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(* = Graphable)



See TV (disambiguation) for other uses and Television (band) for the rock band

European networks


In much of Europe television broadcasting has historically been state dominated, rather than commercially organised, although commercial stations have grown in number recently.

In the United Kingdom, the major national broadcaster is the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation), commercial broadcasters include ITV (Independent Television), Channel 4 and Channel 5, as well as the satellite broadcaster British Sky Broadcasting.

Other leading European networks include RAI (Italy), TF1 and France Télévisions (France), ARD (Germany), ORF (Austria), RTÉ (Ireland), TVP (Poland), TVE (Spain) and the largest private European broadcaster RTL Group.

Europe-wide networks

  • Euronews, a pan-European news station, broadcasting both by satellite and terrestrially (timesharing on State TV networks) to most of the continent. Broadcasted in several languages (English, French, German, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese and Italian) it draws on contributions from State broadcasters and the ITN news network.
  • TV1EU, starting in October 16, 2004 will be the first EU-wide broadcaster.
  • Euro1080, the only HDTV broadcaster available in Europe.
  • Eurosport

Asian networks and stations

In Asia, television has traditionally been state-controlled, although the number of private stations is increasing, as is competition from satellite television. Japan's NHK is a non-commercial network similar to the BBC, funded by a television licence fee, and has more editorial independence over news and current affairs than broadcasters like India's state-run Doordarshan or China's China Central Television. Star TV based in Hong Kong has expanded to other areas recently. Number of private broadcasters are indeed increasing in some countries (2004) for example: Indonesia's 10 private national stations compare to only 1 in 1989.

Middle East networks and stations

Similarly in the Middle East, television has been heavily state-controlled, with considerable censorship of both news coverage and entertainment, particularly that imported from the West. This control of the medium has been eroded by the increasing availability of satellite TV, and the number of satellite channels in Arabic is second only to the number of satellite channels in English, the best known of which being the Qatar-based news service Al-Jazeera.

African networks and stations

Despite being the most economically advanced country on the continent, South Africa did not introduce TV until 1976, owing to opposition from the apartheid regime. Nigeria was one of the first countries in Africa to introduce television, in 1959, followed by Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia) in 1961, while Zanzibar was the first in Africa to introduce colour television, in 1983. (Tanzania itself did not introduce television until 1994). The main satellite TV providers are the South African Multichoice DStv service, and the predominantly French language Canal Horizons, owned by France's Canal Plus.

(See the list of television stations in Africa.)

Australian networks and stations

Australian television began in 1956, just in time for the Melbourne Olympics. Australia has three nationwide metropolitan commercial networks (Seven, Nine and Ten) as well as the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation), a government owned, commercial free network; and SBS (Special Broadcasting Service) a commercial-supported, multi-lingual, government-owned station. The Australian Broadcasting Authority (http://www.aba.gov.au/) has also issued licenses to community groups to establish "community television stations" in most capital cities on the UHF Ch 31 frequency.



From the earliest days of the medium, television has been used as a vehicle for advertising. Since their inception in the USA in the late 1940s, TV commercials have become far and away the most effective, most pervasive, and most popular method of selling products of all sorts. US advertising rates are determined primarily by Nielsen ratings


Getting TV programming shown to the public can happen in many different ways. After production the next step is to market and deliver the product to whatever markets are open to using it. This typically happens on two levels:

  1. Original Run or First Run - a producer creates a program of one or multiple episodes and shows it on a station or network which has either paid for the production itself or to which a license has been granted by the producers to do the same.
  2. Syndication - this is the terminology rather broadly used to describe secondary programming usages (beyond original run). It includes secondary runs in the country of first issue, but also international usage which may or may not be managed by the originating producer. In many cases other companies, TV stations or individuals are engaged to do the syndication work, in other words to sell the product into the markets they are allowed to sell into by contract from the copyright holders, in most cases the producers.

In most countries, the first wave occurs primarily on FTA television, while the second wave happens on subscription TV and in other countries. In the US however, the first wave occurs on the FTA networks and subscription services, and the second wave travels via all means of distribution.

First run programming is increasing on subscription services outside the US, but few domestically produced programs are syndicated on domestic FTA elsewhere. This practice is increasing however, generally on digital only FTA channels, or with subscriber-only first run material appearing on FTA.

Unlike the US, repeat FTA screenings of a FTA network program almost only occur only on that network. Also, affiliates rarely buy or produce non-network programming that isn't intensely local.

Social aspects


Paralleling television's growing primacy in family life and society, an increasingly vocal chorus of legislators, scientists and parents is raising objections to the uncritical acceptance of the medium. For example, the Swedish government imposed a total ban on advertising to children under twelve in 1991 (see advertising). In the US, the National Institute on Media and the Family (http://www.mediafamily.org/facts/facts_tveffect.shtml) (not a government agency) points out that US children watch an average of 25 hours of television per week and features studies showing it interferes with the educational and maturational process.

A February 23, 2002 article in Scientific American (http://www.sciam.com/print_version.cfm?articleID=0005339B-A694-1CC5-B4A8809EC588EEDF) suggested that compulsive television watching was no different from any other addiction, a finding backed up by reports of withdrawal symptoms among families forced by circumstance to cease watching.

The 1957 film "A Face In The Crowd" critiques the television industry, in this tale of a TV reporter who turns a hobo into a TV star.

Colloquial names

  • telly
  • the box
  • the idiot box
  • the tube
  • boob tube
  • glass teat
  • cultural barbiturate
  • "opium of the masses" (see Marx)
  • goggle box
  • the cyclops
  • die Kiste, die Glotze (Germany)
  • kijkbuis (The Netherlands)
  • telkku, telkkari, töllö (Finland)
  • electronic babysitter

Related articles

External links

  • Memorable TV The Television Encyclopedia (http://www.memorabletv.com/)
  • Television History (http://www.tvhistory.tv/)
  • Early Television Foundation and Museum (http://www.earlytelevision.org/)
  • Television History site from France (http://histv2.free.fr/cadrehistory.htm)
  • TV Dawn (http://www.tvdawn.com/index.htm)
  • Episode Guides (http://www.dmoz.org/Arts/Television/Episode_Guides/)
  • British TV History Links (http://www.tvhistory.btinternet.co.uk/html/links.html)
  • UK Television Programmes (http://www.delboynet.co.uk/comedynet/programmes/)
  • VisualNet Directory of Film and TV Production Companies and Crew (http://www.visualnet.com/)
  • TelevisionAU Australian Television History (http://televisionau.siv.net.au)
  • Federation Without Television (http://www.orgsites.com/mn/fwt)
  • TV Turnoff Network (http://www.tvturnoff.org)

Further reading

TV as social pathogen, opiate, mass mind control, etc.

  • Terence McKenna Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge, A Radical History of Plants, Drugs, and Human Evolution (Bantam, 1992) ISBN 0553078682
  • Joyce Nelson Perfect Machine: TV in the Nuclear Age (Between the Lines, 1987) ISBN 0919946844
  • Neil Postman Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business (Viking Press, 1985) ISBN 0670804541
  • Jerry Mander Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television (Morrow, 1978) ISBN 0688032745
  • Marie Winn The Plug-in Drug (Viking Press, 1977) ISBN 0670561606

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It is often abbreviated as TV or the telly.
All of these early TV systems shared the same aspect ratio of 4:3 which was chosen to match the Academy Ratio used in cinema films at the time.
In many cases other companies, TV stations or individuals are engaged to do the syndication work, in other words to sell the product into the markets they are allowed to sell into by contract from the copyright holders, in most cases the producers.
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