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COMM002: Media and Society

Unit 8: Television Anytime, Anywhere   Perhaps the most radical change in television viewing for anyone who grew up with the medium has been the freeing of the viewing schedule from the bonds of time. If you wanted to watch the Jeffersons movin’ on up in 1979, you had to be in front of your set promptly at 9:30 (Eastern time) Saturday evenings. That changed with the advent of videocassette recorders in the early 1980s. Today, the digital video recorder allows you to record Mad Men automatically, pause the show while you make a sandwich, then fast-forward through the commercials. This time shifting now has been joined by place shifting. Devices such as Slingbox record digital video in a compressed format and send it over the Internet to anywhere you might be. You can watch on a computer, Internet-connected television set, even your mobile phone. This unit explores the development of this powerful medium, one that has shaped our culture as much as we’ve shaped it.

Unit 8 Time Advisory
This unit should take you approximately 12.25 hours to complete.
☐    Subunit 8.1: 2 hours
☐    Subunit 8.2: 6.5 hours
       ☐    Subunit-wide Reading: 30 minutes
       ☐    Subunit 8.2.1: 45 minutes
       ☐    Subunit 8.2.2: 15 minutes
       ☐    Subunit 8.2.3: 1 hour
       ☐    Subunit 8.2.4: 1.25 hours
       ☐    Subunit 8.2.5: 30 minutes
       ☐    Subunit 8.2.6: 45 minutes
       ☐    Subunit 8.2.7: 45 minutes
       ☐    Subunit 8.2.8: 45 minutes
☐    Subunit 8.3: 30 minutes
☐    Subunit 8.4: 1.75 hours
☐    Unit 8 Assignments: 1 hour
☐    Unit 8 Assessment: 30 minutes

Unit8 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to: - identify and explain the key technological developments of television; - summarize the history of television and define some of the genres of television shows; - describe the symbolic aspects of television news and how they are sometimes exploited; and - analyze how new technology is changing the nature of television and how we view it.

8.1 Technology Takes Television from Ghostly Image to High-Def   - Reading: Understanding Media and Culture: “Chapter 9, Introduction: Rethinking Content Delivery” and “Section 1: The Evolution of Television” Link: Understanding Media and Culture: “Chapter 9, Introduction: Rethinking Content Delivery” and “Section 1: The Evolution of Television” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Television has a rich history as a technological innovation and as a cultural force. Read these sections of chapter 9 on pages 381-394 for an overview of the history of television.
 
Reading these sections should take approximately 30 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share-Alike 3.0 License without attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.

8.1.2 Where Next? The Web, of Course   - Web Media: TED Talks: Peter Hirshberg’s “Peter Hirshberg on TV and the Web” Link: TED Talks: Peter Hirshberg’s “Peter Hirshberg on TV and the Web”(Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: Silicon Valley executive and marketing strategist Peter Hirshberg gives you his take on emerging media and tech history. Hirshberg uses lessons from Silicon Valley to explain “why the web is so much more than ‘better TV’.”
 
Watching this video and taking notes should take approximately 30 minutes.
 
This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. It is attributed to TED, and the original version can be found here.

8.1.3 The Early Days of Television   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading for subunit 8.1. As you study this subunit, keep in mind the history of television as detailed inUnderstanding Media and Culture, Chapter 9, Section 1 (pages 382-394).

8.1.3.1 The Philo Farnsworth Story   - Reading: Massachusetts Institute of Technology: “Inventor of the Week Archive: Philo T. Farnsworth” Link: Massachusetts Institute of Technology: “Inventor of the Week Archive: Philo T. Farnsworth”(HTML)
 
Instructions: The story of Philo Farnsworth is dramatic if only because of his background as a self-taught inventor. In 1922 as an Idaho teenager, he sketched out one of the first schemes for electronic television. Although he is credited as one of television’s inventors, he did not share in the tremendous profits television generated over the decades for companies such as RCA.
 
Reading this article and taking notes should take approximately 15 minutes.
 
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8.1.3.2 RCA’s Side of the Story   - Reading: Internet Archive: “The Story of Television (1956)” Link: Internet Archive: “The Story of Television (1956)” (HTML)
 
Instructions: For a bit of history, watch “The Story of Television,” the origins of television as told through RCA’s eyes. David Sarnoff talks with Vladimir Zworykin about television’s early development at RCA, but it leaves out RCA’s patent battle with Philo Farnsworth.
 
Watching the video should take you approximately 30 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: This resource is in the public domain.

8.1.4 Thinking Digitally   - Reading: Wired: Nicholas Negroponte’s “HDTV: What’s Wrong with this Picture?” Link: Wired: Nicholas Negroponte’s “HDTV: What’s Wrong with this Picture?” (HTML)
 
Instructions: In this short excerpt from his book Being Digital, Nicholas Negroponte states that high definition is less important in the digital world than digital delivery systems that allow viewers to shift the time and place of where they watch. Writing in 1994, he states that the uses of television and the computer will become indistinguishable, predicting the rise of YouTube, Hulu, and other digital video websites. As we will see in the subunits below, much of what he says has come to pass. Television executives have tended to see digital technology as gimmicks, according to John Hockenberry, allowing themselves to be outflanked by cable and satellite companies, and by the Internet.
 
Reading this article should take approximately 15 minutes.
 
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8.2 Television and Culture   - Reading: Understanding Media and Culture: “Chapter 9, Section 2: The Relationship Between Television and Culture” Link: Understanding Media and Culture: “Chapter 9, Section 2: The Relationship Between Television and Culture” (PDF)
 
Instructions: This section on pages 394-405 provides the basics for understanding the relationship between culture and television. Keep it in mind as you cover the subunits below.
 
Reading this section and taking notes should take approximately 30 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share-Alike 3.0 License without attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.

8.2.1 A Force for Good or Evil?   8.2.1.1 A Medium with a Conscience   - Web Media: TED Talks: Lauren Zalaznick’s “The Conscience of Television” Link: TED Talks: Lauren Zalaznick’s “The Conscience of Television” (Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: Television executive Lauren Zalaznick describes how television reflects our public conscience by tracking the content of the top-rated television shows over a period of 50 years. She makes a compelling case that television doesn’t create our culture; it reflects culture. As you listen to her, think back to cultivation analysts such as George Gerbner, who might say the effect goes in the opposite direction.
 
Watching this video should take approximately 15 minutes.
 
This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. It is attributed to TED, and the original version can be found here.

8.2.1.2 A Medium that Teaches Children to Value Fame   - Reading: The Regents of the University of California, UCLA Newsroom: Stuart Wolpert’s “Popular TV Shows Teach Children Fame is Most Important Value, UCLA Psychologists Report” Link: The Regents of the University of California, UCLA Newsroom: Stuart Wolpert’s “Popular TV Shows Teach Children Fame is Most Important Value, UCLA Psychologists Report” (HTML)
 
Instructions: This study from UCLA serves as a counterpoint to Lauren Zalaznick’s talk, stating as it does that television shapes the culture of our children. Read the information in this subunit, and then ask yourself where you fall in the debate.
 
Reading this article should take approximately 30 minutes.
 
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8.2.2 Newton Minow and the “Vast Wasteland”   - Reading: Newton Minow’s “The ‘Vast Wasteland’ of Television Speech” Link: Newton Minow’s “The ‘Vast Wasteland’ of Television Speech” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Newton Minow hadn’t been on the job as FCC commissioner for more than a few months when he delivered this speech to the convention of the National Association of Broadcasters on May 9, 1961, in Washington, DC. The speech is remembered for its key phrase: Minow told the roomful of television executives that if they watch their product in its entirety throughout the broadcast day, they “will observe a vast wasteland.” The speech really was about the duty television has to broadcast “in the public interest,” having been granted a large slice of the precious broadcasting spectrum. Do you believe that is still true today?
 
Reading this speech should take approximately 15 minutes.
 
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8.2.3 Pay-to-Watch Channels and Indecency   8.2.3.1 Pushing the Envelope of Decency   - Reading: University of West Georgia: Bradley L. Yates and Anthony L. Fargo’s “Talk Dirty to Me: Broadcast and Cable TV Push the Envelope on Indecency” Link: University of West Georgia: Bradley L. Yates and Anthony L. Fargo’s “Talk Dirty to Me: Broadcast and Cable TV Push the Envelope on Indecency” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Professors Yates and Fargo provide a comprehensive look at the use of “indecent” language on television and the legal limitations placed on television networks. They describe how the success of pay-to-watch channels such as HBO in attracting viewers has caused television networks to “push the envelope” on using profanity. It also illustrates the difference between the freedom of speech most media enjoy with that of over-the-air broadcasters, who fall under the regulation of the FCC.
 
Reading this article and taking notes should take approximately 45 minutes.
 
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8.2.3.2 The Inevitable Crackdown   - Reading: The Washington Post: Frank Ahrens’s “Senator Bids to Extend Indecency Rules to Cable” Link: The Washington Post: Frank Ahrens’s “Senator Bids to Extend Indecency Rules to Cable” (HTML)
 
Instructions: This Washington Post article reports on one senator’s efforts to apply indecency rules to cable television and the industry’s arguments against it. What are your views on attempts such as this to censor our culture? Connect the senator’s efforts with what you know about media effects. Is real harm being done that warrants legislative control?

 Reading this article and taking notes should take approximately 15
minutes.  
    
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displayed on the webpage above.

8.2.4 The Cable Empire: ESPN   8.2.4.1 ESPN Insider Discusses the Revolution   - Reading: Sports Business Journal: Philip R. Hochberg’s “40 Years Later, How Cable Changed the World of Sports” Link: Sports Business Journal: Philip R. Hochberg’s “40 Years Later, How Cable Changed the World of Sports” (HTML)
 
Instructions: ESPN is without a doubt one of the most successful media ventures of the past 40 years. Today ESPN fields nine cable channels, including ESPN 3-D, and it cross promotes with its parent companies ABC and Disney. It also prints a magazine, programs a radio network, and operates a massive sports website, with web-only content. Media lawyer Philip R. Hochberg describes the rise of this entertainment giant.
 
Reading this article and taking notes should take approximately 15 minutes.
 
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8.2.4.2 ESPN Founder Talks about His Creation   - Web Media: YouTube: University of Pennsylvania: Knowledge@Wharton’s “Channeling Sports: A Conversation with ESPN Founder Bill Rasmussen” Link: YouTube: University of Pennsylvania: Knowledge@Wharton’s “Channeling Sports: A Conversation with ESPN Founder Bill Rasmussen” (YouTube)
 
Instructions: ESPN founder Bill Rasmussen describes the challenges he faced in trying to start something no one had ever heard of: a 24-hour sports channel.
 
Watching this video should take approximately 30 minutes.
 
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8.2.4.3 Cross-Promotion as a Cross to Bear   - Reading: ESPN: Le Anne Schreiber’s “Breathing Room: ESPN Must Stop the Suffocation of Synergy” Link: ESPN: Le Anne Schreiber’s “Breathing Room: ESPN Must Stop the Suffocation of Synergy”(HTML)
 
Instructions: ESPN’s own ombudsman, Le Anne Schreiber, discusses the “suffocating” cross promotion that goes on between ESPN’s channels, and with ABC − and the games ESPN ignores that are carried by other networks. Can you rely on ESPN as a factual source for sports news?
 
Reading this article and taking notes should take approximately 15 minutes.
 
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8.2.4.4 ESPN Buys a Conscience   - Reading: Sports Business Journal: John Carvalho’s “Poynter Relationship Unlikely to Have Impact on ESPN’s Ethics” Link: Sports Business Journal: John Carvalho’s “Poynter Relationship Unlikely to Have Impact on ESPN’s Ethics”(HTML)
 
Instructions: This reading and the one from the previous subunit discuss the ethics of ESPN as a factual source for sports while hyper-promoting content across its many outlets. Forming a relationship with The Poynter Institute for Media Studies might (or might not) keep ESPN honest as a journalistic source.
 
Reading this article and taking notes should take approximately 15 minutes.
 
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8.2.5 Television and Our Sense of Reality: The CSI Effect   8.2.5.1 Prosecutors Say the CSI Effect is Real   - Reading: CBS News: Ayaz Nanji’s “Prosecutors Feel The ‘CSI Effect’” Link: CBS News: Ayaz Nanji’s “Prosecutors Feel The ‘CSI Effect’”(HTML)
 
Instructions: Legend has it that actors who play doctors on television often get letters asking for medical advice. A more serious question is how what we watch on television affects our expectations in real-life arenas, such as the criminal courts. In the video from CBS News, prosecutors complain that jurors now expect high-tech forensic tests and quick action or they won’t convict someone who is obviously guilty.
 
Watching this video and taking notes should take approximately 5 minutes.
 
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8.2.5.2 A More Studied Look at the CSI Effect   - Reading: NPR: Arun Rath’s “Is The ‘CSI Effect’ Influencing Courtrooms?” Link: NPR: Arun Rath’s “Is The ‘CSI Effect’ Influencing Courtrooms?” (HTML)
 
Instructions: National Public Radio’s piece on the “CSI Effect” comes to a less definite conclusion, based on the results of a study reported by Judge Donald L. Shelton.
 
Listening to this audio should take approximately 10 minutes.
 
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8.2.5.3 The Judge’s Study   - Reading: National Institute of Justice: Donald E. Shelton’s “The ‘CSI Effect’: Does It Really Exist?” Link: National Institute of Justice: Donald E. Shelton’s “The ‘CSI Effect’: Does It Really Exist?” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read Judge Shelton’s careful study of the CSI effect, then think back to the story about prosecutors who thought the effect was very real. As with many things in communication and culture, perception counts.
 
Reading this article and taking notes should take approximately 15 minutes.
 
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8.2.6 Television News as Infotainment   - Reading: MIT Technology Review: John Hockenberry’s “‘You Don’t Understand Our Audience’: What I Learned About Network Television at Dateline NBC” Link: MIT Technology Review: John Hockenberry’s “‘You Don’t Understand Our Audience’: What I Learned About Network Television at Dateline NBC” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Former National Public Radio correspondent John Hockenberry describes his days reporting for Dateline NBC, a magazine-format television news program modeled on CBS’ 60 Minutes. Both shows qualify as “infotainment,” news presented in a way to entertain and attract audiences. This view, Hockenberry contends, is at odds with news as a journalistic pursuit. Read all seven pages of his story for many illuminating anecdotes about television, technology and corporate culture.
 
Reading this article should take approximately 45 minutes.
 
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8.2.7 Punditry and Bias   8.2.7.1 Of Course FOX News Is Biased!   - Reading: FAIR: Seth Ackerman’s “The Most Biased Name in News: Fox News Channel’s Extraordinary Right-Wing Tilt” Link: FAIR: Seth Ackerman’s “The Most Biased Name in News: Fox News Channel’s Extraordinary Right-Wing Tilt” (HTML)

 Instructions: FOX News was formed in 1996 by News Corp. tycoon
Rupert Murdoch as a “fair and balanced” alternative to what he saw
as the liberal mainstream media. He hired former political operative
Roger Ailes to run the network, and Ailes led it to a position of
high ratings and high profitability. FOX News represented a new kind
of television channel; FAIR’s Seth Ackerman makes the case that
Ailes wanted to bring right-wing talk radio to the television
screen.  
    
 Reading this article should take approximately 30 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a[Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/). It is
attributed to Seth Ackerman, and the original version can be found
[here](http://fair.org/extra-online-articles/the-most-biased-name-in-news/).

8.2.7.2 No We’re Not!   - Reading: Forbes: S. Robert Lichter’s “Fox News: Fair And Balanced?” Link: Forbes: S. Robert Lichter’s “Fox News: Fair And Balanced?” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Former FOX News contributor S. Robert Lichter makes the case using content analysis that the newscasts on FOX News are less biased than news shows presented by the major networks. Compare this with Seth Ackerman’s story: they report, you decide.
 
Reading this article should take approximately 15 minutes.
 
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8.2.8 Fake News Is Just Too Real   8.2.8.1 Chris Wallace Duels with Jon Stewart   - Web Media: FOX News Network: “Exclusive: John Stewart on ‘Fox News Sunday’” Link: FOX News Network: “Chris Wallace Interviews Jon Stewart, Unedited”(Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: As you watch this unedited interview, remember that Jon Stewart is the anchor for a fake news show, that is, a comedy show that mimics the formulas of cable news shows. Chris Wallace, on his Sunday morning news show, engages Stewart in a debate about the credibility and bias of real television news that might be more appropriate with an anchor from CBS or NBC, not Comedy Central.
 
Watching this video should take approximately 30 minutes.
 
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8.2.8.2 The Real Fake News   - Web Media: Comedy Central: The Daily Show with John Stewart: “Fox News Channel − Fair & Balanced” Link: Comedy Central: The Daily Show with John Stewart: “Fox News Channel -Fair & Balanced” (Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: When FOX News aired its interview with Jon Stewart, about half of what you saw in the previous subunit was edited out. Watch the short commentary from Stewart on The Daily Show about what FOX didn’t include in its regular broadcast.
 
Watching this video for should take approximately 5 minutes.
 
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8.3 Trends in Television   - Reading: Understanding Media and Culture: “Chapter 9, Section 3: Issues and Trends in the Television Industry” Link: Understanding Media and Culture: “Chapter 9, Section 3: Issues and Trends in the Television Industry” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Chapter 9, Section 3 (pages 406-417) describes the trends in television sponsorship and production, and how they have been affected by cable and satellite television. As we will see in the next subunit, digital technologies also present a challenge to commercial television.
 
Reading this section should take approximately 30 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share-Alike 3.0 License without attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.

8.4 Television’s Brave New World   - Reading: Understanding Media and Culture: “Chapter 9, Section 4: Influence of New Technologies” Link: Understanding Media and Culture: “Chapter 9, Section 4: Influence of New Technologies” (PDF)
 
Instructions: In Chapter 9, Section 4 (pages 417-427) the author concentrates on delivery systems -such as cable, satellite, and Internet television -in his discussion of new technologies. All of these have contributed in important ways to changing the content we see on our screens. In the subunits below, we will explore other aspects of television technology: time and place shifting, and 3D.
 
Reading this section should take approximately 30 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share-Alike 3.0 License without attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.

8.4.1 The Changing World of Television   - Reading: IESE Business School, University of Navarra: “Home Box Office: Prof. Josep Valor on New Digital TV Disruption” Link: IESE Business School, University of Navarra: “Home Box Office: Prof. Josep Valor on New Digital TV Disruption” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Time shifting and place shifting have been called “disruptive technologies,” that is, disruptive to the business model of commercial television, disruptive to viewing habits, disruptive even to the way the industry has long measured success. Here is one business professor’s view on a new technology that will allow you to record everything.
 
Watching this video and taking notes should take approximately 15 minutes.
 
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8.4.1.2 Time-Shifting with a DVR   - Reading: The New York Times: Bill Carter and Brian Stelter’s “DVRs and Streaming Prompt a Shift in the Top-Rated TV Shows” Link: The New York Times: Bill Carter and Brian Stelter’s “DVRs and Streaming Prompt a Shift in the Top-Rated TV Shows” (HTML)
 
Instructions: When we store television shows on a digital video recorder, we also capture the commercials. But those commercials might be out of date by the time you watch the show. As you read this article, think back to our unit on advertising and on the innovative ways advertisers are creating and distributing ads. You also might recall John Hockenberry’s description of a television executive’s fascination with TiVo, missing the point that it was a threat to his business (see subunit 8.2.6).
 
Reading this article and taking notes should take approximately 15 minutes.
 
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8.4.1.3 Why Watch Commercials at All?   - Reading: The New York Times: Brian Stelter’s “A DVR Ad Eraser Causes Tremors at TV Upfronts” Link: The New York Times: Brian Stelter’s “A DVR Ad Eraser Causes Tremors at TV Upfronts”(HTML)
 
Instructions: Dish TV’s “Auto Hop” is a technology for automatically skipping commercials in digitally recorded television shows. It is the logical extension of time shifting, but of course television producers don’t like it.
 
Reading this article and taking notes should take approximately 15 minutes.
 
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8.4.1.4 Facebook Will Bring Us Together in Prime Time   - Reading: Social Media Explorer: Adam Helweh’s “Twitter, Time Shifting, Technology & Television” Link: Social Media Explorer: Adam Helweh’s “Twitter, Time Shifting, Technology & Television” (HTML)
 
Instructions: After reading about time shifting and other disruptive technologies, read Adam Helweh’s interesting piece on how social media might bring people back to watching television in real time.
 
Reading this article should take approximately 15 minutes.
 
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8.4.2 The Next Big Thing   - Reading: TechRadar: Marc Chacksfield’s “James Cameron on 3D: the TechRadar Interview” Link: TechRadar: Marc Chacksfield’s “James Cameron on 3D: the TechRadar Interview” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Author Marc Chacksfield calls movie director James Cameron “the biggest advocate for 3D working in Hollywood today.” Read this far-ranging interview with Cameron where he discusses television and movie technology and why he’s for three-dimensional television.
 
Reading this interview should take approximately 15 minutes.
 
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