Why Life Is Now More Fun: For Billions, Satellite TV Is the Most Important Thing in Space. How Has It Changed Them? (Space)

By Cox, David | New Statesman (1996), May 20, 2002 | Go to article overview

Why Life Is Now More Fun: For Billions, Satellite TV Is the Most Important Thing in Space. How Has It Changed Them? (Space)


Cox, David, New Statesman (1996)


The idea of transmitting television from satellites in space was first floated (in Wireless World in 1945) by 2001 author Arthur C Clarke. And from the beginning, the concept had the ring of science fiction. Beaming pictures and sounds from the heavens was not just a more inspiring idea than spewing them from gawky, hilltop structures. It raised the hope that our capacity to disseminate thoughts, ideas and dreams might be freed from the grip of the powerful. Humanity's very nature might change, it was thought, as barriers to enlightenment tumbled and horizons became boundless.

During the early days, this seemed to be starting to happen. In 1975, India began to broadcast services to six of its most backward states by satellite. Villagers would gather each evening in front of a communal TV to watch programmes on science, agriculture, family planning and health. As a result, ploughing methods changed, new seed types were adopted and pest control was improved. Soon, worthy information was being accompanied by heady dramas about previously taboo topics such as economic exploitation, the caste system and bride burning.

Today, celestial television still offers manna for the human spirit. Those Indian villagers now have a 24-hour educational satellite channel. The Arab world has been lit up during the Afghan hostilities by the uncensored, transnational reporting of the al-Jazeera satellite station. MED-TV holds the scattered Kurdish nation together from Transponder 117. Iraqis can watch uncensored news, chat and interviews on the exiled opposition station, Liberty TV.

But the real story of satellite television has had little to do with truth, learning or political freedom. Television needs gloss, glamour and high production values if it is to captivate. These things require money, and money is the preserve of the powerful. Thus, al-Jazeera will shortly find itself up against a half-billion-dollar, 24-hour, 26-language rival for the eyes and ears of the Muslim world. The new comer will be run by the US government.

Yet the satellite punch of capitalist governments has proved as nothing compared to the punch packed by capitalism itself. As those Indian villagers were getting their nightly fix of agricultural guidance, Home Box Office was starting the first commercial satellite broadcasting system. In 1976, it brought its viewers the Ali-Frazier "Thrilla from Manila" live, and doubled subscriber uptake. Throughout North America and then Europe, satellite went on to demolish steam TV's cosy oligopoly. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Why Life Is Now More Fun: For Billions, Satellite TV Is the Most Important Thing in Space. How Has It Changed Them? (Space)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.