Television's Impact on American Culture

By William Y. Elliott | Go to book overview

Descriptions, vague as yet, envisage an almost flat screen, probably no more than 3 in. thick, hanging on a wall, with dimensions of 5 ft. by 7 ft.--contrasted with 21-inch tubes today--and with performers larger-than-life.

Within the same 10 years, home video-tape-recorders are expected to be available at no more than a sound recorder costs now. An attachment to the set will automatically record all desired programs when the family is away, at work or school, for playback later. Tapes of plays, operas, ballets, special events, will be rented from a circulating library, as books are now, for play on the home mural.

"With color, tape, and mural TV," worries one network man, "everything they say about us may come true. Leisure time and television--or at least the screen--will become synonymous. You'll never be able to turn the thing off."


APPENDIX D
Lining Up For TV's Big Battle1

The curtain is finally going up on a drama that has long been in production --the struggle to control television network programing. The outcome of this struggle will decide not only who is going to supply television entertainment, but also the kind and nature of programs that Americans will see on their TV screens.

The protagonists are either giant forces in the entertainment business, or ones that would like to be giants. Chief among them are on the TV networks; the film syndicators--companies that distribute television fare on films; Hollywood; the pay-as-you-see backers; advertising agencies. The government is also deeply involved, thanks to its role as caretaker of the people's air waves.

Warm-up --Last week in Washington the fight was warming up. Antitrust chief Stanley N. Barnes of the Justice Dept. appeared before two Congressional investigating committees to talk about the department's interest in the matter. Barnes added ammunition to the fight by saying that Justice has its eye on a number of aspects of TV, ranging from the rights of sponsors to the practices of TV networks.

His appearance was a prelude to further investigations by Congress and government into the whole gamut of problems facing television today. These will focus on the basic questions--the reallocation of channels in order to rescue a faltering system of ultra high frequency ( UHF) telecasting, network control over affiliated stations, the availability of time for advertisers, educational TV, and a host of other issues.

____________________
1
Excerpt from Business Week, March 10, 1956, by permission of Managing Editor and McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, Inc.

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