As a young boy I remember our first television. What a beauty it was with its 12” round screen and huge dials. I waited patiently as my father struggled with the rabbit ears turning them in what seemed like a never ending combination of heights and directions. Finally a fuzzy picture began to emerge and as my brother and I sat mesmerized the heroic image of The Lone Ranger appeared on the screen. At that very moment we were suddenly swept into the dreamlike world of television.
The above story may be telling my age but I have seen the growth form three black and white networks to countless networks and television sets not even Dick Tracy could have dreamed of. Television has become a part of the American culture and the most economical form of family entertainment. Some would argue that it is void of any social or moral value but that is a subject for the sociologist and historians to ponder.
The televisions in our homes today are much different than my father’s TV. We now have choices such as plasma, LCD, LED, and digital with 1080i or 1080p but don’t forget to take into consideration how many “pixels” are best for you. I am quite confident my father was not concerned about pixels, contrast ratio, or black level when he purchased our first TV.
The way the television signal is delivered to your home has changed dramatically also. Used to we would just stick up and outdoor antenna and run the flat two wire ribbon down to the back of the television and watch whatever it pulled in. Of course you had your choice of UHF or VHF and a dial for each. Then cable television came along with its set-top boxes that opened up a whole world of viewing choices. Satellite television offers yet another method of delivering the signal. All three systems have their own advantages and disadvantages with today’s consumer.
The internet is currently changing the face of television. Consumers are bringing the world of the internet to the television screen in many different ways each day. Many new televisions are built with ethernet ports for making high speed connections to home networks via the internet. Coupled with video devices such as Blu-ray, DVD players and gaming consoles the consumer has the capability to stream movies, TV shows and sports from online sources directly to their television sets.
Okay, so television has evolved and just when I think I have a handle on it there comes along something new — like 3D TV.
Jim Burgess is the General Manager of Northland Communications and a longtime entertainment executive. He can be reached at email@example.com. Want to “Soundoff” on this column? E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org