foundation of color television as an entertainment and news media
was formed in the 1950's with pioneer anchors such as Edward
R. Murrow and Gabriel
Heatter setting the standard for later news reporting as the
television era matured. However, I believe their fair and balanced
reporting of fifty years ago is no longer observed by today's
more Hollywood-like national networks, which seem to focus more
on their budgets and their ratings than the truthfulness of the
news they are reporting.
in another area of programming included names such as Milt Beryl,
Bob Hope, Lucy Arnes, Jerry Lewis, and Jackie Gleason to name
a few who were setting the standard for the new entertainment
venues that would fit into an hour or a half-hour time slot that
would also make room for the advertiser's message. This unique
type of programming became so popular in American living rooms
across the country that millions of people would change their
schedules and dinnertime eating habits literally overnight.
would repeat some of the scenarios the following day to others
along with imitating the musical jingles played from the advertisers,
music provided by musicians whose lives, if interested, were described
in the lyrics of Barry Manilow's song, Studio
Musician. Watch some 1950's
television ads, but you'll need a WinZip program.
the same time, children's television programming began to come
alive from the hard and creative work of many dedicated individuals.
These included people such as the amazing Mr. Fred Rogers of Mr.
Rogers, the extremely creative and on-the-floor funny Milton "Soupy" Sudman of the Soupy
Sales Show, the soft-spoken and kind fatherly voice of Bob Keeshan of Captain
Kangeroo and his sidekick, Hugh "Lumpy"
Brannum, (aka Mr.
Green Jeans), along with the very talented Bob Bell of the classic Bozo
the Clown Show
was transmitted from the studios of WGN
Television, Chicago. Waiting lists for children to find
themselves in the audience and on the TV screen with Bozo were
measured in years, not weeks. The show was so popular parents
would place their children on waiting lists when they were born,
knowing how old they would be when they got to sit in front of Bozo "LIVE" on WGN.
list included the now famous daily children's show aimed at inner-city
youth started by the producer, Joan Ganz Gooney. She had
a dream for a program on PBS that would become a household
word on the lips of every parent and child in the country called Sesame
Street. She worked originally with the late Jim Henson,
creator of the Muppets,
who changed forever the world of puppetry. Where else could you
see the world-famous jazz singer, Tony Bennett, doing a
duet with Miss Piggy? Now on the air for more than 35 years, Sesame Street has been accepted all around the world, even
invited into China in 2003.
While the program has been a real solid attempt to help inner-city
youth lift themselves up, unfortunately the reality is that
inner-city youth are more drawn by the fatalism of Gangster
Rap than the hope for tomorrow provided by Sesame
Street. Obviously, inner-city kids have to relate to the
reality of where they are being raised, which is very understandable.
There are no Big Birds walking around where they live talking
to "The Count," just streetwalker "hos"
from the dictionary of Gangster Rap.
producers began to understand that television viewers represented
a huge untapped entertainment vacuum awaiting to be filled through
the medium of television, the need for exciting content exploded
with the creation of television programs that would include formats
such as daytime soap operas, nighttime serial dramas, live theater,
and specific professional sporting events that would grab the
attention of the world.
this end, and through innovative marketing, the introduction of
new concepts that include the Superbowl, providing television
signals that would be watched by tens of millions of viewers in
homes throughout America, and then the world. Who would have dreamed
that fans across the country would sit for at least three hours
on couches in their homes surrounded by friends, drinks, and bowls
of popcorn just waiting to watch sport-stars like "Broadway
Joe" quarterback for the underdog, New York Jets,
in Superbowl III? And it was all in Living
Color, a term coined years ago by an ad agency that would
represent the manufacturing giant of color television, the Radio
Corporation of America (RCA.)
documentaries, innovative game shows (The Price is Right),
quiz shows (The 64,000 Dollar Question), drama series (Kraft
Theater), and sitcoms (Situation
Comedies), along with the innovative weekly Sunday night shows
from Disney, would all spark a new evolution of lively
programming supplied by the four major networks of the time; ABC, CBS, NBC, and PBS.
cable would also became popular across the country, it would instead
provide the capability for even more content through wonderful
and exciting programs produced by new providers such as National
Geographics and the wonderful world of the Discovery
Channel. The Discovery Channel went onto premiere
other successful shows that included the Animal Planet and The Learning Channel (TLC) to name a few, with these programs
and exciting programs being easily adapted to the new world of
was only natural that technology would then help television evolve
to its next step, taking programming into the larger-than-life
world of the larger home theater environment where a home owner
could experience high-resolution pictures with high-quality five-channel Dolby Digital
5.1 stereo-surround sound.
assault on the senses has begun to create a Paradyme Shift, a
sea change if you will, in the way people depend more and more
on their exciting new home television viewing experience. It would
also provide them with renewed incredible pictures and sounds
they had not before experienced from their cable provider's standard
programming and video playback from mediums such as DVD's and
time-shift digital recorders like TiVo.
and only as a side note, many of these fantastic and sophisticated
new products are no longer manufactured in the United States.
Instead, they are produced in whole, or in part, in countries
located all over the world. The production of hardware for the
coming new technology was literally taken away overnight from
right under the noses of American television manufacturers, starting
in the mid 1970's, taking only a decade to begin to take over
the various hardware markets.
political artist creatively showed this shift using side-by-side
drawings through a published cartoon; a left panel showing America
war planes dropping bombs on Japan during WWII while the right
panel was showing Japanese manufacturers dropping in turn millions
of boxes filled with VCR's on American soil only thirty-five years
from the end of WWII.
it was no surprise, as we entered this new millennium, that virtually no television sets
were being produced in the United States under an original American
manufacturer's trademark unless they came for foreign manufacturer's
plant built on U.S. soil. To stay competitive, even the last American
Electronics Company, was forced to move its facilities
to Mexico where only its circuit boards had been previously made.
Ironically, the company was later bought by its earlier audio
manufacturing vendor, Goldstar, the company recently changing
its international name to LG
it was Zenith Engineers who were way ahead of the curve in developing
a television format that would change the way the world would
view that medium forever, instrumental in developing the HDTV
signal transmission system that was to be accepted by the FCC,
which would become the standard in Hi-Def that would be sent and
received in homes around America and the world.
May 1993 - "The
HDTV Grand Alliance is formed to create a single best-of-the-best
high-definition digital television standard. The Grand Alliance
includes AT&T, the David Sarnoff Research Center, General
Instrument, MIT, Philips, Thomson Consumer Electronics,
HDTV Story; A timeline, by Steve Kindig, June 16, 2003
the very first HDTV wide-screen sets were priced around $20,000
in the late 1990's in response to a few new HDTV programs being
introduced by a few program and source providers, the technology
quickly started to explode allowing these sophisticated sets to
sell in larger volumes, dropping prices. This caused the Suggested
Retail Price of a HDTV set to drop by more than 50% for the top
models in only about eight years, the technology adding at the
same time even more amazing features and other viewing formats.
the industry continues in the future, some formats surely will
be washed out or replaced by other new technologies that are better,
cheaper, and more reliable over time, today's proven CRT format
lasting more than sixty years since its use in American television
sets back in the 1940's.
faithful CRT format was also welcomed to the table of the new
HDTV revolution, CRT rear-projection sets coming in at half to
one-third the price of flat-screen systems of the same diagonal
picture-screen size, their street prices selling in the low $1,000
- $2,500 dollar range, making the new HDTV technology into American
homes that would not normally be able to afford them.
flat-screen formats approach the price of CRT HDTV sets, the rear-projection
television format wiill probably disappear from the market. But
that most likely is still years away, the rear-projection format
still incorporating excellent built-in stereo sound systems and
multitasking tuners, these basic features winding up as options
on some more expensive flat-screen models to reduce their very
this world of expensive wide-screen television, today's small,
inexpensive standard-screen color sets featuring mono sound and
cable-ready tuners are still needed. When they are connected to
a digital multi-channel cable
box, these basic sets allow anyone with $99 in their pocket
to still be able to experience most of the entertaining and educational
programs that are now available to wide-screen users without their
needing all that extra jazz.
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