These days, we complain about kids being glued to the smartphone or tablet screen. Those hours of online content keep them fully occupied, too occupied perhaps. But if we look back to when we were the kids, we were just as occupied with watching TV all morning during weekends when our favourite shows came on. And our parents would take over after that, and night-time would usually be family time with everyone gathering in front of the TV to watch a movie together. Dad would stay up longer for the late-night shows.
Before TV came along, people were engaged in other things to occupy their free time with. Going to the park for some recreational activities, playing board games, reading, fishing or baking are just some of the many things people used to do back then. But when TV got in the picture, those activities became less popular. People started spending time indoors and watching moving pictures in the comfort of their living room, albeit in black and white. And for the first time, doing nothing (except watching TV) brought more joy and excitement in people’s lives.
When TV was first introduced back in the 1940’s, it was a thing of luxury. Owning one would mean that you had money. There were cases where those who could not afford a TV would peek into the windows of those who do, if only to catch a glimpse of the “magic box” in action. But soon it became much more affordable, and eventually almost every household now has a TV.
As time passed, TV was no longer a device where we only watched shows, news and live broadcasts. VHS came along, followed by Laser Disc (LD), Video Compact Disc (VCS), (Digital Video Disc) DVD and Blu-Ray (BD) disc. Movies became readily available for everyone to watch at their own time and pace, in the comfort of home, and TV evolved into much more advanced display devices. There’s also satellite TV, with hundred of channels and thousands of shows to choose from. Again, people’s lives changed.
Today, even though TV has lost a bit of its lustre with people turning to smartphones and tablets that offer endless hours of content literally at their fingertip, the so-called “idiot box” still occupies the cabinet top in most homes. Smart TV and TV box now help the television stay relevant, with features like Netflix and YouTube built-in.
In general, TV still plays an important role, especially in disseminating the latest news and happenings around the world. Programming has also become diversified, with reality TV becoming increasingly popular. Will TV ever be replaced with something else more life-changing in the near future? Perhaps. As for now, let’s just sit back, relax and enjoy watching our favourite shows on TV.