Television is a recently new development in terms of history. It is used for communication, entertainment, and education by allowing broadcasts to travel miles from their original locations. Televisions began as a luxury, but quickly developed into something that the majority of people living in the western world owned. Some researchers estimate that by the middle of the 21st century, every home will own at least one television.
Television was not originally intended to be used for entertainment. The first televisions grew out of the invention of the phone and the inventor of the phone, Alexander Graham Bell, actually developed a photo phone in 1880. The cathode ray tube was invented in 1876 and utilized electricity forced through a vacuum tube to produce light on glass.
First Television Broadcast
The first broadcast occurred in 1926 in London. Two men broadcasted a series of small moving black and white images. The signal was 30 lines
(compared to more developed televisions featuring 525 lines), but it was the first time motion was successfully broadcast to a remote location. In 1927, Philo Farnsworth used an electronic system with a motion camera to transmit a film that had been projected in front of the television camera. Fully electronic scanning of images was also used that same year, allowing the Department of Commerce to film a broadcast of Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover. This was the first live broadcast of a person. The picture and the sound both used radio waves.
Television was slow to development, especially during World War II. People who owned televisions at that point received news broadcasts, but televisions were not all that common place. Commercial broadcasting began in 1947 with the establishment of three major networks: NBC, CBS, and ABC.
Once televisions ability to broadcast news was established, television began to develop into a means of entertainment, as well as information. The first shows created for television included Howdy Doody, the Ed Sullivan Show, and the Texaco Star Theater. By the mid-1950s, more than half of the homes in America owned a television.
Television Shapes the Future
In the 1960s, television became a political tool, used particularly well by John F. Kennedy. Today, television continues to play a major role in political campaigns. In 1964, color television was introduced to the public. As a result of the improvement in technology, new shows focused on nature, current affairs, and travel grew in popularity. More recent developments have made programs such as this even more enjoyable. Digital, 3D, and high-definition capabilities are making television more realistic everyday.
Perhaps the biggest achievement of television was bringing the entire world into the home’s of people no matter where they lived. Prior to television, many people would have missed out on world events, and sights and sounds from around the world. It was television that brought information and images from some of history’s most significant events since the 1950s. If not for television, events such as the moon landing, the shuttle explosion, the collapse of the Berlin Wall, and September 11 would have all been dramatically different. Television has also shaped society in other ways including fashion, trends, health, relationships, and politics. Of every invention of the last 150 years, television has perhaps had the biggest impact on popular culture.