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'Discuss the factors that shaped the invention and development of television in the UK up to 1939; which of these were the mos

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'Discuss the factors that shaped the invention and development of television in the U.K. up to 1939; which of these were the most important?' In this essay I intend to discuss the factors that shaped the invention and development of television in the UK up to 1939; these include the social, cultural, political and scientific factors that took place as well as the many technological changes. I will then conclude by determining the most important aspects of its development. Technological developments The essence of the television began in the early nineteenth century with the development of the telephone and the telegraph. These communication devices can be seen as a more technical version to the way Native American Indians communicated via their smoke signal technique. The early telegraphs were large outdoor mechanical structures that proved to be very expensive to produce. During the 1840's there came a great discovery and this was of electromagnetism, electric current was found to be of great use within wiring. It was this discovery that inevitably led to the development of the 'electric telegraph'. The electric telegraph was a transmitter of messages and signals through electric wiring and was transmitted via connections throughout the world. One of its earliest forms of communication was with the use of Morse code and this was greatly used within the railway system; before this invention the railways found it difficult to co-ordinate the transport thus creating many accidents on the rail tracks. The telegraph and the telephone were then developed further between 1842 and 1862 with the use of photography and this culmination became 'telephotography'. ...read more.


Akin to the telephone it could have been used as a two-way device and showing images of both of its users at either end of the communication; it could have been used for Air ministry purposes as a reconnaissance device for the military; but the changes that took place within its development were not only linked to technological achievements but to other influential factors as well. Social and Cultural factors New technologies created many social effects within society and this is called 'Social Determinism', but it also had the opposite effect; that changes in the needs of society (either for cultural or economic benefits) were in direct partnership with the technological outcomes, this is called 'Social Determinism'. In 1939 broadcasts and sales ended abruptly with the start of World War Two and the radio was the preferred medium. It was radio that encouraged the growth of the television by becoming a part of everyday life in the homes of the nation. It was used as an entertainment during the turbulent time of war and as an educational and often political medium; but it was mainly used as a language expansion within social groups. As with the telegraph, the belief that there must be a need for social involvement was negated by some, 'where was there the social necessity to turn these experiments into an invention?'(Winston, B, 1998, p.25). But television did play an important role in the changing of attitudes within society. For example, the experience of 'time' itself has changed due to the ample and up to date broadcasts of news. ...read more.


I also believe that the discovery of electric itself has great importance. Without this knowledge the use of electromagnetism would not have led to the invention of the telegraph, the first technological breakthrough that gained the U.K. a place within the global communication network. The telephone could not exist without electricity and it was this that paved the way towards telephotography (fax machines), the predecessor to the television itself. Electricity radically changed developments from a mechanical form to an electrical form- it was faster and more nationally transmitted; again enforcing the notion that time is effective with technology. It is of my belief that another factor above all others has influenced the development of the television. This would be convergence. The telegraph, the telephone, the radio, the facsimile; all of these inventions could not have come into being without the other, they are related. This has come about by 'synthesizing a national culture from components that had begun to converge since the late nineteenth century'. (Cardiff & Scannell, 1991, p. 277). Without the convergence of the government and public service broadcasting there would not be the funding in place (licensing) to fulfil the public need for the service. The convergence of industrialisation and the centralisation of political power fuelled the growth in the U.K. economy. Funding had a direct relationship with the social factors of industrialisation- the increases in manufacturing (employment); again, convergence is taking place. Therefore, I believe that it was this convergence of technology and social factors that was an integral part of the development of the television. Social and technological aspects have been intertwined for a long period of our history and history is always being re-thought as is technology. ...read more.

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