The success of television
Before the birth of television, people sat together, as we do today in front of the TV screen, and listened to the radio. When television appeared at the end of 1930s, there were people who considered it a waste of time and were convinced that listening to the radio was better than watching TV! But when in 1950s television became cheaper, people started to buy them, first of all in the USA and in Britain. At first television systems were in black and white; colour television appeared in the USA in the 1950s and much later in Europe, for example in 1967 in Britain and in Italy only in 1977. Now, in western countries, almost all families have one or more televisions. And TV set it considered necessary, like a fridge or a washing machine. American televisions had a great influence all over the world. Quiz shows, soap operas, TV series, and reality shows were all American innovations, like commercials interrupting programmes. So people not only watch the same programmes all over the world, but also buy the same products! For example the BBC, the British national television network, does not permit commercials in its programmes, and the three private British channels (ITV, Channel 4 and Five) cannot show more than eight minutes of advertising per hour. The BBC is probably one of the best TV networks in the world: it produces many popular programmes, but also many educational programmes and first class documentaries.