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Future of Broadcasting with Digital Technology in America Essay Example

Radio and Television Broadcasting

Radio and television broadcasting has a huge impact on its listeners and viewers in the USA. The consumption of media takes long hours every day in the life of a typical American. Radio and television play a crucial role in people’s lives. People use television as public entertainment, and the proliferation of news and education. Television influences the social behavior of people, their political views, habits, etc. Today, it is almost impossible to imagine the life without television. It is extremely difficult to understand how people lived without flickering images of different channels. Radio is a very efficient kind of media, with the help of which people are able to get any information through a variety of programs. Today, people can listen to the radio on their way to work or at home while having breakfast, or even on their gadgets.

However, television has a bigger influence on people than radio. Some people argue that the society would be less violent if there were no TV. Children would have been healthier; they would be playing outside instead of endlessly watching TV. Women would cook more and would not buy snacks and fast food, constantly advertised on television. On the other hand, people would be less informed; they would never know what is going on in the world. They would never know about the risks present in today’s world. Over the recent years, audio and television broadcasting have developed in their content and diversity. Both of them have always been a powerful means of attracting people’s attention. The technological advancement of television and audio broadcasting caused changes in the ways of people’s viewing and receiving information.

Audio Broadcasting

Audio broadcasting has always been an integral part of everyday lives of ordinary people. Since its invention, the importance of radio has increased greatly. The radio broadcasting means the wireless transmission of audio signals through the air. It is an important source of information in today’s world.

The functions that radio performs are enormous. The most important and widespread function is domestic broadcasting (Poole, 2003). In every single home, there are radio sets today. They are ranging from cheap and simple portable radios to expensive and luxurious systems. They have resulted from years of use and improvement. However, technicians still introduce newer and more expensive radio sets to the market.

Due to the introduction of the radio, people can use cellular phones today. Nearly seventy percent of the world population owns such phones (Poole, 2003). Firstly, these telephones were huge, but today due to the technological advancement they can easily slip into a person’s pocket. Later, the radio market developed Bluetooth, which also became an important device in communication.

People also use radio for long distance communication. For instance, satellites allow radio communication systems to connect the world reliably. In order to provide worldwide communication these satellites route radio frequencies (Poole, 2003). People use satellites for a great number of purposes. They provide such services as monitoring of the weather, navigation, rescue and searching systems, and broadcasting. Thus, radio has always been a helpful source of communication and information. Radio has provided facilities for better, easier and more flexible life of people around the globe.

Unfortunately, today radio industry needs investment in order to develop and provide high standards in communication. All of the devices, which use radio system, have to meet contemporary requirements. It is important to note that radio has not been invented over one night. Two centuries of various discoveries, scientific developments, and theories preceded it. In order to analyze the quality of radio industry today and the problems it faces, it is important to know how it developed.

The History of the Radio

The history of the radio starts with the introduction of the telegraph, which was a previously designed means of transmitting information. In 1837, an American inventor, Samuel Finley Breeze Morse patented it (Marc, 2000). The telegraph was not very reliable means of long-distance communication. The first telegraph invented in 1844 covered the distance of 64 km from Washington to Maryland (Marc, 2000). It transmitted coded messages, which consisted of dots and dashes conveyed after they were received.

The use of telegraph was considered inappropriate because of its wires. They extended across the better part of the world, connecting Europe and North America. It required days or even weeks in order to deliver a message. The telegraph was dependant on buildings and stations, wired to each other at a fixed route. There was a huge need for more reliable and easy means of communication. In 1876, an American inventor and scientist, Alexander Graham Bell patented the telephone (Marc, 2000). However, it required a system that is even more complicated than the telegraph.

Scientists around the world tried to find a system that would be more powerful than the telegraph. In 1895, an Italian scientist Guglielmo Marconi sent a message in Morse code that was wireless (Marc, 2000). Since that time, American scientists succeeded in their attempts to find a wireless connection.

In 1904, an American inventor Lee Dee Forest, built stations of radio broadcasting in order to ease shipping of goods to the United States (Marc, 2000). They had all the required information on the condition of weather and established the first network of broadcasting. During the next decade, the wireless telegraph became a powerful means of communication for maritime industry. At that time, most of the ships had a radio transmitter aboard.

However, there were a great number of people who started establishing non-maritime broadcasting system. For instance, in 1909, an American promoter Charles D. Herrold found the College of Wireless and Engineering in California (Marc, 2000). Together with his students, he started transmitting news and music. People also started creating their own transmitters in order to pass information, play music, and entertain each other. In 1912, the United States of America required licenses for radio operation (Marc, 2000). However, the government gave them to non-professional broadcasters as well.

The First Commercial Radio Stations

In order to increase the radio sales after the World War I, the Westinghouse Electric Corporation of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania developed the first commercial radio station. Established in 1920, it offered a public program schedule (Marc, 2000). The military radio researcher Frank Conrad ran the projects of various entertaining programs for people. The most important thing was that it was supposed to operate free-of-change. However, the radio station started its broadcasting with reporting presidential election’s results (Vile, 1999).

In 1922, Americans established another broadcasting radio station, the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) (Vile, 1999). The aim of this company was to provide the commercial advertisements free of charge. However, the government could sue the company for such actions and it left the broadcasting industry.
The popularity of radio grew extremely fast. In 1922, more than 60 thousand households had radios, and in 1929, the number raised to nearly 10 million (Vile, 1999). Since that time, American broadcasters needed another means of transmitting programs to the public.

In the USA, the broadcasting stations functioned without government’s aid or assistance. Even though, the radio stations operated independently, they needed new entertainment, news, and sports programs generated by networks. During that time, there were four major networks: the Mutual Broadcasting System, the American Broadcasting System, the Columbia Broadcasting System, and the National Broadcasting System (Vile, 1999). The last one still exists in the USA. By the 1930s, commercial advertising had been funding the American broadcasting system.

With the development of these networks, the radio has become the major news source for millions of people. During the World War II, radio broadcasting reached its peak, transmitting news directly from the frontlines into the people’s homes. American President Franklin Roosevelt addressed Americans directly throughout the war. After the war, the introduction of television lowered the popularity of the radio. However, in 1990s, the radio talk shows regained its influence (Vile, 1999). They were extremely popular because they needed no response while making statements.

Radio Frequencies and Radio Waves

Radio has witnessed and undergone many changes and improvements during the last two decades. Radio is one of the fastest growing technological areas nowadays. However, with the rapid advancement today, the radio always needs to advance along with technology.

Radio waves transmit information through modulation or signal changing. The antenna set receives or transmits these signals on radio or television. The distance of signal transmission and the amount of carried information depends on frequency bands (“2 Radio-Communications theory,” n.d.). There are nine frequency bands, which perform different functions. Extremely low frequency transmits information for five thousand miles or sometimes even more. It can create sounds, which penetrate the depth of the ocean to hundreds of feet. The length of messages it transmits are only one or two characters (“2 Radio-Communications theory,” n.d.). Very low frequency may come through vegetation and water and operate low-speed. Low frequency covers distances up to five thousand miles (“2 Radio-Communications theory,” n.d.). It may use teletypewriter of International Morse Code for carrying out communication.

Medium frequency spreads through ground wave nearly to one thousand miles. It also spans through sky wave up to three thousand miles (“2 Radio-Communications theory,” n.d.). Amplitude modulation (AM) broadcasting uses this frequency band for signal transmission. This frequency promotes both voice and teletype news and information. High frequency band covers only three hundred miles by ground wave (“2 Radio-Communications theory,” n.d.). However, its span by sky wave may spread around the world. It supports two way voice and record communication. Very high frequency band depends on terrain and antenna configuration. The higher the antenna, the greater the distance coverage is.

Frequency modulation (FM) broadcasting uses this frequency band. It provides excellent quality of sound. Ultrahigh frequency distribution methods include air, ground, and satellites. The application of this band includes ambulance, fire and police radio nets (“2 Radio-Communications theory,” n.d.). They are of high quality and extremely reliable. Super high frequency bands transmit a significant amount of information over different voice and television channels. Finally, no less important is extremely high frequency band. It provides the coverage around the globe, both in equatorial and polar orbits. It transmits the data at high-speed rates.

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Thus, the data transmission depends fully on frequency bands. The higher the frequency, the more information and news it can promote. There are two ways of broadcasting radio signals in the United States: amplitude modulation (AM) and frequency modulation (FM). AM audio transmission method originated in 1870s, while FM radio in the 1930s (“AM vs. FM,” n.d.). Amplitude modulation has a worse quality of sound than frequency modulation. It is cheaper and spans through long distances. It contains a large number of stations in any range of frequency. Frequency modulation has less inclination to intervention. However, physical barriers have a huge impact on it.

The main difference between AM and FM is in signal transmission. Noise affects amplitude modulation more than frequency modulation because noise affects amplitude. AM signals stores information on this amplitude. In comparison with amplitude modulation, noise affects frequency modulation much less (“AM vs. FM,” n.d.). FM transmits signal through the frequency, but not the amplitude. FM has better sound quality than AM. The popularity of frequency modulation originated in America. Slowly, FM channels exceeded AM ones. Nowadays, amplitude modulation allows transmitting talk shows and news. Frequency modulation is used to transmit merely music.

Television Broadcasting

The success of the radio industry rushed technology companies to invest in the development of television, which was a new form of broadcasting. Unlike radio, television did not go through amateur experimentation. For more than 45 years, television has been the most widespread source for news and information in the United States (Conway, 2009). It has always provided the most accurate and most truthful information to the American citizens. Before 1947, the number of Americans who had a television set at home was very little. However, by 1990s, almost every home had at least one television, which people watched nearly sever hours per day (Stephens, n.d.).

In 1939, the New York Times predicted that in future television would no more be an innovation (McDowell, 2006). Others thought that television and technology would bring peaceful life to the planet. In 1949, the newspaper Here Is Television: Your Window on the World commented that television would create more friendly and understandable environment (McDowell, 2006). However, people nowadays know that none of those predictions has come true. Today, the planet is on the edge of technological revolution and the consequences may be impressive.

Broadcasting is the way by which people in every corner around the globe receive the information. The television broadcasting means the transmission of audiovisual signals through the air. People receive these signals straight away via their TV sets. Broadcasting has always been a vital instrument for fulfilling social and political needs. Until 1950s, the leaders of the country always used television broadcasting for delivering important information to the whole country (Marc, 2000). Television broadcasting has always been considered and still is an important means of public communication due to its ability to reach a large number of people.

The government has always controlled the broadcasting system. The primary reason for it was that signal transmission moved through the air without any politically defined borders. In 1910, Wireless Act was a legislation that initiated the federal regulation for broadcasting (Marc, 2000). The Congress of the United States demanded all ships to carry television or radio transmitter equipment.

Only in 1934, the government created an independent Federal Communication Commission (FCC), which supervised the broadcasting system (Anderson, 2014). Its obligations were to control radio and television broadcasters and other technological means of communication. In 1980s, this Commission had to license television stations up to eight years because of endless complaints and violations (Marc, 2000). In 1996, the Telecommunication Act forced TV companies to filter out violence of their television programs (Anderson, 2014). Later, due to these new restrictions there was a noticeable decline in broadcasting regulations. In the United States, the invention of new technologies was of great importance, especially the Internet and cable TV, which reached the greater number of people.

The History of Television

The history of television is a long and complicated process. In 1927, Philo T. Farnsworth received the patent for the first electronic television in America (Stephens, n.d.). His first transmitted image was the sign of the American dollar from his laboratory.

The RCA was a company that dominated in the radio industry in the United States and invested fifty million dollars in the development of electronic television (Stephens, n.d.). In 1938, the RCA televised the President Roosevelt’s speech. He was the first President who appeared on the television.

The World War II slowed television development because RCA started military production. Another reason for its slow development was government’s regulation system. In 1943, the American Broadcasting Company entered the television industry. It is one of the most popular networks today, although until 1970s strived hard for its success (Marc, 2000). Another today’s famous broadcasting company Paramount Pictures was blocked by government’s control while trying to enter antiwar television industry. However, in the 1990s, this company together with Warner Bros. established networks in America (Marc, 2000).

Before the 1980s, the time of the cable television development, people could use only three networks (Marc, 2000). The number of programs was limited and in cities, people watched noncommercial stations, which broadcasted educational programs. However, their number was also scarce.

Due to the government’s pressure in control and regulations, the television industry added ratings to their programs. They indicated the age groups for which they designed the programs. For instance, TV-G was the rating for general audience, TV-PG was for children watching television together with their parents, TV-14 were programs for children over fourteen years old (Stephens, n.d.). Later, all the companies added other types of ratings. They displayed V for programs with violent content, S for sexual programs, and L for coursing language (Stephens, n.d.). In 1996, the government passed the bill, which allowed parents to prevent their children from watching inappropriate for that age programs (Stephens, n.d.).

High Definition Television

In 1997, the government provided an additional channel to American broadcasting system, which introduced high definition television, or HDTV (Stephens, n.d.). In 1998, the transmission of clearer and sharper images started.
High Definition (HD) Television has a quality of 720p, 1080i/p. These letters, p and i, describe the way of screen image creation. The p screens present the whole image at once. The i screens show only half of the image at a time. The screen flashes the first half, then the other half. People’s eyes cannot detect these speedy changes. Instead, the viewers see a complete image (Hirschmann, 2011). It is a new type of television, which provides better quality than Standard Definition Television. It is a digital TV for transmitting widescreen, more detailed and high-quality images. It is the best quality Digital Television format available today. There are the following types of High Definition Television: direct-view, plasma, real screen and front screen projection (Hirschmann, 2011).

Standard Definition Television

Standard television still cannot compete with HDTV. Standard Definition (SD) Television is a digital television, which transmits and produces images of higher quality than standard analog broadcast. It has a quality of 480i. Standard Definition Television includes digital cable and digital satellite programming (Hirschmann, 2011). SDTV is the standard television that the broadcasters use to transmit as analog signals. Despite the shift to digital broadcasting, many of the smaller companies still have not converted their equipment to HDTV.

Why People Stopped Watching TV

In 1939, the New York Times wrote that television would never be a competitor of radio, because people have to spend a lot of time watching TV, and American people have no time for that (Kressel & Lento, 2007). Digital television signals can easily compete with computer and telecommunication digital technologies (Starks, 2013).
Even though the television includes enormous number of educational programs people do not watch it. Strangely enough, the television managed to lose its viewers in a very short period. It has nothing to do with the quality of the content it presents. The only reason for it is the invention of the Internet.

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Today, people replace television with the Internet. It has become their favorite means of entertainment and pastime. Even though the use of the Internet is growing among all age groups, it is especially popular among young people. It includes unlimited amount of programs, videos, newspapers and other important information. However, youngsters prefer online entertainment. They do not use the computer as a source of knowledge and education, but only as a means of playing games.

However, there are still a small number of those, who have replaced TV with more constructive pastime. They do not put off the things they have to do immediately. Instead of spending time on the couch, they started a healthy lifestyle. They read more books and newspapers. Moreover, the most important thing is that they spend more time leading their social life. They meet new people, visit community events and communicate more.

Thus, the majority of people stopped watching TV not because they have no time, but because they have even more powerful source of information. The Internet is a widely used source of news. Recently, it has gained more viewers’ attraction than TV. The only thing people should do is to use if wisely.

What Happened to Radio

During the previous century, radio played a significant role in American culture and in the life of Americans. It served as a primary link between public and their private life. However, during the last decade the decline of radio was obvious. Firstly, more than half of people in the United States started using their smart phones and this number is constantly increasing. People stopped using radio even on their mp3 players.

Nowadays, the invention of gadgets allows easy access to the Internet radio via various programs. Additionally, the cars have an ability to connect smart phones to satellite radio.

The quality of radio sound declined because of digital sound. The radio AM and FM waves cannot even compete with it (Singer, 2013).

Another reason for radio decline is constant advertisements. Most of them bear no meaning and context. The better part of music fans seek another wave when the radio advertisement starts. Most of them stopped using radio with the appearance of portable music.

Luckily enough, there has not been a decline in music quality. There is no doubt that music preferences change. It does not mean that music becomes worse. It only means that people face steady evolution in technology production and distribution. It changes the way people consume music. There is no doubt that one day AM and FM radio waves will disappear. However, consumers will fully embrace digital music.

What Happened to Television

There has been long and slow decline of television broadcasting. Since 2002, broadcast television audience has collapsed nearly by half (Edwards, 2013a). Since 2011, according to Citi Research, the negative ratings of cable TV have only been growing (Edwards, 2013b). Media analysts reported that it was their worst year ever. The major TV providers lost more than one hundred thousand of subscribers, which included Broadband Internet users as well. People expected Broadband Internet to benefit from the cable TV collapse. Unfortunately, it did not. Nearly five million of people stopped using TV between 2010 and 2013 (Edwards, 2013b).

Nowadays, people face the major shift from using TV to watching shows and movies on the Internet or their gadgets. TV providers only suffer from this. Television companies cannot keep their customers. People stop watching cable TV and start using companies like AT&T or Verizon. These companies provide a television package together with a high-speed and high-quality Internet.

The amount of videos watched on gadgets goes off scale. People easily watch videos on their iPhones and Androids. Nearly half of all YouTube traffic comes from mobile phones (Edwards, 2013b). Media analysts predict that mobile video traffic around the globe will only increase. The media industry workers call iPads and tablets “vampire media” (Edwards, 2013b). They say people use these devices at night. Thus, people spend more time on digital media than actual television.

The history of radio and television broadcasting is very long, interesting and diverse. The audio broadcasting has changed from the simple telegraph to huge radio stations. The emergence of television and radio was an important event in people’s lives. They used to spend all their time watching news, shows and movies. For instance, these two means of communication helped Presidents to send messages to public.

However, the Internet has completely changed everything. Unfortunately, the majority of people no longer watches TV or listens to the radio. It is easier to find the program they want to watch online. The Internet and enormous number of various gadgets led to the collapse of TV industry. There is a very small amount of people, who watch television occasionally. The analysts believe television industry will not survive. The Internet will become the only way of transmitting information.

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