"Television is not the Truth. Television is god-damned amusement park. Television is a circus, a carnival, a traveling troupe of acrobats, storytellers, dancers, singers, jugglers, sideshow freaks, lion tamers and football players. We're in the boredom killing business."A television set is a commonly found device in almost all households across the world. It is like another member of a family; we just cannot do without a television. Despite the fact that this audio-visual device has a set of advantages and disadvantages, it has such a significant place in our daily lives that, more often than not, its virtues tend to overshadow its vices. And why not? Television, for us, is like a book, for our previous generations - a loyal friend, always with them whenever they need it. And it does virtually everything for us, from telling us what is happening on the other side of the world, giving us a live coverage of our favorite sport, to informing us what our favorite celebrity is doing, and also giving us some really helpful cooking and health tips. And, it does not just end there. The world television industry is one of the major industries, generating enormous amount of money. It is a source of livelihood for millions of people the world over.
~ Paddy Chayefsky
Owing to all the good things that television does to us, it becomes rather difficult to imagine our lives without one. In fact, some of us might not even want to think about such a scenario. Our lives would be so incomplete in the absence of TV, we would be so incomplete. This may seem like an outlook of TV lovers, as there are also several people across the world, who staunchly believe that it is indeed an 'Idiot Box', that it is a good-for-nothing device that can only waste one's time and incur heavy personal losses. Moreover, some people who debate against television also suggest that its use should be restricted or, in some extreme cases, completely banned. Nevertheless, we cannot but acknowledge the impact that TV has on our everyday lives, and on the society as a whole. But, have you ever thought of how the world would be if this amazing device was never invented?
Television arrived on the world platform only in the 20th century. It was a remarkable breakthrough in the field of technology and telecommunications. Its popularity rose with every passing day and in no time, made its way into millions of households worldwide. Today, television has such a strong influence that the newer generations tend to find it extremely difficult to imagine that there was a time, when there was no TV. Sitting before a television set and watching our favorite show or a movie with our family is very comforting. It is like taking some time out from our busy schedule, in order to relax a bit.
One of the major advantages of television is that it has shrunk the world and reduced distances. We not only know, but also see what is happening in the other parts of the world, live, while enjoying the comfort of our home. If TV was not invented, this would have been a major hurdle; it would have still been possible for us to acquire knowledge about current affairs, by means of newspapers and transistors, but we would not have been able to actually see all those happenings, in which case, it would have been very difficult for us to gauge the degree of suffering and/or problems of others. TV has helped us to become sensitive to the difficulties of others, which can only happen if we are able to actually see what they are going through. This is one of the greatest advantages of TV on a personal level.
Television provides live coverage of some of the most significant events, which tend to occupy an important place in human history. Remember the live coverage of the Gulf War that was telecast all over the world in 1990? The whole world watched in horror, the destruction that some of the major cities suffered during that period. Without television, none of us would have been able to witness an event that changed the course of world history. The visuals, which were shown on TV during the Gulf War, made a long-lasting impact on the minds of people, and we still tend to remember some of them very vividly. Such is the power of television, we always tend to remember what we have seen, rather than what we have read or heard.
Television today, has come a long way. This is the age of digital satellite television. What is being watched by us sitting at our homes, can also be watched on some faraway island in Africa. So, no matter wherever we travel, our favorite TV shows always accompany us there, and we never have a feeling of loneliness. It is like meeting your near and dear one's everyday, and watching them talk and do things, just like we do everyday. When we travel alone to unknown places, for purposes such as work, etc., or are alone at home, TV is the best companion to share our boredom. We can either browse through the numerous channels or watch our favorite show or a movie, or can simply listen to some soothing music. All this wouldn't have been possible if TV was not there to accompany us. Furthermore, according to some psychologists, television can help people, to a large extent, to deal with monophobia, the fear of being alone.
One of the main functions that television has been performing lately, is to uncover those bits of information which are otherwise not known to the general public. Television has aided to uncover a number of illegal activities, financial scams, and other corruption rackets which have taken place all over the world. With the help of hidden television cameras, numerous sting operations have been performed on people indulging in criminal and anti-social activities. This has helped common people remain alert with regards to certain vices that exist in society, and also to, in a way, figure out a way to deal with them. Some of the great international movements to fight the vices of society have been organized with the aid of television, by means of its tremendous mass appeal and influence. Without the invention of television, people would have remained ignorant about the various illegal happenings in society, and would never have been in a position to fight social vices. Moreover, the other audio and print media are not as influential as television, simple because their public reach is limited.
Television has also proven to be a very influential medium of information for the industrial sector. Every new development in the industry, every new product launched, is advertised on television, obviously because most of the world can be informed about the newest development and its pros and cons, at one single time. This way, it is much easier to estimate how the world would react to a particular economic/commercial development. And, how can we forget the huge number of infomercials, spanning around half an hour and telling us how to clean our car windshields or how to stop hair loss. These ads, though they may seem extremely boring at times, do sell a large number of consumer products all over the world and, more often than not, have really high TRPs. Plus, there are numerous useful tips on things that we do on a daily basis. Would the infomercials be possible without the TV? Even before the invention of television, people advertised through newspapers and radio. But again, as mentioned above, they had, and still have, a very restricted mass appeal.
Have you ever given a thought to the amount of money we would have spent in order to watch our favorite sports, music concerts, award functions, and fashion shows? Television brings all these to our homes, where we can watch them comfortably, and for free. Would this have been possible if television was not invented?
In fact, we make more use of the TV than we think. Television screens are there everywhere, in restaurants, in banks, at train stations, and airports. We watch for getting the latest stock updates, getting train and airplane schedule. It is indeed tough to imagine how we would have done without televisions at our disposal.
Many people would argue against the invention of television and would tell us how advantageous it would have been for us, if the device was never invented. The very first argument would be regarding the adverse effects which some of the telecast content seems to have on the minds of people, especially children. This is true in some cases, where people tend to indulge in activities such as excessive drinking, rash driving, and drug abuse. But again, this depends on personal preferences.
Another argument against the invention of television is that anti-social elements, and terrorists get ideas from violent movies and shows telecast on world television. This leads to the increase in crime rate, and also puts the lives of thousands of people in danger. But, criminal minds can be triggered through books and newspapers as well.
One of the major arguments against the invention of TV is that it tends to ruin our social life and family bonds. This seems to have some element of truth, as spending long hours watching TV tends to make us aloof from our social circle and friends. It also, at times, makes us insensitive towards family issues. It also poses several hazards to our health, such as diabetes, heart disease, and early death. So, if television was never invented in the first place, people would not have been tempted to watch it for several hours together, and get their minds corrupted with some of its content.
No matter how much we may debate against the invention of television, one thing is for sure, nobody can deny the important place that it occupies in the world today. Somehow, its virtues always tend to overshadow its vices. And this is quite fair - with so many things that television provides us, it is definitely impossible to think of life without the TV in this age.