The first black and white television transmission in Trinidad and Tobago started at the time of Trinidad and Tobago’s independence from Britain in August 31, 1962 (Berkley, 2006). As a child growing up, I clearly remember having only one television station ttt, Trinidad and Tobago Television, and television shows were broadcast long after they had already aired in the US. I was a great fan of I Dream of Jeannie, Bewitched, Bonanza, Brady Bunch, Land of the Giants and Lost in Space.
In 1996 another local channel emerged, CCN TV6. Today there are 8 local networks that viewers can choose from, Direct TV and cable TV providers such as FLOW, Blink and Digicel from whom people can subscribe. The choice is vast and there is also streaming, as Netflix is available in the Caribbean, so many locals subscribe. In addition, sites such as Unblockus.com allow users to access streaming sites in the US that we otherwise would not be able to.
As a result of these technological developments,
“Now, viewers pick and choose exactly which shows they would like to watch. This has led to the development of custom phenomena, such as Tivo, DVR, Hulu and other on-demand services that have given fans the ability to watch what they want, when they want – often without commercials” (Okoye, 2013).
Gone are the days when the television schedule controlled the viewers’ lives, now viewers demand accessibility that fits with their demanding and fast paced lives. As a result most major networks, such as HBO and ABC, provide on demand TV . Therefore programs are available at the viewers’ convenience.
No longer do we just sit and watch the news, sports or program. Now the television audience gets involved via social media and discuss the shows or news in real time. When I am tuned into TGIT, I also enjoy reading the comments of the viewers and stars that tweet during the show. Voting for the dancers on Dancing with the Stars or the singers on American Idol is a great opportunity that engages the viewing audience.
For those who fancy being on television but have not had a break, there is YouTube which allows users to post videos of themselves. There are many YouTube sensations that have many fans and have earned lots of money from having posted videos online. Take for instance the British video sensation, “Charlie Bit Me”, which has been viewed 815 million times on YouTube. The boys’ parents have garnered thousands of pounds in advertising and sponsorship (Mulshine, 2015). Nonetheless many viewers also enjoy watching the array of entertainment on YouTube.
Television has been changed irrevocably by technology and so have our expectations of it. We the viewers can choose what we want to watch, when and where. We can even watch television on our smart phones and tablets. Today, Wednesday 8th September, 2015, as the new Prime Minister of our Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Keith Christopher Rowley, was being sworn in, I watched it on my laptop from a local channel that streams online and my colleague watched on his iPhone. We did not need to leave our desks to watch it on the television in our lobby downstairs. Technology has both empowered and liberated television viewers.
Berkley, O. (2006, January 15). A historical day for Trinidad and Tobago. Retrieved from http://tttpioneers.org/archives/16
Mulshine, M. (2015, April 24). The babies who went viral in the 2007 ‘Charlie bit my finger’ video just filmed a remake. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/where-the-charlie-bit-me-stars-are-now-2015-4
Okoye, J. (2013, August 5). 7 Ways Technology Has Changed Television. Retrieved from https://www.techopedia.com/2/29509/technology-trends/7-ways-technology-has-changed-television