5 Ways TV has Changed in the Last 20 Years

On September 7, 2017 television will be 90 years old. It was on September 7, 1927 that Philo Farnsworth introduced the fully electronic television. There have been a number of dramatic changes since the technology was first introduced. That included television overtaking the radio is the source of news for the average American. Since that time the television has also become an integral part of American life. The introduction of affordable color televisions was another marked change. However, over the past 20 years there have been a number of incredible changes in television. Matthew David Parker discusses. 

Picture Quality

One of the most dramatic changes in television over the past 20 years has been the quality of the picture. Prior to the late 1990s picture quality was decent, but not as life-like as the quality of the pictures people saw when they went to the movies. However, with the introduction of Plasma Display and other types of high-definition televisions sets in the late 1990s and beyond, the television viewing experience has changed dramatically. It is now possible to see a level of detail in the average television set people have in their home that was unimaginable before.


The size of the televisions people now have has also gone through a major change over the last two decades. Twenty years ago if you had a television with a 27 inch screen it was considered to be pretty big. While a few people had larger televisions, the 27 inch screen was the average. By 2011, the average television had a 37 inch screen and many people had televisions with screens that were even larger. Today it is not unusual to see someone with a television in their living room that has a 60 inch screen and there is emerging technology that allows for even larger screens.

Flat Screens

Twenty years ago most televisions had a big hump on their backs that was two or three feet in depth. Digital Light Processing, Liquid-Crystal Display and Plasma Display Panel televisions have changed all that. Nowadays the average television is only a few inches thick. Many of them are light enough to be hung on the wall. And there are even thinner ones being released every day. This has made a big difference in where televisions can be placed and how little room they require. These days the new flatsceen televisions are like having a movie theatre in your home.

Number of Channels

Another area in which television has changed is the number of channels that are available to viewers and who is broadcasting those channels. Twenty years ago the major networks, ABC, NBC and CBS held sway. Today there is great programming available on a growing lineup of channels. In facts, viewers can now choose from hundreds of channels and more of them are seemingly being added every day. There are now channels that specialize in cooking, fashion and just about anything else you can imagine. However, some people still complain there’s nothing to watch on television.

Reality TV

One of the biggest changes in television over the past two decades is the programming. In an attempt to save money television executives came up with the advent of reality TV. This type of program has largely eliminated the need for writers and scripted shows. Reality television has also made it possible for lots of non-actors to become television stars. Now all it takes is the willingness to say and do the most outrageous things in front of the camera to make lots of money and be considered a star. These programs have changed television forever.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *