This essay explores the effect that television (as a new media form) has on culture.

Essay by jaselUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, June 2003

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The 'system of producing onscreen images of distant objects and events by electromagnetic radiation' (Oxford, 1992:111) or as it's more commonly referred to as 'television', is the most widely used mass media form in Australia and in the world. Television is one of our most important means of communication. It brings moving pictures and sounds from around the world into millions of people's homes. In Britain in 1950, '10% of homes had T.V sets'. (Thompson, 1997: 28,41) Today, about '99% of Australians own at least one television set and, on average, they spend over 20 hours a week...watching television programs' (Cunningham & Turner, 2002:173) The sheer amount of time that TV occupies in people's lives points to it's importance, so it's bound to have it's affects on culture as well as be affected by it.

Many scientists contributed to the development of television, so no one person can be called its inventor.

Television became possible in the 1800's, when people learned how to send communication signals through the air as electromagnetic waves. The first radio operators sent code signals through the air. By the early 1900's, it was possible for operators to transmit words. In the meantime, many scientists had done experiments involving the transmission of pictures. It was in the year of 1884 that Paul Gottlieb Nipkow of Germany invented a scanning device that sent pictures over short distances. The distinctive feature of Nipkow's system was the rotating disk that provided a simple and effective method of image scanning. His system however, worked electronically, unlike mechanically which is the way television works today. (World Book, 2002:125)

In 1897 K.F. Braun of Germany had introduced a cathode-ray tube with a fluorescent screen; that is, a screen that produced visible light when struck by a beam of electrons. In...