Imagine a world without television. If you’re like the broad majority of today’s society, I am fairly sure that you can not in fact imagine something as absurd as a life without your favorite unadulterated programs. One reason for that is because of the innumerable effect television has had on society. It is because of television that we can watch our New York Mets satisfy and ultimately disappoint us on a nightly basis, the latest happenings in our local area, and our favorite nighttime television personality butt into pop culture with their satirical views. Believe it or not, there was a simpler time before the invention of the television, but aren’t we glad we have it now? Television has innovated the way our world works, and continues to shape it to this day. However, to fully understand where we are with the television, and where we are going, we must look toward the past.
Television’s history isn’t as illustrious as you’d imagine. The successful breakthrough with television around the time of inception is credited to Boris Rosing of Russia. Using a Cathode Ray Tube (CRT), as the receiver end for a video signal, Rosing was able to project rudimentary, while all the while groundbreaking, objects onto the screen. This was then eclipsed when American inventor, Philo Farnsworth, used electron beams to scan images and then have it reflect onto the screen.
Met with immediate interest due to the market possibilities, the prospect of the television was a great opportunity. The company that would pioneer this project and fund development would be none other than RCA, the same company that helped bring radio entertainment to the forefront of its respective market. With the great funding allotted to the development of this new technology, the fascination of TV entertainment was born, leaving ourworld forever changed. This great milestone would debut to a national audience at the World Fair in New York.
It did not take long for the TV to become popular and as the emphasis on leisure activities increased, so did the television market. From primitive begins with poor picture quality and broadcasting conditions, the television market would soon begin to skyrocket. Followed by huge breakthroughs such as the now reliable, color television, and digital television thereafter, Television, and the role it played in society had now been well documented, assisted in its huge rise to popularity by personalities such as Roone Arledge, Edward R. Murrow, and even people like Oprah Winfrey who demonstrate a level of Cura Personalis (4).
Where is television now though and how does it work in conjunction with the Web 2.0 era? Moreover, where could one possibly see the state of television in the near future; i.e. ten to twenty years from now? First, we must understand what Web 2.0 is. Simply put, Web 2.0 is the age in the Internet that emphasizes and highlights user-generated content. Examples would include social networking sites, blogs, and even wikis. Furthermore, things have begun to change as of recently in regards to how we are entertained with television. What was once just a receiver box where a person watched what was being broadcast is now a hub for a viewer to access the infinitely large world of content, whether it is professionally produced or homemade. This change is so drastic and falls into a realm where complete user discretion is allowed is being called by some the age of Television 2.0, a namesake derived from its Internet predecessor, Web 2.0. As for the question of, “What will the TV be like in ten to twenty years,” I personally think that the TV is on it’s way to becoming something like that of Netflix. Oddly enough, one of the most reasonable outlooks on the future of the television industry comes from a proponent of Netflix, CPO, Neil Hunt. In the not so far, yet not so close future, one could expect a plethora of channels, each tailored to a viewer’s specific taste. Televisions of this time will know what you want to watch before you even do and the presence of even independently made programs will be at the ready for consumers willing to watch.
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