Television has come a long way over the years. The evolution of the medium in its first few decades was amazing – from televised theater production to the episodic serial (also known as the sitcom) to the invention of instructional programming (cooking with Julia Child, for example) to the advent of reality television in the late 1980s with the Real World on MTV (and music television). Television evolved more quickly than any form of technology of its era. You don’t need to look at its entire lifetime to know that. In fact, you need only look at the last ten years.
Technically, satellite television has been around for a few decades. In the past, a satellite dish of the size of a small RV was required while in the late 1990s, the dishes started to get smaller and smaller. Now there are even some apartment complexes that can accommodate them. This opens up a lot of options for people who might not want to utilize the existing cable service in their area. So, if you’ve been thinking about expanding your television watching capabilities, make sure you look into Direct TV and the other satellite providers that are out there.
Pausing Television and the Advent of the DVR
Do you remember what life was like before your DVR? You’d sit on the couch, all tensed up and ready to be able to spring up and run for the bathroom the second a commercial came on. You’d hope and pray that the commercial break would be long enough for you to run to the bathroom, grab a snack from the kitchen and get back to your seat before the program came back on. Now you can simply pause the show, do what you need to do and come back. You can also simply fast forward through the commercials now if you don’t want to see them.
Along these lines, do you remember having to set the VCR and hope that it recorded what you wanted to see? Do you remember rushing home and having to make the time to watch the shows you wanted to watch? Those days are long over thanks to TiVo and other DVR services. Now you can simply record your shows digitally and watch them when you have the time to see them. You can even record several shows at once now, so you don’t have to choose which shows you want to watch the most each season.
Streaming Television and Movies
With these services if you can’t afford cable you don’t automatically have to miss the shows you want to see. Most networks not only stream their primetime lineups (present and past) through services like Hulu, but also make them available on their own websites. This makes it possible to watch pretty much whatever and whenever you want to watch, no matter what it is. It’s mind boggling!
This, of course is more about the technology advancements of television. We haven’t even touched on the explosion in the popularity and variety of reality based television (or how scripted shows have started imitating the form through shows like Modern Family, Parks and Recreation, etc) or the 24 hour news cycle and the invention of various news channels like Fox News or MSNBC and even, to some extent, CNBC and CNN. That, however, is an article for another time.