Kicking off our 50th anniversary year, we are publishing Broadcast @ 50: Technology this week, a special 17-page supplement published on the eve of exhibition and conference Broadcast Video Expo, examining the pivotal role that technology has had to play in the evolution of television over the last half century.

There's little doubt that events tend to help drive technical change, from the 1953 Coronation which drove the adoption of colour TV in the UK to the four-yearly impetus provided by the Olympic games, which has become a staging post in the adoption of high definition TV. The adoption of new innovations such as 3DTV will probably require a similar focus if it is to become the next big thing.

That's why it's important to remember that while technology has an increasingly important role to play in facilitating the provision of content in a fast-changing multiplatform landscape, the key to its success is whether it answers a clear consumer need.

Says BSkyB's director of strategic product development Gerry O'Sullivan: “The TV tech milestones that stand out include transitions to colour and to digital; the capability offered by PVRs like Sky+. The next stepping stone could be 3DTV.”

“The thread they all have in common is that technology has enabled us to give choice and quality to customers. The principal is always the same which is 'can I translate this new technology into something customers want?'”

The full supplement will be available with this week's edition of Broadcast, available from tomorrow (12 February). [Subscribe]