Not many people are alive today who remember a world with a television set. I mean, unless you’re an electrician or someone else who should know, you’ve probably never thought about how those blessed streaming programs made their way into your home.
If you’re interested, read on!
The Radio Corporation of America first brought television to the masses at the 1939 World’s Fair. It would be another 20 years before they appeared in most (about 85%) American homes, and another ten years or so before color schemes hit the waves.
Viewers chose from three or four channels, no DVR, and if you didn’t watch something you missed when it aired, there was no way to watch it.
Things have obviously changed a A lot.
Televisions still do three basic things: receive audio and video data, use that data to deliver sound and picture to you, and provide a way to set channels and volume at home.
Early televisions worked with radio waves that carried both the picture and sound of the television program.
The local television station sent those radio waves over the air using a large transmission tower, and antennas on the roofs of buildings and houses intercepted the waves and carried them through cables to television sets inside.
In 2009, television stations replaced those “analog” signals with digital ones. Our high definition televisions have better picture and sound quality, but the basic method of using radio waves has not changed.
Modern digital television uses different streams for picture and audio.
Images are made up of pixels; There are tens of thousands of them on your screen, each with a “color table” and “intensity”. All the pixels work together to create the required images.
Groups of bits are made up of bytes, which are the communication link between the content and your particular television set. Your modem compiles and decodes information and is an essential piece of the puzzle.
The information can be sent over Wi-Fi or over fiber or cable — or, in the case of streaming, over a computer network.
Your Smart TV allows you to control all functions; It’s basically a large computer, monitor and receiver in one beautiful package.
If there’s one thing history has taught us, it’s that it keeps changing and moving forward.
See also virtual reality, augmented reality and ultra-high definition.