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Advancement in Technology: Invention of the Television

Television Advancement and Description

Television is a medium of communication that incorporates both visual display and audio messages. It represents an advancement of technology that has typified numerous households since the early 20th century (Abramson, 2003). The television has undergone tremendous advancement since the early 1920’s. From the initial monochrome or black and white television sets to the contemporary colored sets, technological advancements has seen the television transform from analog to digital. Other than entertainment, televisions are important in surveillance, controlling various industrial processes and in military activities. Although television remains as one of the iconic advancement in the institution of media, no single individual can claim its discovery (Abramson, 2003). The rationale is that the technology has radically changed from the initial basic to a more complex technology over time.

Discussion of the invention era

Contrary to many beliefs, the television was not an invention by a single individual. Instead, it incorporates many ideas of different people in different eras that led to its invention and subsequent advancement. However, Michael Faraday’s expertise in the field of electromagnetism by the mid 19th century provided a platform where the television invention was possible (Shiers & May, 1997). In this period, the world was witnessing the industrial revolution and the need for an advanced medium of communication was in place.

Circumstances leading to the invention

There many factors that led to the innovation of the television. At the outset, there was the need to improve the prevalent means of communication. The heightened need for surveillance due to the world wars that typified the global relations led to a surge in innovation and telecommunication. Indeed, many countries invested immensely in innovation especially in the telecommunication sector. The invention is also attributable to political factors. This period marked myriad of political processes across the globe. In fact, the first live transmission was motivated by the signing of a peace treaty between Japan and United States where their representatives released a live speech courtesy of AT&T transmission.

Second, the invention of the television was at a time when the world was experiencing a ‘discovery boom’. Many inventions in the fields of health and physical sciences were the precursor for invention. Institutions were now focusing on research and innovation. Indeed, it is the discoveries of the 19th century that provided a platform for transmission of images and visual displays. Further, the growing number of companies required a medium where they could advertise their goods and services. As such, the television provided an avenue that facilitated companies reach numerous people within a short time frame.

Evolution of the invention

In 1862, Giovanna Cassellii invented Pantelegrah, which was able to send still visual images over the electronic wires (Abramson, 2003). It is through this advancement that led to the contraption of selenium camera and ‘telectroscopes’. By 1900, Paul Nikow had coined the name television and the focus of invention now shifted to the physical development (Shiers & May, 1997). The innovators were focusing on the utilization of cathode ray tubes by early 20th century (Fisher & Fisher, 1996). In 1925, Jenkins and Baird used the cathode ray tubes in their demonstration of mechanical television. Successfully, they pioneered the first moving images. Although the quality of the moving images was considerably low, the silhouettes marked another stride towards a complex television set. Fisher & Fisher (1996) point out that a successful transmission of visual images from Washington to New York in 1927 elicited praise from the American government, which gave Jenkins the license to start the first television station.

The impact of these inventions was the continued improvement of the television sets. By 1936, there were about 200 television sets in the US. CBS invested in a high-resolution station equally as BBC (Schwartz, 2003). The latter was able to transmit high-resolution images at the onset of the Second World War. To date, there are millions of televisions around the globe. The television has evolved from black and white to high definition color TVs. The use of cathode ray tubes technology has become obsolete with the invention of LCD televisions by the end of the 20th century (Abramson, 2003).

Effects of Television in later Periods

The television was a major technological advancement that has both direct and indirect impacts. First, the advancement has eased the means of communication across the globe. It is just a matter of seconds before a message relayed on television reaches the target population and audience. In fact, the television remains as the major source of information for the global society. Through different programs that contain coded messages, people are able to access information that they require. Besides, many television stations broadcast their programs in different languages. This allows many people to access uniform information across all societies. Apparently, many political regimes now address their respective electorate through the medium.

Secondly, the television invention has seen the rise of multinational companies as it provided a stage for many human skills. Such companies as AT&T, CBS, CNN and BBC thrive on television (Abramson, 2003). They have provided employment opportunities and avenues where people can nurture their skills. From the ages of Charlie Chaplin to the contemporary actors, the television has facilitated the realization of individual talents. Finally, the television has provided many companies with a platform where they can incorporate visual and audio messages to advertise their goods. This has been advantageous to the entire global consumers who now have many choices when making their consumption decisions.

Television Connection to Humanities

Television has changed the institution of media drastically. Initially, the family solely socialized people into the society. However, the rise of the television deemed the media institution as a major socialization agent. As such, there has been a shift in humanities across all societies relating to the role of the media in the society. Many researches in humanities and socials sciences have focused on the role of the media in the promotion of social values. Media is now a tool of civil society where individuals can use it to appraise the current social structures and political institutions.

Nonetheless, the medium has become controversial in the recent past. Due to popularity of the medium, researchers have found the media as a causative factor and a shaper of character and behavior amongst children. Some programs relayed through the television have negative effect on children especially when they continuously depict aspects regarded by the society as taboo. They include violence and nudity amongst many others.

Annotated Bibliography

Abramson, A. (2003). The History of Television, 1942 to 2000. London: McFarland Printing Press. Print.

Abramson gives detailed chronological events that reveal the invention of the television. He starts his chronology in 1940 and focuses on the advancement of Jenkins’ invention throughout the century.

Fisher, D. & Fisher, M. (1996). Tube: the Invention of Television. Washington, DC: Counterpoint publishers. Print.

Having qualified as electrical and mechanical engineers, the authors explore the cathode ray tube (CRT). The tube was an important aspect during the invention period as it transformed the way people perceived the television. Besides, they give the pros and cons of CRT. They also outline the impacts of the medium.

Schwartz, E. (2003). Last Lone Inventor: A Tale of Genius, Deceit, and the Birth of Television. New York: Harper Paperbacks. Print.

Schwartz seeks to applaud the individual brilliance of various iconic figures in the invention of television. He focuses on Jenkins and Baird’s tremendous achievement in laying the foundations of the television.

Shiers, G. & May, J. (1997). Early Television: A Bibliographic Guide to 1940. Washington, DC: Taylor & Francis. Print.

The author uses their publications to explore the evolution of the television before 1940. Their major focus is the role of the inventors in the 19th century such as Michael Faraday and Graham Bell.


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