Technology is truly amazing. And yet I am even more amazed at the people it serves. A case in point, and the cause for the writing of this brief article, is the development of the transmission of transitory pictures which we have come to identify simply as “TV.”
About ninety years ago as radio was being developed as a commercial enterprise, people began to ideate the possibility of transmitting not only sound, but video as well. Early experiments, without going into specific history, produced some small degree of success as early as the late 1930s. But it was not until the 1950s that commercial television began to spread widely across the country. If my memory serves me correctly the small city in which I lived presented its first commercial broadcast to the residents in 1951.
This new medium was to have very little bearing on my life for many more years, although I attended college in a much larger city, and there was a television set in the student lounge on which one might, if he chose to do so, watch a baseball game or something that someone else chose to watch. I mostly avoided all that.
The early “TV sets” had very small oscilloscope-sized screens, some of the larger ones perhaps offering thirty square inches of viewing field. It was not long, though, until larger screens were widely available, and by 1967 when I got my first set, the screen sported a 19-inch diagonal measurement screen. This might have approached 200 square inches of viewing area. By 1973, I actually had a 19" color TV!
Fast forward to recent years. I now have a 46-inch HDTV, and it is quite small compared to those some of my acquaintances have. Some of them provide, I am sure, up to fifteen square FEET of viewing space! (My modest home is not nearly big enough for one of these. Neither are most of the homes in which I have seen them.)
Anyway, what now is the new standard of “TV viewing”? Of course you know the answer to that. It is the somewhat under four square inch screen on your cell phone! We’ve gone full circle. And have you tried to watch an NBA game on one of these? How big is the basketball? Never mind the NHL.
As I said, people are much more amazing than is technology.
What am I really saying here in far too many words? If one hasn't time to sit down and watch TV, he has no need to be watching TV at all. imho.