The Evolution of TV Watching

I’m not a very big TV watcher. It’s not an everyday thing for me; maybe once a week I’ll actually sit down on my couch and watch the tv with my family.  Obviously when televisions first started being introduced in Australia in the 1950’s there was a much better reaction towards them than the one I’m giving now.

To grasp how much the physicality of television and the practice itself of watching television has changed, I decided to interview an older woman named Carolyn (hi mum). When interviewing Carolyn it was revealed that one of the strongest memories of her childhood was the day her family welcomed home their first coloured television. How crazy to think that the fact that she swapped a black and white television for a coloured one became such a memorable moment for her! I can’t even remember the first (or the second or the third) television that my family had. It goes to show how much of a big deal this progression was for Australia.

One of the biggest differences regarding Carolyn’s experience with television and my own was noted when she was describing what this coloured television looked like: “A big wooden box.” She has a way with words doesn’t she? When coaxed into describing this “big wooden box,” she described it as timber and approximately 600m by 1.5m. Pretty different (smaller) to the ones we carry around in our pockets isn’t it?



pic found here

Another contrasting concept was the difference in time spent watching the television. A reason for this can be given to the fact that Carolyn said that her family’s television only had four channels when she was around five years old. I actually laughed when she said that. FOUR channels? I can’t imagine my generation putting up with only four channels. We’ve gotten greedy with our hundreds of channels offering almost anything and everything we might desire to watch. We have sporting events, wildlife documentaries, professional cooking programs, reality shows, news broadcasting, all at the tip of our fingertips.

So with only four channels it isn’t any surprise that Carolyn’s family only watched it at night, before their dinner, (she specified about three times that they never watched while eating – one of the rules she joyfully enforced during my upbringing). When I asked Carolyn what programs she can remember watching as a child, her only response was the news programs.

Pretty different to our own childhood isn’t it?

I believe that one of the reasons the television became so important and such a hot commodity to begin with, was the fact that the television was the only source of live national and international source of information and news available to the public. It was a visual platform that could not be achieved through any other platform at that time

This highlights the change in purpose of the televisions from the initial startup of the television, to now. Now, more than anything else, televisions are there to entertain us. For us, we have access to so many different forms of news on so many different platforms that the importance of the television in regards to delivering news has decreased. Now, television companies have to come up with bigger and better programs that will keep us watching our televisions daily. Despite this, we can watch almost everything on our televisions at a later time on a different platform. I can think of countless tv programs that advertise the fact that you can watch all of their programs on their website at anytime.

It’s going to be interesting in the years to come to see what new direction the evolution of television is going to take.

Until next time,

  • Georgie.

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