The television is one of the most prominent inventions of the 20th Century. It has become
one of the most common ways people view the larger world beyond them, as well as being one
of the best ways for people to escape from the world.
The television has become such an integral part of homes in the modern world that it is
hard to imagine life without television. The boob tube, as television is also referred to, provides
entertainment to people of all ages. Not just for entertainment value, but TV is also a valuable
resource for advertising and different kinds of programming.
What began from a simple magnetic wheel design soon grew into the electronic TV.
These early beginnings would eventually take us to the 3D 1080P HDTV world and beyond, but
it didn‟t get there without hitting some milestones along the way.
Different experiments by various people, in the field of electricity and radio, led to the
development of basic technologies and ideas that laid the foundation for the invention of
In the late 1800s, Paul Gottlieb Nipkow, a student in Germany, developed the first ever
mechanical module of television. He succeeded in sending images through wires with the help of
a rotating metal disk. This technology was called the „electric telescope‟ that had 18 lines of
Around 1907, two separate inventors, A.A. Campbell-Swinton from England and Russian
scientist Boris Rosing, used the cathode ray tube in addition to the mechanical scanner system, to
create a new television system.
From the experiments of Nipkow and Rosing, two types of television systems came into
existence: mechanical television and electronic television.
Mechanical Television History
In 1923, an American inventor called Charles Jenkins used the disk idea of Nipkow to
invent the first ever practical mechanical television system. By 1931, his Radio visor Model 100
was being sold in a complete kit as a mechanical television.
In 1926, just a little after Jenkins, a British inventor known as John Logie Baird, was the
first person to have succeeded in transmitting moving pictures through the mechanical disk
system started by Nipkow. He also started the first ever TV studio.
From 1926 till 1931, the mechanical television system saw many innovations. Although
the discoveries of these men in the department of mechanical television were very innovative, by
1934, all television systems had converted into the electronic system, which is what is being used
Electronic Television History
The experiments of Swinton in 1907, with the cathode ray tube for electronic television
held great potential but were not converted into reality. Finally, in 1927, Philo Taylor Farnsworth
was able to invent a working model of electronic television that was based on Swinton‟s ideas.
His experiments had started when he was just a little boy of 14 years. By the time he
became 21, Philo had created the first electronic television system, which did away with the
rotating disks and other mechanical aspects of mechanical television. Thus was born the
television system which is the basis of all modern TVs.
The first televisions sold for about fifty-five dollars, which only people of wealth could
afford. Electronic televisions were introduced to the United States at the 1939 World‟s Fair.
The first electronic television set was the 1938 DuMont Model 180 and cost around one hundred
All the early television systems were black and white, with color television being
invented much later on. Since the early invention of television in the beginning of the 1900s,
history has seen many firsts in the area of television. During the 1950s, television overtook
1950-1959 was an exciting time period for television. In the USA, B&W television
exploded onto the scene at the beginning of the decade, mid-decade saw electronic color
television and remote controls launched, and at the end of the decade the public witnessed some
interesting styling changes and the introduction of transistorized television. The toddler was
becoming an adolescent.
By the 1970s, television had become the dominant media force it is today, with 24 hour
programming, mass advertising and syndicated shows.
In the 1980s satellite television shrunk the world, making live feeds from other countries
and time zones possible. The new millennium brought the advent of digital television, which is
the future of television.
The first milestone in making TV more modern was nothing to do with the TV itself, but
in one of its accessories, the VCR. Now, people did not need to be actually watching their
television sets when the program they wanted to see came on. They could setup a video cassette
recorder to record the show for playback later when it was more convenient for them.
The VCR also became a standard for watching Hollywood movies at home. This was the
first nail in the coffin of Hollywood‟s power. Next came the DVD.
This was an optical media that had much higher resolution and a cleaner picture than
VCR‟s could attain due to its all digital nature. This milestone whet peoples appetites for
increasing picture quality and eventually led to HDTV, one of the largest milestones since color
television. This brought the number of lines of resolution up from 525 to 1080. The difference
was night and day.
The replacement of DVD with Blu Ray was another milestone in the history of television.
Now the Hollywood movies we brought home could be viewed in the modern 1080p format. The
latest milestone for television is 3D.
This is agued to no end as to whether or not it really is a milestone or just a fad.
Originally theaters used 3D to try to bring people out of their home theaters and back into the
real theaters. It was no time, however, before 3D made the move to home theaters. Theater
owners will have to come up with something new to drag people from their televisions again.
Television is now considered to be the best source of entertainment and a
powerful source of information. One can only imagine how different life would be in a world
without television. It has become such a powerful medium that, without it, we would be deprived
of much information, as well as entertainment.
The beginning of a new medium in any age is an exciting and intriguing issue for all the
people of that particular time period. The emergence of television as a mass medium of
communication was much more important in improving leisure opportunities for ordinary
Before partition people of sub-continent were aware of broadcasting in the shape and
form of Radio; however, TV as a mass medium to them was not a reality. Even after partition for
quite a time TV was not introduced to the people mainly due to the reason that no trained
technical staff was available to run a TV station. The efforts continued, however, and bore fruit
when on Nov 26, 1964 country‟s first TV station was set up in Lahore.
By this time TV had advanced to color transmission in a number of countries, PTV was a
B/W version. The most prominent feature of PTV‟s early years was the live transmission for it
did not have the recording facilities. It was not the news to be read in real time only, but the
talks, plays and music was also broadcast live. It was a unique experience for all the directors,
producers, performers and the technical staff.
In 1973 when all the TV stations in the country were linked by a microwave network,
enabling live telecast of different programs which helped the PTV save time and money. Now a
drama at Lahore station could be watched by viewers in Karachi and Islamabad at the same time
and similar transmission from Karachi could be made for the upcountry stations. This facility
was fully exploited at the time of Lahore Islamic Summit of Feb 1974. Though the Islamic
conference coverage was very successful, many thought it would have been far better had it been
a colored transmission. Another reason to do away with the black and white broadcast was that
in most part of the world the TV transmission was getting colored and companies were now not
making parts for the equipment used in the B/W transmission. The day came soon when in 1976
COLOUR TRANSMISSION STARTED on experimental basis. Regular Color transmission
started from Feb 18, 1982.
PTV excelled in broadcasting various programs – news analysis, talk shows especially
for the youth and entertainment purposes. But what earned it distinction was its drama
production. Another area where TV in Pakistan has been a major source of entertainment is the
coverage of sporting events. PTV keeps people glued for hours to watch sports of their interest. It
also brings business to TV.
As a business and industry television broadcasting is undergoing a lot of changes. New
patterns of ownership have emerged on the broadcasting scene. Private TV stations have stated
functioning since 2002 when first private TV channel got its license for PEMRA i.e. Pakistan
electronic media regulatory authority. Since then various private entertainment, news and sports
based channels are working in the country that are helping not just in the development of
industry but have also created a lot of job opportunities for various creative individuals who were
before relying just on one state-controlled channel i.e. PTV.
The invention and introduction of television in the life of people became a turning point
in the history of the mankind. At the same time, television changed and evolved in the course of
time. Today, it is possible to look back on the development of television and to reveal substantial
differences between the television of today and television of the past. In this regard, the
comparison of television in the past and present is not always in favor of the modern television
because it is more profit-driven and less enthusiastic than the television of the past.
Like telephone, television is a wonderful gift of science after the invention of electricity.
Today, television is an important means of entertainment and education. It has the advantages of
both radio and cinema. We can see pictures and listen to their conversations simultaneously.
Originally only black and white pictures were produced in television. But now, colored pictures
are seen in TV.
Through television, modern man has conquered time and space. Through television we
can see events, dramatic performances,' musical functions, speeches and exhibitions which are
held in distant places. At the same time we can hear the music and the talk of those speakers,
musicians or of the actors in the drama.
Television is a medium of entertainment. We do not take trouble, of going outdoors to
see a drama or a musical functions or a foot, ball or cricket match. We can see these things at our
home on television screens. Many fare things are also telecast on TV screens. Speeches of
V.I.Ps., important dialogues, sessions in Parliament, launching of rockets and space-crafts etc.
are directly telecast. By watching them, we feel as if the entire world has become our next door
The educative role of television cannot be denied. The UGC Programs are being shown
in the national channel of the television. Thousands of students are being benefited through this
program. Now many purpose! Television programs are made to fight many social evils such as
illiteracy, dowry problem, and superstition, ill-health, and ignorance, political corruptions etc.
Very often television exercises bad influence upon the youngsters. Rape, murder and
violence are adopted by those young people because of the adverse impact of television.
Television is a good medium of communication that prevents us from communicating
with each other. Glued to our seats we watch this one-eyed monster leaving our guests in the
room, or turning a deaf ear to our mother‟s call. Often our food is left uneaten and home work
undone. Our sleep is lost in “Alice Wonderland” or in some unknown world where “Captain
Planet” takes us on his shoulders. After the Second World War, Baird invented it for us so that
we might get knowledge with pleasure. But we have closed our eyes to all kinds of knowledge
and have opened up our hearts to all types of vulgar pleasure. Before the invention of TV we
used to have creative hobbies. We used to entertain our friends and go outside for our
amusement to cinemas, restaurants, parks and playground. We used to wait anxiously for the
morning newspaper and liked to read books in our spare time. But now these entire things have
become dead tales of the past. TV is encouraging passive enjoyment and cutting us off the real
But all does not mean that TV has only bad aspects. It has many good aspects and effects.
Many educational, scientific, historical and political programs that are shown on TV are very
interesting and informative. We are taken to any corner of the world where any game of our
interest in being played. We are taught how a particular dish is cooked, how a particular disease
can be prevented or cured, how our houses can be decorated without spending much money and
more about social, economic and spiritual life. So nothing about TV is good or bad; our thinking
or the way we look at its programs makes it so. Dish antenna or cable network has added to the
importance of TV. But it has also brought some bad name to it. Now through dish antenna we
can travel throughout the world sitting in our home. Different channels of different countries
show their cultural, political and social programs. Some countries like India and Russia show
such programs as are immoral, unethical and obscene from our point of view. Such programs are
causing sexual perversion and violence among the youth. Government should ban such channels.