Then & Now

Right now, I’m sitting too close to the heater- So close that I’ll probably burn myself if I sit here much longer. But I don’t want to move because I’m so comfortable and my phone charger reaches the wall so perfectly that I can still use my phone whilst listening to the sweet sound of Ricky Martin on The Voice. I don’t know why I’m watching the Voice to be honest I don’t vote, I don’t even know any of there names but if I change it I’ll get crucified by my Mum. The women who is laying on the lounge next to me with one hand clenched on her iPad and the other lifting her cup of tea up and down as she plays trivia crack yet claims she is watching this show. Welcome to my lounge room and the way in which I experience watching television most nights.

The television has evolved into one of the most important and reliable forms of communication due to its ability to reach mass audiences worldwide. Along with this the television is able to inform individuals about global events and news, educate people on various topics, and of course provide entertainment. It therefore has revolutionized the way in which individuals receive information and the way individuals understand the world around them. My mother’s childhood memories of television were very different from mine and I’m sure my child’s will be very different also, so I fired a few questions at my Mum about her television itself and her experience and much to my surprise she put down the god damn iPad down.

It was a wooden cabinet with a small screen and it had maroon and cream dials on it with an indoor aerial that sat on top which looked like a set of rabbit ears with curly wire. It was a small and it was second hand as it belonged to my nan who gave it to us in 1964. screen and it was actually second hand when we got it and it had belonged to my mothers grand mother so we got it in 1964. 

We were living in Seven Hills at the time in a small home. We had one lounge and a lounge chair both facing the television but I used to sit on cushions a lot of the time because I had four younger brothers. I remember I used to watch the same show everyday, The Magic Circle Club. I loved it and would rush home from school every afternoon just so I could watch it. Friday nights were different though I wasn’t allowed to watch it because it was on too late and Mum and Dad would watch “adult shows” but having the room closest to the lounge room I’d keep my door open and sneakily watch.

 I have so many memories of watching tv when I was a child but the one that stuck with me the most was the time my brothers broke it playing a game. Back then, the tv took a while to cool down because they would get so hot. My little brothers played a game called post man and letterbox because the TV had slits down the sides. They would grab letters, pencils and combs then say “HELLO POSTMAN!” and then put everything into the slits. One day the TV broke… It was so funny when the repair man arrived he found melted combs all over the tubes and well that was the end of that game!

I grew up with a completely different way of interacting with television. With four people living in my household we somehow ended up having six televisions. Although I was one of those kids that did dancing, gymnastics, swimming, tennis, netball, karate and of course playing in the street I was still obsessed with watching TV. My morning ritual included eating vegemite toast and watching Cheese TV shows such as Pokemon, Sailor Moon and Rugrats before racing out the door to ensure I wasn’t late. At some stage however our television was dominated by the rise of reality television. That’s probably why I find myself watching The Voice right now.

Due to a now diverse market Television is continually evolving. From my mothers experience soap operas and dramas were trending whereas now people are more inclined to watch things that are sequential and that they can really get involved in such as reality television and live sports. We are looking at a movement towards streaming and watching things on demand as seen through the phenomenon of Netflix. When considering the future of television and its programs one question will continually remain. What next?

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