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Watching American Television: Pluses and Minuses

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TELEVISION History of the Television 1927 – American engineer Philo T. Farnsworth develops the dissector tube, the basis of current televisions.

1939 – RCA and researcher Vladimir Zworykin research and perform experimental telecasts from the Empire State Building. These efforts culminated in the debut of television at the 1939 Worlds Fair.

1952 – The first UHF station, KPTV in Portland, Oregon goes on the air.

1973 – Giant screen-projection color TVs begin to be marketed.

1977 – 75 percent of TV homes have at least 1 color set.

1995 – Wide-Screen HDTV sets are predicted to go on sale by 1997. 25.7 million colour TV’s are sold this year.

Television and Society Every day, millions of people across the world sit down and turn on a television set. What is it that makes television so popular? The answer to that question is quite simple: it’s entertaining. People like to have fun and to be entertained, which is what television provides. Turn on any TV and you can watch a comedy, a thriller, reality tv, almost anything.

However, many people believe that viewing television can have negative effects on one’s life. Violent shows can cause violent behavior in those people that watch the shows, especially if a child is the viewer. Negative health effects can become evident if a person sits around the house all day watching TV. But is there anything positive that can be said about television? Educational programs are believed to be a positive element of television, since those watching will learn from the show. Television is also viewed as being a way for anyone to connect to the world. Basically, television allows us to gain knowledge about events occurring in China, Brazil, and all around the world. Television allows us to communicate with each other. And of course, the main positive aspect of television is that it provides us with entertainment. Feeling bored with nothing to do? Turn on the TV for a half hour and enjoy your favourite television show.

As you can see, there are both positive and negative effects associated with television. But no matter what anyone says, one thing is clear: television is here to stay. The technology keeps getting better, as more and more channels become available to us. Television ratings today are higher than ever. People are tuning in, and television is a part of almost everyone’s life.

Negative Effects of Television 1)Violence on TV effects people, especially children, in negative ways. Before the average American child leaves elementary school, researchers estimate that he or she will have witnessed more than 8,000 murders on television. Nearly 3,000 studies have found a connection between television violence and real violence. For example, studies involving children show that the more violence a child watches on TV, the more violent he or she will act.

2)People that watch TV are influenced by what they watch. For example, a person might watch a man swearing on television, and then they use the same swear words as the person on television did. Or a young girl might watch a show in which all of the main characters are skinny, and because of this she might want to make herself thinner, endangering her health in the process.

3)Some people become addicted to TV. They watch eight hours of television a day, and become lazy couch potatoes, waiting in desperation for their favourite shows to come on. They cancel appointments and ruin their social/family life, all because of TV. Of course, this level of addiction is rare, but many studies have proved that milder addictions are widespread.

4)Watching too much TV can have a negative effect on one’s health. It is said that you burn more calories while sleeping than you do while watching TV. Sitting on a couch for a few hours each day can cause damage to one’s health.

Positive Effects of Television 1)Educational programs can benefit viewers because they learn valuable information in an entertaining way. Shows such as David Suzuki’s “The Nature of Things” provide us with educational information that is easy to learn from.

2)News programs allow us to see what is going on in the world around us. Turn on the TV, and chances are there will be something on that involves events in another country. Television allows us to view the world from the comfort of our living rooms.

3)The television industry is very large, employing thousands of people. Without television, many people would be out of jobs, and a lot of money would not be spent. Television creates employment, and generates millions of dollars.

4)Television is a source for entertainment. Just as some people play video games or go to the movies, many people turn on a TV for one simple reason: to be entertained. Television provides us with something to do.

Canadian Television and US Influence In 1949, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) began producing purely Canadian productions. Throughout the 1950’s, most of the television programs being watched in Canada were Canadian shows. However, by the 1980’s, most Canadians spent most of their time watching American programs. Although there is much more competition now from our southern neighbors than there was a decade ago, Canada is finally beginning to hold its own in quality television programming. There are many shows on that are Canadian productions, such as “This Hour Has 22 Minutes”, a popular show that parodies recent news stories.

Obviously, television programs from the United States occupy the main timeslots on Canadian television. They have bigger stars, bigger budgets, and a bigger audience, so it is no wonder that Canada looks to America for its TV programs. Shows such as “Friends”, “Law and Order”, and “The Simpsons” are just a few popular US shows that are shown often on Canadian TV. In fact, American television is so big that most stations that appear on Canadian TV’s are American, such as Fox and ABC. American television influence is not only evident in Canada, but also around the world. Many American shows are broadcasted all over the world.

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