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Thoughts and rantings on new technologies

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Here is the "Review of Literature" section of my paper proposal. Perhaps this illustrates a backbone/starting point for my paper and where it may go from here:

Review of Literature:

"After the color standard was set in 1953, broadcasting stations were fairly quick to upgrade their transmission facilities to provide for color programming. Of the 158 stations operating in the top 40 cities, 106 had adopted color capabilities by 1957. Color programming offerings, however, remained fairly limited for quite some time...as of 1965, only 10 percent of U.S. homes had a color set. It was not until the late 1960s, over a decade after the standard was set, that color TV sales rose significantly. Today, approximately 95 percent of all US homes have color television."
- David F. Donnelly, Color Television (2003)

This short account of color television's evolution showcases how unpredictable
consumers may be, and how technological hype and novelty may not accurately represent the real development and "purchase" of technological gadgetry.

Since the ultimate success and duration of color TV, many might assume that a leap of equal proportions, namely from analog to digital video, would have similar impact and staying power today.

The success of 50s-era color TV must be put in context first, however, before such determinations may be made. In The Technology and the Society (1972), Raymond Williams writes "by the middle and late 1950s, new kinds of programme were being made for television and there were very important advances in the productive use of the medium, including...some kinds of original work."

Battling with filmmakers for the almighty dollar, cable television programmers realized that they had to contend with movies' content as well as its visual appeal in order to be successful. Would there be a similar driving force that would reward DTV with the substance to match the style?

Extreme price differences are also another parallel point of comparison between the color TV of the 50s and the digital TV of today:

"The first RCA color sets cost $995...that would be the equivalent of $6,186 today. In 1954, it was enough to buy a car, and nearly enough to buy a modest house. The spread in price was similar to today's gap between the analog televisions most of us have and the newer digital televisions."
- Kathleen McGinn Spring, The Story of Color Television (2001)

What incentive would convince the American people to invest so much money into such as system now? All these questions are pertinent and comparisons between each may yield some fascinating predictions for the unfolding of broadcast DTV, which is coming whether people like it or not.

According to the FCC's Consumer Facts on Digital Television (2003), "Congress has determined that the current broadcast television service must eventually convert completely to digital." That means that the existing analog option will be completely defunct, and everyone will either have to purchase a digital TV set or forfeit any broadcasting exposure.

Preparation is essential and future predictions based on the past may help people relate to a similar place in time -- a time when technology was ready, but were the people?

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

The more I ponder over it, the clearer it seems to be. Juxtaposing the conversion of b/w TV to color TV with analog to digital TV seems like the best way to present my information in this paper.

In one sense, the former gives me a blueprint to show the reader what a likely scenario of technological development and transition was/is like. Then, I can predict a somewhat similar pattern for the latter case (leaving a few details open for debate or change).

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The following is another Web site on color TV (many sublinks to research papers and news articles):

Color Television History

Thursday, October 23, 2003

The following article should make a good companion piece to my earlier post from the FCC. The former is a glimpse into the 1940s and how the FCC predicted the standardization of color television.

Now, over 60 years later, the same government entity appears to be recreating a similar situation with HDTV and its inception into mainstream culture. See the article below:

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Article begins
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COLOR TELEVISION, By: David F. Donnelly

The early stages of color television experimentation in America overlap the technological development of monochromatic television. Color television was demonstrated by John Baird as early as 1928, and a year later by Bell Telephone Laboratories. Experimental color broadcasting was initiated in 1940, when the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) publicly demonstrated a field sequential color television broadcasting system. This system employed successive fields scanned one at a time in one of the three primary colors; red, blue, or green. On the receiver end, a mechanical color wheel was used to reconstitute the primary colors in sequence to enable reproduction of the colors in the original scene. In their 1941 report confirming the National Television Systems Committee (NTSC) monochromatic standards, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) noted the potential benefits of the CBS color system but concurred with the NTSC assessment that color television required further testing before it could be standardized...

For the full article,
click here

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Found a glossary of Digital Television terms ranging from A-Z. Information is found on a larger site with more DTV and HDTV related subjects and topics:

HDTV Pub

Friday, October 17, 2003

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) takes a stab at explaining/predicting the digital television phenomenon:

FCC Consumer Facts on Digital TV

Monday, October 13, 2003

The University of Washington Electrical Engineering Web site has a page with lecture material about HDTV (an introduction):

HDTV Television - An Introduction

Friday, October 10, 2003

Returning once again to HowStuffWorks for inspiration. This site is really fantastic -- has in-depth info. on just about any topic you can throw at it. Anyways, I thought I'd see what it had on HDTV, since I just narrowed my paper topic recently. Here is the direct link to the article on HDTV and "how it works":

How HDTV Works

(There is also an article on Digital TV compared to Analog TV: How Digital Television Works

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