The history of television, in its entirety, is really a little too deep and storied to get into here, so rather than try, and fail, to cover everything that’s happened in television history from the start, we’ll focus on three of the most significant moments in the history of the television.
The Cathode Ray Tube
Television had existed before the cathode ray tube in the form of mechanical televisions, but it wasn’t until the cathode ray tube that the technology that would eventually become modern television really took off. The cathode ray tube allowed for faster image processing and cheaper television sets, meaning that consumers were a lot more willing to spend their hard earned cash on a TV set. Today, the cathode ray tube isn’t really used in the creation of the modern hi-def Toshiba television, but without the tube, the television set might have never been anything but a technological novelty for serious collectors.
Today, cable is just one option amongst many, but going back to the fifties, the early sixties, when all you had was a handful of channels broadcast over the airwaves, cable television was a revolution. When cable television came along and became more popular throughout the sixties and seventies, it allowed for dozens of channels and nationally syndicated programming. Cable television offered not only more programming, but a broader scope of what programming could be. With cable television, you could have content for all tastes. You could watch the local news at the same time as your neighbors are watching an independent film festival. You could watch Sanford and Son at the same time as your wife was watching a cooking program in the kitchen. Cable television expanded not only our notion of what the television could be, but what television programming could be.
Here’s one of the most exciting developments in the history of television, and the development that we’re currently experiencing: the integration of web and television. As with cable and electronic, cathode ray tube televisions, it’s hard to pinpoint the exact year for this development, as it takes time for the movement to spread throughout the world. The integration of internet content and features with television is really changing the way we watch TV, though. One of the most interesting developments is that there’s no longer a barrier between content provider and audience. In the past, you had to watch whatever the networks put on TV. Today, if you’re sitting down watching YouTube videos, you can grab your camera and contribute something that has just as much a chance of getting a wide viewership as anything else on television. The producers at HBO and Showtime would kill to have ratings like the viral hits of Antoine Dodson and the Angry Video Game Nerd. When you sit down in front of your Toshiba television today, you’re watching sharp TV programming from both mainstream and underground content providers, and that makes this the most exciting time to be watching the tube.