History of Televisions in the United States

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History of Televisions in the United States


The invention of the mass media is one of the best revolution that came in the world, and for the United States of America, it was a major start of opening up of economic spurring and the democratic space. However, in this revolution of the mass media, one of the most attributed media in the opening up of the democratic space and spur of economic in general is the invention of television. It is usually stated that Television has helped in bringing the world closer, for example, the United States of America is capable of learning what is happening in the world just by the click of remote, and therefore, the history of this great revolution is one that cannot be compared to any other in the world. In fact, every important political, social, technological and historical event since the invention of the Television in the mid 20th century to the present day has been given quality coverage thanks to the evolution of the mass media and majorly the Television. This paper analyses this important revolution and highlights the major happenings since its inception.

The Inception of TV in U.S. The first of the regularly scheduled television service in America and specifically United States of America came to be on July 2, 1928 and this is when the Federal Radio Commission gave green light to C.F. Jenkins to broadcast W3XK which was termed as the experimental station in Wheaton Maryland which is in the suburbs of Washington D.C. The first of the eighteen months saw a 48-line silhouette images which were gotten from the motion picture films being broadcasted by the station, and this marked a very important step in the realization of a full revolution regarding Television. The start of this station was regular but limited in a way, where the schedules of live television broadcasts started on August 14, 1928 by use of 48-line images, was working with one transmitter and the station alternated the radio broadcasts with the silent television images. These were especially the station’s call sign, the wind-up toys in motion and the faces in motion.

The first live drama came on September 11, 1928 and this was a one act play broadcasts which was known as The Queen’s Messenger. On March 1929, the radio giant RCA began its daily experimental television broadcasts in the New York City and this was over the other station W2XBS. This consisted of a 60-line transmission which was an improvement of the earlier 48-line transmission of signs, views of people motion pictures and other objects. By the year 1935, there was low definition electromechanical television airing and which had ceased in the country except for few stations that were run by the public universities, and this was noted to continue up to the year 1939. The regulatory commission; The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) saw television in continual flux of the development especially with no consistent technical standards and therefore, all of such kind of stations in the United States of America were given only the experimental and not to go commercial. The starting of television airing marked a major shift in all aspects of developments; where, political development was given new meanings, socialization which is also part of development integrated in development and spur of economic given a new meaning. But all in all, what could be seen is that technology could not be wished away; and bearing in mind that the invention of television itself was technological revolution, it put technology as one of the most valued asset for development.

The Historical Events and Social Change. Since the invention of TV came in the year 1928, it means that major events that have happened in this world have been covered by the television, and to start with, the coverage of the World War II by the United States Television was very crucial to its improvement. However, it can be noted that the viewing of Television in United States came to a halt during the war; however, the TV continued in a number of ways. It was limited but the RCA gave some provisions for the TRK-12 sets which were being used in hospitals in the New York for the injured servicemen and this meant that the television viewing was still important. The W2XBS and the W2XAB stations were broadcasting the civil defense programs and the WPTZ station was broadcasting what was known as the Army-Penn football program. The RCA came up with a small Iconoscope camera system that was being used in remote controlled glide bombers and through the use of these in broadcasting in televisions, it was possible for the concerned parties to strategize well.

On the other hand, the Dumont demonstrated a kind of television system that was allowing the viewing of the battles while Farnsworth was very much involved in the television during the war. There were also some proposals that there be a television controlled bomb and this was forwarded by the U.A Sanabria. The engineers were working day in day out to develop more technologies in television for the communication systems for the military and they were putting their knowledge, skills and expertise in coming up with radar that would go well with this communication system. This means that television technology played a crucial role during the war even though its role was limited in nature.

Apart from the World War II events that were covered by the Television in United States of America, the Cold war was also one of the events that helped in the making of a modern television. The cold war came after the World War II and it was viewed as an extension of the world war to mean that even the coverage of TV improved from what was happening during the World War II coverage. The television news as well as the cold war grew in simultaneous manner and this was followed by the World. The big aim in the cold war was to build up to the publics on what was happening in the forces, general security and the defense, and just as it was in the coverage of the World War II, the biggest aim was to furnish the military and the publics with information regarding the enemies. However, at early stages, there was noted some media cowardice and this was noted to have harbored to the deviance in the cold war reporting; however, in general, there were positive effects from this coverage.

The Television in United States and the Pop Culture. The analysis of the evolution of television in United States is not comprehensive without looking at the Pop Culture which has characterized the United States media culture. The definition of the pop culture has been given as a common culture, the mass culture and the folk culture, and this is associated with the event of post world war and it is undeniably associated with the commercial culture as well as all of its trappings. Majorly, the pop culture comprises the movies, radio, advertising, television, cyberspace and toys; where many come in form of games, photographs and art. It is one of the most lucrative exports in the United States, and therefore, there is no way it can be isolated in the discussion of television in United States of America. In regard to television in United States of America, there are huge index of links that are well organized and that are linked to the television as well as films. These include the individual shows, the studios and the archives. At times, the improvement of the television in this country is measured by how much the pop culture has evolved; more than how news are presented or are transmitted across the world. Some of the television stations are purely dedicated to showing these pop cultures while others are for cult episodes and ultimate news.

The major area of revolution in United States pop culture is when the servicemen came out of the World War II periods and they needed to feed their families and sustain other means for themselves. That is how they involved themselves in such kind of television culture and majorly this was around the years 1950 to 1959 when the pop culture rose to fame in the United States of America and essentially in televisions. Some of these were the chronology of films or generally indulging themselves in acting as well as directing to make it possible to have decent earnings. The popular films were like the Death of a salesman (40’s and 50’s), Eugene O’Neill (1957), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955) and Baby Doll (1956). This is a clear direction that the pop culture in this country has its fair share of good history, and this is also an indication that the United States went ahead as early as 1950 in developing the television. The pop culture also includes sports and as is noted, the United States is popular for a number of sport games which it does not relent to show. This is one of the strength that is noted in this country, and the television is at the center of this for showing this popular culture in young fans.

TV’s Golden Age (1940’s and 1950’s). The Golden age of television is defined as the period in United States of America between the late 1940’s and 1961 when there were many hour long anthologies of drama series and which received critical acclaim. During those times, the television media introduced many programming concepts that were praised as innovative as well as prime time television dramas which showcased both the original and the classical productions. These essentially included the first of the telecasts of Walt Disney’s programs and the firsts of the telecasts of Mary Martin’s Peter Pan. Most of these programs were done as installments of the live dramatic anthologies; for example, The Philco Television Playhouses, the Kraft Television Theater and the Playhouse 90. In general, this was a period that made the television medium become one of the highly rated medium; even more than the radio which had come earlier than the television.

Generally, the golden age in regard to American television highlights the proliferation of the original as well as the classical dramas that were produced for live television and these were during the country’s postwar years. From the year 1949 to about the year 1960, the live dramas became very much fitting the programmatic complements to the westerns, the soap operas and the vaudeo shows, and they were noted to have dominated the prime time of the television. They are also attributed to high economic growth in the United States of America as they are part and parcel of what constitutes the elements of economic growth in the country. The golden age dramas were to become the ideal forms of marketing the country and for the corporations in United States of America.

Television and Technological Innovation. In United States of America the start of the television as technology was just a stepping stone, and there were to be more of these innovations in this medium. In the year 1994, the Federal Communication Commission approved what was known as a standard for an all-digital system and this was to be used by all the commercial broadcasts stations and was staged to come by mid- 2002. In fact, the transition from the analog to digital broadcasting was staged to be complete by the year 2006, but what was noted was that by the mid-2002 deadline, already there was use of these digital signals. This meant that the country was moving forward very fast in this innovation and setting a pace for all other countries in the world to adopt these technologies. This was readiness for major technological revolutions in the whole world, and since the country has always been argued to be a lead player in all other aspects, this innovation was just a testimony of how great the country was.

The most noticeable of the differences between what is being practiced today and the past (the current system and the HDTV) is in the aspect ratio of the picture and while the ration of these pictures (the current) is about 4:3, the HDTV has had a ratio of 16:9. Looking at these ratios shows that the ratio is a square of the other. That means that the ratio of the current picture has been reduced significantly and an improvement of the older one. There have been interactive television systems that have been proposed and tested and these could be used for instant public opinion polls or the home shopping. Many of the cable television systems utilize this interactive system for instant ordering of the pay-per-view.


Technological innovations in the world are some of the innovations that have made the world look better than it was during the start of the 20th century and one of the innovations that have been made in the world are in the media of communication. The radio came first in this; however, the real revolution on this was to come in the early and mid 20th century with the innovation of the television. This television has been involved in covering major events in the world and the United States of America in particular, and the most important of them all being the World War II and the Cold war which came in the mid 20th century. However, the pop culture and the high innovations have been the hallmark of this great innovation and this has helped in the political, sociological, technological and economical aspects of the United States development. This paper has analyzed this great innovation of the television medium on how it has played roles in major events, its pop culture and the general technological innovation like the coming of the digital system.




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