Television- Its History and Future

By Megan Malewich

Word Count: 574


Television is a vital part of everyday communication for all people of the world. The history of television shows slow advances in technology with major impacts on the world and how people view it. These advances have affected everything from entertainment to politics. As Web 2.0 has come about, television has had to adapt to remain relevant.

Television has had a long run to where it is at currently. With its building blocks in Marconi’s wireless telegram(ebook, 362), TV began its major impact on the world in the 1950s, though the first television was created in 1927 by Philo Farnsworth and Vladimir Zworkin(ebook, 365). Originally with grainy, black and white images, television shows were thought to be merely visual radios. In 1953, color broadcasting became possible, this made watching a more enjoyable experience. A major breakthrough in television occurred when Ampex developed technology in 1956 for video recording and editing. Television went from all live shows to broadcasts that could be shown at different times. The development of Community Antenna Television (CATV) became the foundation for cable television and allowed more people from all over to have access to television. Cable and satellite, with fiber-optic cables allowed for cable channels to establish hundreds of different channels(ebook, 353). Finally, HDTV came about in the 2000s and allowed for better visuals. The slow development of TV was paired with 30 years of limited choices for viewers. But with advances in technology, starting with VCRs, then to DVDs and Tivo television watching boomed, there was an increase of 21% since these came out. Tivo, which is considered to be “multimedia time warping system”, and all these other technologies allowed for easier TV watching, which could be done on your own time. Series shows with complex story lines, like 24 became a trend (ebook, 330).

The advances of television lead to changes in entertainment and how we view the world. As visuals on tv’s became better and more important, hard news became softer (ebook, 308). Sitcoms, like All in the Family, became hits(ebook, 318) and national networks like NBC, CBS, ABC, and Fox News developed. Historical moments, like Neil Armstrong walking on the moon were able to be viewed by all (ebook, 426).

Television had a great effect on politics and political events. TV “became the dominant medium for political campaigns” (ebook, 206). The first nation conventions were aired in 1948. Channels like CNN began to pop up and add commentary to politics. The government became involved with the creation of the FCC, and mandated that both sides of political debate be heard with the Equal Time Rule (ebook, 135). The effects of TV on politics can be seen through the election of JFK over Nixon, after the televised debate in which JFK looked like a better candidate (ebook 211).


One of the first developments seen in television that showed adaption to Web 2.0 was American Idol.  The viewers were active in the results of the show by voting off contestants. But as technologies developed TV developed, as well. Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV and the like are all examples of TV blending itself with Web 2.0. More and more television watching is done over the internet. There are 17 million users of streaming devices. Netflix has developed to allow viewers to have taste profiles and interact with their shows. These sites bring TV to the mobile world through streaming anywhere and everywhere. TV has a future in the world, it will continue to advance with the internet. Television will develop with Web 2.0 to become even more mobile, where all shows can be streamed to anywhere, and become more interactive.


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