In the country, television was introduced in 1960, making it the second country after Nigeria to launch such services in Sub Saharan Africa and the first in Southern Africa. It was operated by a private company called Rhodesian Television (RTV) with its major shareholders being South African companies.
RTV was taken over by the government and became part of the then state broadcaster, Rhodesian Broadcasting Corporation (RBC) in 1976.
Television was mainly accessible in major cities of the country and mostly to the white population. Soon after the launch in 1960, television became available in Salisbury now Harare and months later became available in Bulawayo. Back then, the station was broadcasting in black and white until 1982, when it upgraded to full color using the PAL B system.
After the country's independence on 18 April 1980, RTV became ZBC TV and RBC became ZBC. This followed after the country changed its name from Rhodesia, Southern Rhodesia, Zimbabwe Rhodesia to Independent Zimbabwe. The station is sometimes called ZTV, the abbreviation for Zimbabwe Television, a name that was officially used in the 2000s.
In the late 90s, the country's main opposition party MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai was launched. This saw the majority of the opposition supporters, local independent media houses, non-governmental organizations, and international media monitors accusing the state broadcaster of only reporting biased news favoring the ruling ZANU PF.