Electronic Television: The TVs of The Future


We are. Currently I think a lot of people would say living through the golden age of television in terms of the quality and the quantity of shows that are Out there you are scholar of the medium and scholar of the technology itself. I'm curious what you see. As the connection between technological psychological breakthrough sort of happened and the development of the actual content that we see on those screens. You have any thoughts on that we could start at the current moment right. I mean in terms of the way in which networks are producers have to respond to both kind of changing industrial conditions like the challenges to traditional networks new distribution services how streaming services actually changed the way that not only is content delivered but then what kind of genres actually seem best within that context and so often I talked to my students about you. Know How do they view. What do they consider intimate viewing and so it both is about the actual genre the kinds of formats and the programming? But also. Oh it's about the technology itself so they'll talk about how viewing on an IPAD is more intimate for them and that they pick particular genres to view in that intimate context so dramas that they have to concentrate more on our things that they would watch on their IPAD. Things that they watch on big screens are things that they want to watch. What their friends traditional television network programs sitcoms like a good place Game of thrones of course because they WANNA have all the sort of detail of the screen. So it's a combination of both the viewing practice the screen itself and then the kind of industrial and technological conditions. The moment my son was watching for a while wilde his my oldest son this so this is appropriate. It's not like he's seven was what was watching. Game of thrones on his phone and I was like that is just a terrible injustice to visit experience. No you can't do that. You have to see a lot of excrete and then eventually came around. But the other thing that I thought about a lot is the ability to both binge-watch but also to re-watch right but kids today forget I mean when when I grew up on fifty one when I grew up we didn't have VCR's even much less streaming and so things just aired pretty much once and then there would be like a rerun in the summer and that was it you would get two passes at it and you had to watch it. You couldn't posit. You can do anything like that and so it put a ceiling on the complexity of the kinds of stories. You could tell because people could only take in so much they couldn't go back and re watch it again to figure out what happen right. What's you could tape something and then once you could stream it will once you could binge-watch it suddenly the kinds of stories? You're able to tell really got more complex. Yes absolutely I mean I think think about lost as this kind of transition moment to about like how they even. I don't know if you remember when they tried to do reruns of lost and they had to put captions on the bottom him to explain how the what would happen before because people couldn't kind of remember it was seen as such a complex narrative and it just didn't work in reruns right and so that would not be a problem now so you can tell these kind of very complex stories but it's fascinating to me that kind of toggle between different attention levels so some the students to where I just had my first class yesterday of the semester and they were talking about how often it's difficult for them to only watch something on their screen that they want to also so you know chat on their on their phones or whatever and so that. They put in sort of safeguards for particular programs so that they will only watch and so they're capable of doing that right. It's now these various contexts. Viewing we have all sorts of sizes and types of screens for viewing. So I think that's not just a new thing and so thinking of the history of Color Television in is also related to those kinds of issues chain so I want to make sure we go back and talk about the history because we were just immersed in early days of what was effectively black and white television television than Farnsworth was working on. TV The next big breakthrough after that is really colored TV. And you've written about this. At length was the first kind of most most promising attempt to what was the first hint that colored. TV was coming. Well it's interesting because color. TV was always the development was kind of running alongside black and white but it was a more complex technology to develop you know just to manage the various technical aspects it would require eventually a larger bandwidth and it just was also also more difficult to manage and control to get color right severi early on it was sort of seen as this is a maybe a novelty that will eventually become something that is what what everybody watches. It's the eventual place. We're going is color because that would be the full sensory experience yet. Black and white would probably be the first standard and and so we have a moment in late twenties where we see demonstrations of color. John logie Baird in the UK. And Herbert Ives at Bell Labs and the US demonstrating color player and people being very impressed with it. So that's kind of a big moment Like a successful color television system reporters are writing about it and so it's what year period of seven hundred eighty nine. Yeah so color. I'm just thinking about color. Film is like wizard of Oz. That stuff is thirty. Eight thirty nine. Yes but so really. The history of color film people will talk about how it's really always had colored handpainted color film and so forth so again that was always we've seen is that would be the complete experience sound color movement rate for both mediums. In a way. When do we start to see things? That aren't just kind of science. Experiments elements where people are actually like they were building actual sets in their starting to talk about how we could get these into consumers homes. Well there's a period in the forties it starts with the competition four four. What would become a working color television system? That often was talked about as a practical color television system that could be commercialized really intensified and that's when RCA starts it's getting involved in it too about Amir's workin starts working on it as well as CBS well in there becomes this sort of competition there's other inventors and that's of course I'm sure you talked about with black and white televisions not just one in bitter right. It's this kind of complex story about patents and industrial competition and individual inventors and inventor's that are working for major companies and so that happens with colored television as well but we also have World War Two. That breaks it up Chris. Paul and so it's not not until the late forties early fifties that we start to see the industry getting together to start coming up with a standard and so various companies are competing to be the standard tendered for us color television so the first commercially available color TV sets show up in the fifty in the fifties. There's a brief brief moment were CBS's. I awarded the standard and then it goes to RCA WHO's the parent company of NBC so NBC starting in Nineteen Fifty Three. They are the only network. That's really taking color as this. Is Our project. This is our brand. Eventually that's why they have the peacock rate as the funding the logo and and it's also point of identification. Of course that this is brought to you in living color was away for you to know that you're missing something. This program in particular is in color Unusually it was some kind of spectacular. Something that you would actually want to see in color and then the reviews were all describing it like oh this Peter Pan Spectacular. It's only really worth it if you you were seeing it in color. Because they of course gave color TV sets to all the reviewers as well and they were different places in the fifties where RCA placed color TV set so that people people had exposure to it because color TV sets were around two thousand dollars when their first release in and quickly went to like five hundred but still in there. What's out roughly in? Oh I don't know the translation a lot and so the black and white sets which has only gone in the market in the late forties and we're just starting dissemination. Were more like two hundred right so they were already a big item color. TV was a big luxury so that was seen as a high end luxury items. You had to be sort of an early adopter to maybe do it. And you had to have a reason as a consumer to really want to see it right as you were just getting used to black and white and this was part of the discussion to consumers had just been sold. Black can wait television. And then these color systems were coming out and sew. CBS did not have a compatible color system. Which is color system that you could transmit in color and would be picked up also at black and white and so that was some of the issue and NBC made this kind of public interest argument? That people had just bought these sets. Why should they now make? Those was useless. So we're developing a compatible color set which was allowing you to do it either way you can broadcast in EP of black and white set. That's great it'd be of color set. You can pick it up and color in terms of the content pioneers Disney. Did some early influential work with color. Right he was one of the typical were Disney. He was one of the early adopters the format so that was that the wonderful world of Disney. That was I called the wonderful world of Colored Disney had been working with ABC in the fifties and then they moved to NBC purposely for color. Because they're yes. His Ni saw himself as a if you could go back and watch the first episode sexually available on on Youtube and he presents himself and the studio as a an innovator in all these different ways I we brought sound to film than we were the first with animated films films to bring color and then now here we are and we're bringing teller to

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