Science & Tech


Hey, have you ever wondered about how the live television news anchors read the all the news while watching in the camera ? Do they all memorise the whole news everyday ? These are some common questions come in our mind while watching a news channel.


Teleprompter, have you heard this word before ? Well, this article will help you in knowing the magic behind it. We will know how this all becomes possible with the help of technology. Let’s deep dive into the article to grab the wonderful knowledge.

In simple words, the technology which helps the news anchors and live television hosts during a live show is known as teleprompter. The another word used for teleprompter is autocue. Now, what this teleprompter is and why it’s called autocue. We will discuss all the things related to it in the article.

Okay, the word prompter is used for a person who will be supposed to available in the audience, and assists the actors or public speakers by reminding the missing words or sentences during the act. As the technology is implemented everywhere, the man behind the camera is also replaced by the technology. And that responsible technology is known as teleprompter.

We can say that, it is a display device that prompts the speaker with an electric visual text of a script or speech.


Let’s discuss the history and need of the teleprompter. According to wikipedia the first teleprompter device was built in the year 1950 by an electrical engineer Hubert Schlafly. That was a mechanical device and operated by a hidden technician. The technician operates the device from behind the camera.

The first teleprompter was designed for the Republican National Convention in Chicago. The former president Herbert hoover used the speech teleprompter to address the 1952 Republican National Convention.


Nowadays the teleprompter is a common device mostly used in many shows by great leaders and public speakers. We all know that our Honourable Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi is a very great speaker. But, you will be able to see him using teleprompter device in many of his public interactions.

Now a question may be arises that why the great speakers also use teleprompter in many of their public shows or speeches. The reason behind it is so simple. During the shows the speakers uses some facts for the better explanation of some topics.

There will always a probability of human mistake, however the speech is prepared by them before the interaction. Even a small error in fact will leads to a large controversy. To eliminate the error or mistake, this device is used by some great speakers also.

Invention Story

There is a famous quote we all know, “Necessity is the mother of invention”. It means that there will be always a need or necessity behind an invention. The same thing works behind the invention of teleprompter.

In 1948 there was an actor named, Fred Barlon Jr. He faces a problem in memorising the lengthy lines of the script. The another problem is the new lines to memorise every week. It was not easy, to memorise the script and speak the lines correctly during the act.

The solution available for this problem at that time was cue cards. The cue cards are basically cards with the lines of script written on them. For long scripts the number of cards also increases and makes it bulky.

Barton suggests an idea to overcome this problem. The idea was to create a motorized cue card machine. The electrical engineer Hubert Schlafly quickly created a mechanically operated device. The device was able to show the cue card in the form of slides and was operated by a technician to change the cards. The technician operates the machine from behind the camera.

The telepromptercomp was founded by Kann, Schlafly and Borton. However, the first patent for the teleprompter was filed on 21st April 1949 by Telepromtercorp.


Let us know the working of teleprompter device.

The teleprompter consists of camera, mirror and a displaying monitor. The camera is obviously used for the recording purpose. The mirror and monitor is used to display the script in front of the speaker.

The script is playing on the monitor and reflecting through the mirror it is showing exactly in the front of camera. It helps the reader to read the script in front of camera.

You can better understand the working of the teleprompter from the image given below.

  1. Camera – To record the speaker.
  2. Shroud or hood – So the reader can easily read the text.
  3. Display Monitor – Where the script is displayed.
  4. One way mirror – Used to reflect the script from the monitor.
  5. Image of Subject – Recording through the camera.
  6. Image of script – Reflected from the mirror.


Overall we can say that, teleprompter is an amazing device. It provides an extra ease to the speaker during a live event. The mirror and the screen are fitted in front of camera in a special manner, that’s why the camera can record the subject without any problem.

There are many types of teleprompter. The text is displayed with the help of computer on the monitor. The playing speed of the script can be customized. The playing speed depends on the reader.

To maintain the eye contact with the audience through the camera, the screen marks the point alligned with the camera. The marked point helps the reader to maintain the eye contact with the camera. Reader can read and maintain the eye contact at the same time.

From the perspective of audience, the reader looks so confident that no one can say the host or speaker is using any assist.

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