Television In The Information Age Essay

2833 words - 12 pages

Television in the Information Age

Introduction


Television. Most Americans today cannot imagine life without it. It is how we relax, laugh, learn, and stay up to date on current events. The inventors of television may not have realized the impact of combining sound with moving pictures. For the first time in the history of the world we were and are able to peek into the lives of people we will never meet and visit places we will never go. It has even changed the way we communicate with each other in our everyday lives! Who has not heard or used the phrase coined by the sitcom, Seinfield, “…not that there’s anything wrong with that….”? This analysis will first ...view middle of the document...

TV provided only black and white images until the first color TV was released on the market in 1953. Of all the information communication devices created in the Information Age, TV had, and remains to have, the greatest impact on society (www.vislab). Furthermore, TV is the most passive of all the information communication devices of the information age in that it employs only one-way communication (www.vislab). It is interesting to note that computers were invented in the 1930s, around the same time as TVs; however, the two technologies are just recently beginning to meld together. Once TVs hit the marketplace, the job of TV technology innovation shifted from traditional scientific research to the research and development departments of the corporate arena (www.mit.edu). As consumers demand continuous advancements in TV technology, TVs and TV accessories will necessarily become increasingly sophisticated and capable of processing a larger amount and a greater variety of information. The only way to practically achieve these capabilities is to utilize digital technology, therefore, we are on the cusp of a revolution in the TV marketplace; a revolution that will likely result in the merging of TV with traditional, computer technology and information systems (digital technology).



Current Trends


The most publicized recent development in TV is HDTV, which is capable of utilizing digital data to create unbeatable picture resolution and audio sound. HDTV provides better quality sound and picture than traditional TV because digital data is highly compressed allowing more information to be transferred, received, and analyzed quicker than previously used TV information carriers However, consumers, TV manufacturers, and programming broadcasters have not readily accepted this technology. Although the first HDTVs are now on the market, digital programming is very limited. For this reason the HDTVs now available are capable of accepting both digital programming and traditional analog broadcasting. Despite the current lack of digital broadcast, HDTV owners can enjoy the increased picture quality when watching DVD movies. HDTV makers developed this complex, new, TV technology in response to consumers’ desire for better quality programming, but are surprised that sales have not quickly escalated. This slow start may be due to the relatively expensive price tag of HDTVs and the current downturn in the economy (Hein). Despite these factors, economies of scale have begun to take effect and the price of HDTVs has decreased steadily since their introduction and will continue to decrease as demand increases. One can expect that demand will increase due to the recent FCC (Federal Communications Commission) ruling that requires all TVs to be digital and all broadcast providers to switch from the traditional technologies to the new digital technology by the year 2006 (Harmon). This is good news for companies already manufacturing HDTVs...

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