How has television changed over the last

25-50 years? This question can be answered in a variety of different ways
ranging from the technological changes and advances it has gone through
to the question of whether it has any type of affects on the way people
perceive it, or if society is manipulated by what they see on television.

This report will hopefully uncover and discover television then and now.

The first aspect that will be uncovered
are the technological advances that television has made over the years.

Naturally to see into this, we must look to how television originated.

Television broadcasting was first introduced in 1936 when it was available
in London. It was not until 1954 when the FCC authorized the NTSC standard
for color television broadcast in the United States. The question
raised at this point is what was the television actually like? How many
channels were available? Naturally the availability of what we have today
was unthought of and in most cases seemed impossible, but most television
sets were capable of providing atleast up to four basic channels. However,
these channels were only received clearly in larger cities. It was very
difficult for television signals to pass through the mountains and rural
areas. In order to resolve the problem what is known as cable television
was introduced in 1948. The purpose of cable television was to be able
to bring existing broadcast signals to rural areas with community antennas
placed at high elevations, usually on mountains or on top of tall poles.

Since the invention of cable television, it has grown rapidly. By 1960,
there were nearly 700 cable systems. In 1971, 2,750 systems were serving
almost 6 million homes. Now in the year 1999, the number has risen to more
than 65 million. Of course, the invention of cable television was by far
if not the only major technological development for television in the early
days of television. Today, cable still continues to advance with new developments
with satellites. There are over 80 different channels available to cable
subscribers ranging from 24 hour music channels, 24 hour movie channels,
and 24 hour news channels, and 24 news channels. In addition to being able
to have these types of channels, pay television services or better known
as premium channels are also associated with the advancement of cable television.

These services offer a variety of popular movies, original programming
and sports without commercial interruption. Soon after this, interactive
television evolved. Interactive TV describes a range in two-way communication
services between service providers and end users. Finally, direct broadcast
satellites were introduced to further expand cable television. Direct TV
and Primestar are just a few companies associated with direct broadcast

It is clearly easy to figure out that
television has and will continue to advance. Now that a few various technological
advances and developments have been described, they must be tied into what
is most important, and that is how viewer perception and societal influence
has been changed from television changing over the past 25-50 years.

The main change in television has become
the command center of our culture. Because television is quite different
from other media such as film, theater, or music, it must be examined carefully
and more in depth. People go to movies to watch movies, they go to the
theaters to watch plays, and they buy music to listen to it, etc. However,
we go to television for almost everything. Politics, literature, music,
religion, news, commerce, you name it and television has it. Therefore,
this makes us known as "television people", because for anything to be
legitimate, it has to come through television. Has American society become
so dependent on television that in order to be an "American", you have
to watch television in order to make contact with whatever is happening
in the culture to be familiar with what is on the television? In other
words, if we didn\'t have television, do you think that people wouldn\'t
know what was going on or people wouldn\'t be able to follow events that
we see on television? If this is the case, then how did people get by before
television\'s invention?

Television also presents us with experience
in symbolic form. Is this preferable to what we used to call reality? For
example, take when Mark McGuire broke the record for the most home runs,
the people who were at the game to actually witness go down in the history
books probably wanted to see it on television because if they didn\'t, they
probably would feel a sense of loss and disappointment with the reality
of it