Here’s How Your Television Works

TV Remote Control

There aren’t many people alive today who can recall a world with a television set. That means that unless you’re an electrician or someone else who needs to know, you might never have thought about how, exactly, those streaming shows come into your home.

The Radio Corporation of America first brought television to the public in 1939 at the World’s Fair. It was another 20 years before they were showing up in most (around 85%) of American homes, and another ten years or so after that before color programs hit the waves.

Viewers chose from three or four channels, there was no DVR, and no way to watch something you missed if you were out having an actual life when it aired.

That said, televisions still do three basic things: receive audio and video data, use that data to present you with sound and a picture, and offer ways to set the channel and volume at home.

Early televisions worked with radio waves that contained both the picture and sound of a television program.

The local television station sent those radio waves through the air using a giant transmission tower, antennas on the roofs of buildings and homes intercepted those waves and transported them through cables to the television sets inside.

Around 2009, television stations replaced all of those “analog” signals with digital ones. Our high-definition televisions have a much better picture and sound quality, but the basic method of using radio waves hasn’t changed.

Modern digital television uses various streams of pictures and audio.

Pictures are formed by pixels; there are tens of thousands of them on your screen and each has a “color index” and “intensity.” All of the pixels work together to produce the desired images.

Groups of bits are formed into bytes, which are the transmission link between the content and your television set. Your modem packages and unpackages the details, and it is the critical piece of the puzzle.

The data can be transmitted through wifi or sent through fiber or cable – or, in the case of streaming, through a computer network.

Your smart TV allows you to control all the functions; it’s essentially a huge computer, monitor, and receiver in one package.

Image courtesy of Depositphotos.

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