Television is considered one of the greatest, most influential inventions of the 20th century. Even though this invention was met with the skepticism initially, it soon captivated the entire world. Today, there are two or more TV sets in an average home. With its visually interesting and entertaining style, television catches many people’s attention for few hours each day. The role of television in societys life is hard to overestimate, while its influence on the world is immense. Television constantly changes the world and peoples lives because every stage of its development has brought innovations and changes, and with the improvement and spread of this technology, its influence on the world has increased as well.
Several decades ago, television in its current form was just a dream of inventors. Some scholars believed that the technologies, used for the transmission of sound, could also be applied for the transmission of pictures. However, the invention of television cannot be attributed to one person because several scholars have made their contribution. Nevertheless, the special contribution was made by Vladimir Zworykin who used the cathode ray tube technology in the receiver. This invention seems to be very primitive nowadays, but the interesting thing is that the cathode ray tube is still used in TVs.
The fist successful television broadcast took place in 1925, and several years later, mechanical television broadcasting stations appeared in Europe and North America. British Broadcasting Company introduced the first high definition service on November 1936. The first broadcast was made from the Alexandra palace and was received only by 400 households. In 1936, the first commercial TV sets were introduced to the public at the World’s Fair and since then, they have become widely available. The first TV sets were large and expensive, they cost about $400, which was about third part of average family’s year income. At that time, programming was scarce, and networks used to broadcast only specials, for example, news reports, sports matches, and presidential elections. Because of the high price of TV sets, the audience of early TV broadcasts was upper-middle class. Sports plays and matches were popular among the audience as well as plays. However, because of its novelty, the medium was treated as some experimental phenomenon, and it was considered to be a more frivolous entertainment than usual radio. Nevertheless, this innovation brought information right to peoples homes, which was the first step of the great changes in societys lifestyle that came with televisions development and spreading.
During the 1940s, television made its first important impact on society. Even though the production of TV receivers was paused during the war, the broadcasting continued even on a limited basis. In the USA, TV sets were available in New York’s hospitals for injured servicemen, and civil defense programs were broadcasted. More to say, after Germans had invaded Paris, they used the Eifel Towers transmitter to broadcast programming for the injured German soldiers in Paris hospitals. In Britain, the first airborne television reconnaissance system was built. Russians used television for the defense of Leningrad. They invented the radio detection system. Moreover, television was used as a propaganda machine. Thus, people were encouraged to support the effort and buy bonds. At the same time, television was used for broadcasting important messages and warnings. In addition, despite the war, the development of television continued, and some important innovations took place. For example, in the early 1940s, the color was introduced into TV programs, and television commercials were invented. As the post-war economy was strong, the boom of television production took place in the late 1940s.
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The post-war television development influenced peoples lives much more obvious than before, especially in the 1950s. This time is often called the golden age of television. The competition between the United States and the Soviet Union influenced the spread of television in these countries. Thus, the 1950s was a period of the greatest demand for TV sets. In the USA, more than 8,000,000 TVs were bought by people; TV shows became incredibly popular, and the TV Guide was the most popular magazine in the country. Television became so widely spread by the end of the decade that millions of people watched TV debates between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. It was the first TV debate in history. At the same time, during this decade, colorful television became a wave of future, and remote control was invented.
Television became a great influence tool. It was an incredible invention for advertisers who finally promoted their products directly to people, with the help of sponsorships. For example, soap operas received their name because they were sponsored by the companies that produced cleaning products. More to say, in the 1960s, the images of war were broadcasted for the first time, which changed societys attitude towards wars. For the first time, television was used to educate people on such matters as culture, history, and politics. For example, in Cuba, it was widely used to build the revolutionary consciousness of society and for the edification of Cubas socialist modernity. Apart from advertising goods and changing people’s cultural tastes, television even influenced people mental lives. Thus, the comparison of real life and the happy lives of the cheerful characters of various TV shows led to the feeling of inadequacy for some people.
In addition, the wave of increasing popularity of television influenced peoples leisure time and routines. The traditional family dinners became TV dinners. It would be fair to say that television has destroyed the culture of family meals, and it will never be the same again. In the Soviet Union, TV programming was supposed to be some special event in peoples’ lives, which would disrupt the routine. Meanwhile, it became a part of the routine as the result. Families started to gather in front of TVs to watch the news. Consequently, they began to get more news from watching TV that from reading newspapers. More to say, during the 1960s, television sets became more affordable for people and more portable too. Thus, by the end of the decade, there were about 200 million television sets at homes throughout the world.
The role of television in the world has increased even more since the 1970s. It started to formulate people’s opinion of what was good and allowed and what was not. Thus, cigarettes were legally advertised. Nighttime broadcasts appeared, and it disrupted traditional models of behavior. Coupes started to sleep in the same beds, watch late TV programs, where the actress showed their naked bodies, and TV shows used to catch all the attention, which again led to the decrease of real communication and social activities. In the 1980s, cable television experienced a significant boom. Sitcoms became more popular than they had ever been before. Together with the VCR, which became incredibly popular as well, TV captivated peoples attention even more. The opportunity to watch favorite programs and shows at any time led to the increase of a number of hours spent in front of TVs. Television appeared to be the best entertainment and replaced most social interactions. In addition, it continued to change the values and norm of society. With the spread of personal computers and increasing popularity of the internet, the content of TV shows changed significantly. The standard regulations of FCC were cancelled. Most TV shows, which appeared decades ago and which became popular today, depicted scenes with sex, violence, and foul language. Surprisingly, both critics and audience loved it, although one could omit the fact that television had ruined moral norm of society and encouraged inappropriate behavior.
Since the 2000s, the technologies have changed people’s views on television significantly. Thus, TV broadcasting devices have become much more advanced, while the development of technologies has made it possible to produce better quality on larger screens, allowing to transmit good picture and sound. The opportunities to pause a live broadcast and to record TV programs has appeared. People no longer depended on the TV’s network time. TV became interactive, and people no longer were simply the audience since they now could become a part of TV shows. Moreover, reality shows became tremendously popular among the audiences. The ability to vote for the favorite performer gave viewers the sense of participation. It also appeared to be the great opportunity to get money out of peoples pockets. Later, TV moved to the internet. Now, all favorite channels, TV programs, and movies are available online.
Today, the influence of television on people’s lives is immense, and the changes that television has brought are obvious. Television is blamed for the spread and propaganda of violence and inappropriate behavior. Teenagers often become victims of what they see in various TV shows. Not only does it provoke violence but it can also lead to suicide, especially among young people. At the same time, exposing children to television causes short attention span. Parents often resort to TV programs when they need to occupy their children with something while they are busy or they just do not want to spend time with them. Such a practice can lead to lack of interaction between parents and children. In addition, television is considered to be one of the main reasons of epidemic of obesity that has already become a danger to the worlds population. People move less because they spend most of their free time, sitting in front of their TVs. TV often advertises junk food, encouraging people to buy it. Moreover, it is a strong manipulative tool. News reports show only one side of events to people, which is more advantageous for the government. Most of the information people see on TV is aimed at formulating certain opinion about some events or facts.
To sum up, the television is one of the greatest inventions in the worlds history, and it has changed peoples lives extremely. The invention of television brought numerous opportunities to the world. The spread of this technology has certain advantages and disadvantages because it influences society both in positive and negative ways. Television has become a great entertaining machine, which has made peoples lives more diverse and helped to get more information with fewer efforts. Television has changed peoples leisure, habits, tastes, and thoughts. It is a strong tool for controlling society, not only an invention that has brought more entertainment to people. Regardless of all drawbacks of this invention, it remains an important part of peoples lives and life of society.