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Television & Cultural Change

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Media
Wordcount: 2304 words Published: 12th May 2017

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Television became the important part of peoples’ life. We cannot imagine our evening without an interesting film or news program. Many people like cinema even if they have TV at their homes. It became an ever-present part of the furniture.

One person did not invent the television technologies; also, the technologies were not made at one blow. The discovery of “the photoelectric selenium effect e” became the underlie of the television. W. Smith made this discovery at the year of 1873. Eleven years after P. Nipckov innovated the scanning disk. The important event allowed developing the mechanic television. This type of television was popular until 1930-s. It was the very first attempts to provide television into people’s life. Many different scientists from all over the world took part in the developing of the television we know and use nowadays. The first moving image was transferred at the distance on July 26, 1928 by Russian scientists B. Grabovsky and E. Beliansky. Scientists all over the world consider this experiment the beginning of the modern television. At the same time scientist J. Baird from Scotland made the same experiment. He found “Baird Television Development Company”.

On December 18, the year of 1953 the first colored TV broadcasting at the NTSC system. Television has been spreading very fast since second part of the XX century. United Nation Organization found the commemorative day – the World Day of Television.

How has the television changed since it was invented? It changed in many various ways and first technologically. We should find the answer on the one very important question – whether the television affect people’s perceive? In addition, could the different TV programs, films and news that they see on television manipulate the society? The aim of my project is to compare the role of television nowadays and 60 years ago. I will discuss the different changes and their influence on the society life.

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First, let us pay attention to the technological progress of television over the years. It was a long way since the year of 1936 when television broadcasting was introduced in London; but I mentioned about it before. What was the number of available channels? The number of them was up to four main channels in larger cities. Television signals were not able to pass through the high mountains and distance villages. Those times television certainly had no much influence. It was just a privilege of urban residents. The people from the country did not feel an influence of the innovation.

Nevertheless, scientists and those people who are now known as “showmen” were sure that television has a great future. They made many efforts to develop and improve television technologies. The problem was how to make television available for those people who lives at villages and small towns. In the year of 1948, the new technology was introduced. Now the technology is known as a cable television. What was the purpose of the cable television? According to Fisher and Marshall (1996) “The purpose of it was to be able to bring broadcast signals to rural areas with community antennas placed at high elevations”. Usually it was mountains and tops of the high poles. The innovation had a great success and it has grown fast. There were up to seven hundred cable systems by the year of 1960. By the year of 1971 it was 2.750 cable systems and 6 million families used them. At the end of XX century the numbers of the cable systems are up to 65 million and even more.

But the cable TV was not the last and best invention of the scientists. Certainly many people still use the cable systems all over the world but television continues to advance with innovation of satellites. The new step in technologies gives an opportunity to use over 80 different channels most of which are 24-hours. They are movies, music, scientists, news and a lot of others. Now people cannot imagine their everyday life and spare time without TV. They agree to pay a lot of money to have television at their flats. Now we see that those people who decided to invest the development of television were perfectly right. The owners of premium channels have a lot of money now and a great influence also.

Many years ago television offered us many different popular movies and programs without commercial interruption. Nevertheless, with time interactive television was brought out. Interactive TV created a communicative service between providers and users. It is obvious that television technologies will eternally develop.

We have seen how the TV technologies were changed. But the main change in television is not a technological aspect. Television is the command centre of people’s culture now. TV is much different from other media. It is different from film, music or, for example, theatre and cinema. That is why we need to examine it attentively and deeply. We visit cinema and theatre to enjoy the play; we buy music to enjoy listening … Nevertheless, we use television for everything. TV is an all-in-one phial. It has everything – literature, music, news, politics, and commerce. We become “a television people”. Everything in our life should come through TV. Not only American society, but equally world society become depends on TV. If you want to be a Canadian, an American, or a deserving attention member of any society, you have to watch TV and make a contact with everything is happening in the culture.

I think that if the human society had no television we would not know what is going on around the world and we would not be able to follow events like we use do it today.

The TV images have a great power. Psychologists perfectly agree with it. The images are more important that the words. Nevertheless, both of them are changing the world and they are changing our minds, feelings, ways of thinking, points of view and even they way we relate other people and the world. Many people are using these features of television for their own benefits. Politics are the first group of influential people who wants to make their influent total. I do not want to discuss here how dangerous it is but independent experts are wonder how much human society has changed since television became a part and parcel of people’s life. With time, we began to see more murdering and blood on the TV screens the quality of TV programs has changed. Shiers (1997) mentioned that sixty years ago, they were just an entertainment equal with theatre and may be books. With time the power of the innovation’s influence become obvious. Time came for it to be wide used. Politics try to suggest their ideas to great number of people. Sometimes those ideas are dangerous like for example the political ideas of Stalin and Hitler. People are also interested in the private life and spare time of their political candidates and different “stars” that it became dangerous for the opposite side of the TV screen. Paparazzi storm into singers, politicians and other famous people’s lives very often. It is always very unpleasant and even dangerous sometimes. Should we blame TV or humans’ curiosity also?

The media manipulates us. It controls the way we view our political leaders, our life’s values and the way we view the world at all. It forms our opinions by what the famous people or scientists or any other men of influence say. Television becomes a centre of gossips. We never know if the information we watch is trustful or not.

Television has changed totally during last 60 years. First of all, it became full of lies. I do not want to tell that television it is an evil. Many good things have been done by television. For example, high-developed countries have an opportunity to help regions that are suffered from war and natural disasters. We can find our lost relatives and even get a lot of new knowledge.

But we cannot be sure if some important information we know from the television is true information. Sometimes it is just advertising and we may feel sorry for buying the goods that are not as good as advertising proclaimed. Moreover, sometimes it could be very important information that is able to save many lives. Rose (1986) said that it could be information about natural disasters or epidemic. If politicians hide a part of information and underestimate the danger to avoid panics the results could be dismal showing. The bright example is the blow of the nuclear power plant at the territory of the formal USSR. People were not let know beforehand of the great danger and millions of them died. Moreover, the soviet television reported that there was no danger at all. It is a grievous example of the negative influence of the television.

Now I want to talk about the positive contribution of the television. First of all, I want to mention about the cultural exchange. It would be very difficult to get knowledge about people and their customs without television. For example, thanks to “Discovery” channel we can know many different interesting facts about other countries and even about the most distance parts of the world. We may get the information about the newest researches in medicine. Sometimes this information could be very useful if you make sure that it is trustful information.

Television was very useful in solving the problem of Native Americans. Since Columbus discovered the New World, this group of people was under pressure. White conquistadors enslaved and oppressed American Indians. They were considered savages. Now when many TV programs about the American Indians’ culture were produced we know that they are ordinary people with high life values. We learned how to respect them and we do not afraid of them anymore. From another side Native Americans know a lot about the “white” culture. They are ready to cooperate with us. We tout them many useful things. It is an example of the positive role of television in the cultural exchange. If people learn how to use the power of TV in the right way we could avoid some wars and international conflicts.

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Nowadays due to the television the world is “a giant village”. We know all events that happen in other countries. We do not feel borders and it would be gorgeous if the humankind could feel itself like friendly neighborhood or even a family. I am sure that globalization could be a very useful social phenomenon if people would use it in a right way. I strongly believe that television is possibility for people to know about events all over the world and prevent some situations in own native country. Popular proverb said that a person who possess information possess the whole world. And we can make a conclusion from this proverb in relate to our situation that television allow people possess information and be informed in day to day.

Our life is full of different changes and new innovations are the way of people’s efforts and progressive thoughts implementation. Television has changed in many ways since the first colored TV broadcasting at the NTSC system were performed on December 18, the year of 1953. We live now in highly developed technological era. And describing television technology we see that the technology became more developed and more people have an opportunity to use it. Television became a part of the private and social life. It connected the world population. It gives us a way to know each other better. At the same time, television has become the command centre of people’s culture. People did not know about the life of criminals and gangsters 60 years ago. Nowadays thanks to television, we know a lot about it and this type of “culture” is become popular among youth. In addition, we know a lot about so called “subcultures” like Goths, Emokids, hippie, punks and so on. From the one side, it gives us an opportunity to be more understandable to the way of somebody’s life. From another side, it could be a negative example for young people.

At the end of my project, I want to mention the great role of television in the field of religion. Those people who are looking for the sense of life and for the acceptable way of worship could get a lot of information about it. Television can help them to know about world religions and about the people who worships in this or another way. Television plays a great role in the live of everybody even if we do not think much about the fact. First, it is a very useful innovation, but we need to learn how to use it for the humans’ wellness.


Abramson, A. (1987). The History of Television, 1880 to 1941. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co.

Abramson, A. (2003). The History of Television, 1942 to 2000. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co.

Everson, G. (1949), The Story of Television, The Life of Philo T. Farnsworth New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Co.

Fisher, D. and Marshall, J.(1996). Tube: the Invention of Television. Washington: Counterpoint.

Foote, J. and Minow, N. (1990). Television Access and Political Power: The Networks, the Presidency, and the “Loyal Opposition.” Praeger Publishers.

Meyrowitz, J. (1985). No Sense of Place, Oxford University Press, New York.

Rose, B. (1986). Television and the Performing Arts: A Handbook and Reference Guide to American Cultural Programming. Greenwood Press.

Shiers, G. (1997). Early Television: A Bibliographic Guide to 1940. Garland Reference Library of Social Science.

Toto, D. (2000). Job Growth in Television: Cable versus Broadcast, 1958-99. Monthly Labor Review, Vol. 123.

Tulloch, J. (1990). Television Drama: Agency, Audience, and Myth. Routledge.


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