From Scotland's Kirk of Shotts down to Rome, eight nations were tied together this week in a European TV network. The first image seen simultaneously in the eight Western European countries was an offshore view of the storied Castle of Chillon in Switzerland, which has been immortalized by Byron's poem and by untold thousands of tourist postcards.
That same evening, viewers in Great Britain, Italy, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium and Switzerland also saw a 50-minute program telecast from the Vatican, including views of St. Peter's, of Michelangelo's Pietà in the basilica and of the Raphael rooms in the Vatican Museum. The show concluded in the Hall of the Consistory (where few viewers would ordinarily be permitted in person) for a brief address by the Pope in five languages.
The visits to Chillon and the Vatican inaugurated a month's telecasting by an international exchange network called Eurovision. The idea developed as a result of the successful telecast to France of Queen Elizabeth's coronation ceremonies. France's Jean D'Arcy urged international transmissions on a larger scale last Christmas, but the project was held up by technical difficulties. Not all the problem are solved even now. France and Britain use different standards, and both of them differ from the European norm of a 625-line image. Four "converter" stations have been set up: at Dover, to deal with programs coming into Britain; in Paris, where pictures are converted to the French system; and at Lopik, The Netherlands, and Baden, Germany, where the picture goes to 625 lines. An even tougher problem has been mastering the variety of electrical voltages used by the various nations. Altogether, the system links Europe with 44 transmitters and 4,000 miles of cables and relay stationssome perched on such inaccessible peaks as the nearly 11,000-foot Jungfraujoch in the Alps.
Some future programs: Queen Elizabeth's review of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve in London, with a flypast of 100 planes down the Mall toward Buckingham Palace; the third round of Davis Cup matches from Paris; Queen Juliana of The Netherlands at a garden party; the world-championship soccer game between France and Yugoslavia; Siena's historic Palio horse race.