The earliest video cameras were based on the mechanical Nipkow disk and used in experimental broadcasts through the 1910s–1930s. All-electronic designs based on the video camera tube, such as Vladimir Zworykin's Iconoscope and Philo Farnsworth's image dissector, supplanted the Nipkow system by the 1930s. These remained in wide use until the 1980s, when cameras based on solid-state image sensors such as the charge-coupled device (CCD) and later CMOS active-pixel sensor (CMOS sensor) eliminated common problems with tube technologies such as image burn-in and streaking and made digital video workflow practical, since the output of the sensor is digital so it does not need conversion from analog.
The basis for solid-state image sensors is metal-oxide-semiconductor (MOS) technology, which originates from the invention of the MOSFET (MOS field-effect transistor) at Bell Labs in 1959. This led to the development of semiconductor image sensors, including the CCD and later the CMOS active-pixel sensor. The first semiconductor image sensor was the charge-coupled device, invented at Bell Labs in 1969, based on MOS capacitor technology. The NMOS active-pixel sensor was later invented at Olympus in 1985, which led to the development of the CMOS active-pixel sensor at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 1993.
Practical digital video cameras were also enabled by advances in video compression, due to the impractically high memory and bandwidth requirements of uncompressed video. The most important compression algorithm in this regard is the discrete cosine transform (DCT), a lossy compression technique that was first proposed in 1972. Practical digital video cameras were enabled by DCT-based video compression standards, including the H.26x and MPEG video coding standards introduced from 1988 onwards.