You can all probably remember hearing these famous words from your parents or grandparents at some point in your lives: “In my day, we had to get up to change the channel.” These days, the ability to change the channel with a remote control from the comfort of your couch is no big deal and just one of the many examples of the evolution of TV over the decades. The first television became available to the public in the 1920s, but it only displayed black and white images. My, oh my, have times changed!
The television cannot be credited to a single inventor; instead, each of the necessary components was invented by different people, and eventually all those inventions were combined to create the television. It started out as a box that displayed black and white images, but in 1950, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) authorized color as a national standard. The initial color televisions developed by CBS’ research team did not have the best picture—they were bulky and the picture tended to flicker. Due to the war in Korea, production of color televisions was halted, which gave RCA Corporation (originally named Radio Corporation of America), CBS’ biggest competitor at the time, the opportunity to play catch-up and design a color television that performed better. By 1954, RCA had achieved that goal, and its color television became available to consumers across the country. It wasn’t until the historic debut of Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color in 1961, however, that consumers really began to make the switch from black and white to color television sets.
The Remote Control Enters the Picture
A number of different engineers and companies began working on developing a remote control that could work with a television in the early 1950s. However, due to various technological issues, it was not until the late 1960s that the remote control became available. There were only three buttons, however: next channel, previous channel, and volume up/down. The remote control not only made watching television much more convenient for the viewer but also had many effects on programming itself. Because it was no longer necessary to get up to change the channel, programming companies like NBC and CBS discovered that when the final credits rolled on a program, most people would change the channel. So, in order to encourage viewers to stay on their channel for the next program, the “split screen” was invented, and credits started rolling on one side, while the conclusion of the program aired at the same time on the opposite side of the screen. Now, remotes perform a number of actions never before imagined, and mobile devices such as smart phones can even be used as remote controls!
In the late 1990s, high definition television (HDTV) was introduced in the United States. High definition television broadcasts television programs in a higher resolution than standard definition and, thus, makes for a clearer, more “crisp” display. Most televisions sold have the capability to display HDTV, and DISH currently offers over 200 HD channels for your viewing pleasure. There’s nothing quite like watching your favorite team play in HD, and once you’re introduced to HD, you won’t want to go back to SD.
TV and the Internet
The Internet came onto the scene and seemed to connect the world with a few clicks of a computer’s keyboard or mouse. You could suddenly email communication to a far-off friend instantly or have a face-to-face chat with Skype® without ever leaving your home. The Internet changed our relationship with computers forever, from machine to process data, to machine to connect us to everything in the world; it also has had an effect on the way TV programming gets to the home. While some people thought that Internet video would decrease television viewership, television ratings have actually gone up since the Internet was introduced to the world.
The Internet allows viewers to get caught up on their favorite television shows, but it also allows our mobile devices (smart phones) to become “hubs,” in a sense. For example, DISH has the DISH Remote Access App available for compatible smartphones. You can then use that app to see what’s playing on television, or to even tell your television to record a certain show.
All of these advances in thought and technology have contributed to the making of the TV you love today. There are clear pictures, bright colors, and quality sounds. You can record programs without having to buy videotapes and set a VCR, and you can fast-forward through commercials of recorded programming. With the most advanced technology in the industry on the Hopper from DISH, you can even skip commercials altogether with the Auto Hop™ function with PrimeTime Anytime™. The television has certainly come a long way from its meager beginnings, and considering how far it’s come in such a short time, what could the future possibly have in store for TV lovers all over the world as the evolution of TV technology continues?