"TV" redirects here. For other uses, see Television (disambiguation) and TV (disambiguation).
This article is about television as a medium. For the appliance itself, see television set.
Flat-screen televisions for sale at a consumer electronics store in 2008.

Television or TV is a telecommunication medium used for transmitting moving images in monochrome ( black-and-white), or in color, and in two or three dimensions and sound. It can refer to a television set, a television program ("TV show"), or the medium of television transmission. Television is a mass medium, for entertainment, education, news, and advertising.

Television became available in crude experimental forms in the late 1920s, but these did not sell to the public. After World War II, an improved form of black-and-white TV broadcasting became popular in the United States and Britain, and television sets became commonplace in homes, businesses, and institutions. During the 1950s, television was the primary medium for influencing public opinion. [1] In the mid-1960s, color broadcasting was introduced in the US and most other developed countries. The availability of storage media such as Betamax (1975), VHS tape (1976), DVDs (1997), and high-definition Blu-ray Discs (2006) enabled viewers to watch prerecorded material at home, such as movies. At the end of the first decade of the 2000s, digital television transmissions greatly increased in popularity. Another development was the move from standard-definition television (SDTV) ( 576i, with 576 interlaced lines of resolution and 480i) to high-definition television (HDTV), which provides a resolution that is substantially higher. HDTV may be transmitted in various formats: 1080p, 1080i and 720p. Since 2010, with the invention of smart television, Internet television has increased the availability of television programs and movies via the Internet through streaming video services such as Netflix, iPlayer, Hulu, Roku and Chromecast.

In 2013, 79% of the world's households owned a television set. [2] The replacement of early bulky, high-voltage cathode ray tube (CRT) screen displays with compact, energy-efficient, flat-panel alternative technologies such as plasma displays, LCDs (both fluorescent-backlit and LED), and OLED displays was a hardware revolution that began with computer monitors in the late 1990s. Most TV sets sold in the 2000s were flat-panel, mainly LEDs. Major manufacturers announced the discontinuation of CRT, DLP, plasma, and even fluorescent-backlit LCDs by the mid-2010s. [3] [4] [5] LEDs are expected to be replaced gradually by OLEDs in the near future. [6] Also, major manufacturers have announced that they will increasingly produce smart TV sets in the mid-2010s. [7] [8] [9] Smart TVs with integrated Internet and Web 2.0 functions became the dominant form of television by the late 2010s. [10]

Television signals were initially distributed only as terrestrial television using high-powered radio-frequency transmitters to broadcast the signal to individual television receivers. Alternatively television signals are distributed by coaxial cable or optical fiber, satellite systems and, since the 2000s via the Internet. Until the early 2000s, these were transmitted as analog signals but countries started switching to digital, this transition is expected to be completed worldwide by late 2010s. A standard television set is composed of multiple internal electronic circuits, including a tuner for receiving and decoding broadcast signals. A visual display device which lacks a tuner is correctly called a video monitor rather than a television.


The word television comes from ancient Greek τῆλε (tèle), meaning "far", and Latin visio, meaning "sight". The first documented usage of the term dates back to 1900, when a Russian scientist Constantin Perskyi used it in a paper that he presented in French at the 1st International Congress of Electricity, which ran from 18 to 25 August 1900 during the International World Fair in Paris. The Anglicised version of the term is first attested in 1907, when it was still "...a theoretical system to transmit moving images over telegraph or telephone wires". [11] It was "...formed in English or borrowed from French télévision." [11] In the 19th century and early 20th century, other "...proposals for the name of a then-hypothetical technology for sending pictures over distance were telephote (1880) and televista (1904)." [11] The abbreviation "TV" is from 1948. The use of the term to mean "a television set" dates from 1941. [11] The use of the term to mean "television as a medium" dates from 1927. [11] The slang term "telly" is more common in the UK. The slang term "the tube" or the "boob tube" refers to the bulky cathode ray tube used on most TVs until the advent of flat-screen TVs. Another slang term for the TV is "idiot box". [12]