Television is a telecommunication medium that is used in transmitting moving images in either black and white, or color, and in two or three dimensions and sound. It is a mass media for advertisement, news, sports, and entertainment. A television can show pictures from a number of television networks. The first sets of televisions looked like a box; they had a large cathode ray tube in a large wooden frame that sat on the floor like furniture. Present day televisions are much lighter and flatter. Development in technology today has made it possible for mobile devices and computers to be used to watch television programs.

Brief history of Television

The history of television dates back to Paul Nipkow in 1884. He developed the first workable device that generated electrical signals. It consisted of an electrical scanning disc in front of a photoelectric cell producing 4000 pixels per second, which produces a picture composed of 18 parallel lines. It was referred to as the Nipkow disc. As early as 1925 John Logie Baird was able to transmit moving images using a mechanical disc, and by 1928 he sends a television picture successfully from London to Hartsdale, New York. Vladimir Zworykin made further developments on picture tube allowing him to transmit film clips (Starnley, 2012, p177-178). The first true demonstration of television was made in April of 1939 at the worlds fare in New York. It was in form of a two-hour NBC broadcast.

By 1952,17 million homes owned televisions with about 108 stations broadcasting. When the decade was coming to an end there were nearly 559 stations and nearly ninety percent of homes in the United States had televisions (Starnley, 2012, p184-185). Technical standards were fixed while stations were proliferating and flourishing. The public tuned in and advertisers were enthusiastic. In 1964, color broadcasting began on prime television. Carnegie commission report in 1967 recommended the creation of a fourth, noncommercial, public television network. It was to be built around educational non profit stations already in operation in the United States. The rise of cable was a force that changed the dominance of two major television networks and offered people a dozen of choices, and hundreds of television channels.

The 1990s made digital television a possibility.  HDTV technology was developed by a Japanese consumer electronics in 1980s, then an American company demonstrated the feasibility of digital television signal years later. It was clear in March 1990 that digital standard was feasible, however digital television transmission started in the late 2000s. All governments in the world set deadlines for analog shut down by 2010. Digital television allowed the development of innovations like smart televisions which is integrated with internet and web features (Boulgaz, 2019).

Television sets have also transformed greatly. The early sets were mechanical. They were initially radio with an additional television device consisting of a neon tube behind a mechanically spinning disk. They later changed to electronic sets which were large and bulky with analog circuits that were made of vacuum tubes. Invention of transistors in 1952 by Masaru Ibuka made it possible for the making of smaller television sets (Boulgaz, 2019). Later in 1962, thin film transistors were invented leading to LCD technology in television sets. Presently television sets can employ several display technologies.

Current trends and future developments in Television

Todays television experiences are very different from what our parents and grandparents watched at their times. We have come to an era where television networks no longer dictate what, when, and how we watch as the customer presently is firmly in control of what they watch. Customer demands is the main point of focus for many television networks (Stier et al., 2020, p1). Companies are trying to find the right balance between todays daily operational challenges and innovation for the future that is directed towards the customer demands.

The smart phone could function in the future as the brains of screen world, triggering content experiences based on viewers location and direction that they are viewing. Future programming is likely to incorporate the high context and deliver custom programming through learning consumption patterns. Extreme home entertainment can be integrated with quantified personal devices.

Television today has embraced the internet. This has reduced the need of people to have television sets in order to consume media. This has promoted many television manufactures to invest in new internet enabled models. Traditional television is being challenged by the rise in internet video streaming hence manufacturers are forced to embrace customers’ needs. This kind of televisions are more holistic and offer streamlined experience. There are also several other ways of streaming web content from the television including the use of devices like Boxee Box.

There has been further expansions on next generation technologies coupled with many sharp refinements and expansions in the existing cutting-edge standards for television display technology. Recently, there has been a key focus on 4K televisions, mid-range, and budget 4K television series with HDR, higher NTSC packed in them, and brightness which provides visible improvements in the quality.

Cable and satellite offer interactive television that allows viewers to talk back to content providers. Digital cable television of the two, offers the truest form of interactive television. Cable digital channels allow for multiplexing, carrying two or more digital signals over the same channel (Starnley, 2012, p196). It not only permits the subscribers to talk back to the system operator but also offers additional services like video on demand, one click shopping, local information on demand, program interactivity, interactive program guides, and video games.

People across the television are increasingly adopting cloud technology. It is expected to address security and data privacy issues satisfactorily in the future. Machine learning algorithms that are driven by new computing technologies shall help enhance television scalability and improve its operations. A future of this combined with artificial intelligence, business analytics, and machine learning promises a future that provides a solution to a variety of television complexities.

The future of television lies on cutting-edge technology that will transform the television experience. The current market trends already show an integration of software which is tangibly expected to be improved in future televisions, that will be rich in features with improved quality (Global media and entertainment center, 2020, p6). This is expected to be dominant in the years to come. The vision of television in the future is about personalized technology, individualized viewer experience, on demand viewer experience, small television shows, binge-watching innovative television formats, advertisement free models, and more localized and vernacular content. There is an increased possibility of more people being connected to a smart television.










Baran, Stanley J. “Introduction to mass communication: Media literacy and culture.” Introduction to Mass Communication: Media Literacy and Culture (2012).

Boulgaz, Atika. “What Are the New Trends in Television Broadcasting and The Media Landscape?”. Viaccess-Orca.Com, 2019,

Global media and entertainment center, Future of Television Media and Entertainment, 2020Retrievedfrom$FILE/EY-6-trends-that-will-change-the-TV-industry.pdf

STIER, JEFF et al. “Six Trends Directing the Future of Television”. WIRED, 2020,

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