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC), and the other tier being privately owned commercial stations that drew their income from advertising revenue.