By Imran Khan
Television has been around from the 1920s, a time when it was considered a luxury to have one in one’s home. As the years progressed, around 1960, the humble television changed over from black and white to colour. By 1970 the television as we know it was established as it became a common piece in every home. 1976 was also the golden year that television became popular in South Africa. Why am I telling you this? Well, television is going places that were never thought possible, places we thought were fiction back when we were watching ‘Star Trek’.
The first step television took was mobility.
We needed it to be handheld so we could take it anywhere. In 1962 Sony released the Watchman, a portable television with a screen size of about a postage stamp and greyscale imagery, while the rest of the device was just the receiver. Casio, the popular wrist watch company then took it one further a few years later with a full colour handheld TV with auto scan, multi band and active matrix screen that was a comfortable 2.3 inches (about modern cell phone screen size). By this stage Casio had the lead in innovation and kept rolling out more efficient models with other companies falling completely behind. This was of course analogue systems, picking up your standard VHF and UHF signals. We needed digital!
The latest in handheld TV’s pick up digital signal. We have seen devices like the “Walka” and the “Digital Prism” enter the market with some success. However this still was not enough. We went handheld, we went digital, but now it’s time to go “Smart”.
The modern TV is “Smart”, offering much more than displaying broadcast imagery. We now have access to apps, internet browsing, 3D viewing and remoteless control. Samsung has been the pioneer in Smart TV technology and are already on series 9 of the Smart TV technology. Their latest model includes: Wifi receiver, HDMI, USB ports, Smart hub and a 65 inch ultra HD panel. That’s just the TV part; they have also thrown away the remote and replaced it with face recognition, motion control and voice control. We must say though that we tried out one in store and found the motion and voice control a little tedious – perhaps it’s still early days for this technology.
So that sums up where television has gone since its inception. It has been an interesting journey and there is still more to come. We cannot wait.
In our next column we will review ‘FIFA 2014’, so watch this space.