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Evolution of Television Essay

Evolution of television (TV) is a chronological breakdown of television advancements since its invention. Television broadcasting is a telecommunication transmission and reception of sound and images in motion. The pictures are either monochromatic (black and white) or colored.

A basic TV system is a combination of the transmitter, medium of transmission, and a receiver. Benoit (2013) argues that television may also refer to the physical television set, mode of broadcasting, or various programs that the TV network airs.

Research shows that in 1926 Farnsworth was the first person to transmit real-time moving images from a transmitter to a remote receiver. In another experiment, he transmitted radio-frequency signals from a transmitter to several receivers operating at the same radio frequency as the transmitter.

This development was the foundation for television broadcasting in 1939. During the World War II, America used television broadcasting for live coverage of war fronts. However, mass TV broadcasting and transmission began after the World War II in 1948 (Cesar & Chorianopoulos, 2009).

Commercialized color television broadcasting in the US began in 1953. It involved broadcasting of colored images instead of the monochromatic ones. However, color television sets and their accessories were very expensive at that time in addition to high prices for the colored images’ transmission.

Consequently, television networks did not launch color television broadcasting immediately. In 1965, the US television networks adopted color TV format and started broadcasting color pictures for the first time in 1966 (Benoit, 2013).

In 1970, the American television networks launched cable television broadcasting, which is a technology where images and audio are transmitted to the television subscribers using a coaxial cable instead of the frequency signal. John and Margaret Walson invented cable television broadcasting in 1948.

Later in 1972, Home Box Office (HBO) cable television network was launched and introduced a television network using premium cable for reception and transmission of the colored images. HBO transmission technology implemented a satellite as the medium between the transmitter and the receiver.

Research affirms that HBO television improved the TV experience since creation of documentaries, comedy, and boxing programs. In addition, it should be noted that with the invention of HBO, many families migrated from cinema entertainment to television-based entertainment programs (Parsons, 2008).

In 1981, MTV cable television network was introduced. According to Parsons (2008), MTV television network had few format restrictions in its broadcasting and presented pay-based channels to compete the restricted HBO channels.

TBS was one of the most remarkable basic channels providing the local TV broadcasting in the USA. The invention of stereo sound television sets in 1982 improved picture quality as well. However, the TV sets using stereo sound technology penetrated the American market in 1984 only. They had better resolution with clear colored images (Parsons, 2008).

Television broadcasting and reception significantly improved in the 1990s. Throughout the decade, the cable television was the means of transmission between the transmitters in television network premises and the receivers at the viewer’s home.

For instance, HBO introduced Sex in the city and The Sopranos programs, the episodes of which were keenly followed by many homes leading to the fact that television became a popular means of entertainment in the US.

Since 1930, television sets have used Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) screens for displaying. By the end of the 1990s, liquid crystal display (LCD) and Plasma television screens replaced CRT ones. Afterwards, television sets with inbuilt sleep timers to save power were released into the American market.

In 1999, the child lock buttons appeared to be inserted in the TV sets to enhance home television security penetrated the market. Therefore, parents could control what their children watched and at what time (Cesar & Chorianopoulos, 2009).

The TV entertainment changed in 2000 after the introduction of the DVD technology. In the early 2000s, more and more houses used DVD and CD players for entertainment instead of watching the regular television programs. By the mid 2000s, scientists launched the Thin Film Technology (TFT) display, and in 2007, electronic companies presented TV sets and computers implementing the TFT screens for display.

Many families replaced their CRT displays with the TFT screens. This migration was further motivated by the stereotype that the CRT screens emitted radiation that affected the viewers’ eyes if watched for a long time (Benoit, 2013). In addition, the TFT televisions were small and consequently economical and fashionable.

The televisions with the TFT screens displayed clearer images than television utilizing the CRT screens for display (Wells, 2009).

The US switched from analog television to Digital Television (DTV) transmission on June 12, 2009. This technology is a transmission and reception of sound and images in a digital format using digital devices. It uses multiplexing technology in transmission of images and photos rather than time and frequency separation used in analog transmission.

There are so many advantages associated with the DTV broadcasting. For instance, digital television broadcasting produces sharper pictures due to the reduced interference time (Benoit, 2013).

Secondly, digital transmission uses less bandwidth hence many channels can be transmitted using the same physical medium used in analog transmission. Therefore, viewers can access more channels in the DTV transmission than in the analog television broadcasting.

Furthermore, the DTV transmission improves file accessibility through the Set Top Box (STB) feature that has multiple universal serial ports, from which people connect external devices like phones, internet modems, flash disks, and memory cards. Therefore, families can use their TV sets to play video or audio files from external devices (Cesar & Chorianopoulos, 2009).

In addition, the DTV transmission led to the introduction of High Definition (HD) television sets. HD televisions apply the digital display technology that provides high quality audio and colored pictures. HD screens display clear sounds and images since the screens use double vertical resolutions as compared to the width resolution.

In 2010, High definition television (HDTV) technology display was launched. HDTV is an improved version of HD display that uses widescreen format technology that enabled high quality images. Online television is the latest TV development in the broadcasting market.

Today, one can stream live television programs from their computers, tablets, or mobile phones. Therefore, television viewers do not necessarily require a television set to watch television programs (Benoit, 2013).

In conclusion, evolution of television technology has undergone multiple changes since 1930. The first television used cable technology to transmit black and white images at the specified time. Afterwards, the color image transmission improved television image quality in 1953.

Later on in 1972, HBO TV network introduced long distance transmission using satellite as the medium. High resolution Stereo sound TV transmission was presented in the 1980s. Plasma and LCD television displays, which improved picture and audio clarity, penetrated the US market in the 1990s.

Further in 2009, America switched from analog to digital TV transmission that in 2010 was replaced by HD and HDTV television sets improving the image quality. Online television streaming using mobile phones, tablets or computers is the latest development in the TV technology.


Benoit, H. (2013). Digital television: satellite, cable, terrestrial, IPTV, mobile TV in the DVB framework (4th ed.). Burlington, MA: Focal Press.

Cesar, P., & Chorianopoulos, K. (2009). The evolution of TV systems, content, and users toward interactivity. Hanover, MA: Now Publishers.

Parsons, P. (2008). Blue skies: a history of cable television. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.

Wells, Q. (2009). Guide to digital home technology integration. Clifton Park, NY: Delmar Cengage Learning.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Evolution of Television'. 19 April.

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