Western Courier

For the times they are a streamin

John Benedeck, Courier Staff

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We live in the midst of a technological revolution, but is that a good thing?

The innovation of transmitting media and the invention of smart phones has made the world a much smaller place, and helped pioneer an entirely new medium of entertainment.

In order to truly understand how significant the time we live in, we must rewind to the early 20th century.

In the year 1926, a Hungarian engineer first developed the “scanner” tubes. This enabled a moving image to refresh itself constantly across a screen.

This eventually led to the first live transmission of television over the airwaves when President Harry Truman made is Japanese Peace Treaty speech in September of 1951.

The revolution of this magnificent technology created a booming market in live televised game shows, soap operas, and most significantly, sports.

Fast-forward 56 years to 1997, two California men started a DVD rental business: Netflix. They specialized in mailing the disks directly to customers’ houses, the first of its kind.

Netflix would only continue to lead the world in innovations when they announced their streaming service in 2007, conveniently when Apple announced the first iPhone.

While Apple and Netflix started their respective revolutions, other companies jumped on the streaming bandwagon.

Hulu and Amazon Prime both compete with Netflix in streaming, while Samsung and Google lead the market, behind Apple in smart phones.

Today, Netflix offers streaming services in over 190 countries and on almost every device.

It is safe to say that Netflix changed the way the world watches TV and is that a bad thing?

To answer that, we have to revisit the invention of the television. Before the transmission of moving images, radio was it. The “Golden Age of Radio” was in the 1920s and offered many services to the American People.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt broadcasted his “Fireside Chats” daily to inform American Citizens of their condition during the war, and “Little Orphan Annie” was the number one listened-to program in the 1930s and 40s.

Then, along came TV and radio quickly lost its monopoly. While it was detrimental to the radio industry, it offered a change and advance in media transmission.

New jobs were created, new equipment was developed, and, of course, “news” became visible. Sound familiar?

When the world was introduced to the smartphone, and streamed their first episode of “Friends” on the Internet, no one seemed to bat an eye.

In the same way as TV, Internet streaming is the new way to view live broadcasts, and is quickly on the rise.

Services such as SlingTV, DirecTV, HuluTV, and YouTubeTV, all offer monthly packages of live streamed television. These are accessed, and paid for, the same way Netflix is offered.

The age of TV seems to be on the decline, and broadband streaming is becoming the norm, simply because it’s more easily usable and cheaper.

A thing that was once new is now becoming obsolete. That seems to be the way things go.

Appropriately in the words of music legend Bob Dylan, “And the first one now will later be last, For the times they are a-changin

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
For the times they are a streamin