Aug 132013

Whoever invented television must be having nightmares at this time for the curse he has brought upon the world. What he had intended to be an aide by making life easier had turned around to do the exact opposite.

While researching on this invention of the ’50s that provided information worldwide at the click of a channel, we found that it also provided many other services we could have done without. It brought up-to-the-minute “visual news” with close-ups of murder and accident victims swimming in their own blood. Was this what we had expected?

With television practically on the entire day, pre-school children are the most affected by its good and bad effects. In the US, TV has become the substitute nanny; here in the Philippines, choice of TV shows has been left to the yaya’s discretion. TV viewing takes time away from play, conversation, interaction with people and reading. Twenty years of research have shown that children who watch too much TV are overweight, are prone to violence to resolve conflict and believe whatever commercials sell. The solution, therefore, is in monitoring and controlling television content which is very difficult.

In the past we had radio, then the movies, then television. Every other medium suffered from the dominance of TV. It killed our movies that even our big action stars, who had never before appeared on television, bowed to its influence.

Today, there are the hard news and the straight-talk shows, news magazines and documentaries. Broadcast codes insist on balanced programming and in response to this, stations have aired some public affairs shows like The Probe Team and Firing Line. Some public service formats have survived the onslaught of entertainment like Hoy Gising and Isumbong Mo Kay Tulfo. Some educational shows have similarly survived like Batibot and Sineskwela. But they are few and far between.

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With the TV news department having difficulty in competing with the supremacy of entertainment, it has become obvious how newscasters have had to turn into entertainers themselves, exchanging showbiz banter amongst themselves. We ourselves don’t find anything wrong with that, as long as they keep the news proper sacred. What we find distasteful is headlining the news on print with stories of crime and sex that have been dubbed “tabloid journalism.”

What, therefore, will be the future of television and its varied components. Talk shows have become the latest victims in this supremacy of entertainment over everything else. At ABS-CBN, Martin Nievera’s Late at Night, 11:30 p.m. Fridays, has been the newest victim of non-renewal. Boots Anson-Roa and Willie Nepomuceno’s Music and Memories, is another. Viewed Sunday afternoons on teleradyo, the hosts play vintage music while providing background information on the artist. This would have been their sixth year. German “Kuya Germs” Moreno’s Walang Tulugan on GMA every Saturday midnight has had numerous changes and cancelations through the years, but he has never given up his show. Call it bullheadedness but the show is still around.

We wonder now what would be in the offing for television, its three major networks of ABS-CBN, GMA and TV5, plus satellite stations in the years to come?

Digitalization will revolutionize the television industry. Digital technology introduces high-definition television (HDTV) and allows broadcasters to integrate into one as many as six analog channels. The number of TV channels will be almost limitless. It will also make TV programming accessible to computers or what is called “compu-viewing.” Some predict that “PC is the future of broadcasting.”

The digital system will result not only in clearer and better signals but will also allow for convergence in technology — broadcasting, cable, telecommunications and computer services. And we shall experience brand-new problems.

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