Entertainment - Electronic Media

Electronic Media

By the second half of the 20th century, electronic media was capable of delivering stories, theatre, music and dance to mass audiences. In the 1940s, radio was the electronic medium for family entertainment and information. In the 1950s, it was television that was the new medium and it rapidly became global, bringing visual entertainment, first in black and white, then in colour, to the world. By the 1970s games could be played electronically, then hand-held devices provided mobile entertainment, and by the last decade of the 20th century, via networked play. In combination with products from the entertainment industry, all the traditional forms of entertainment became available personally. People could not only select an entertainment product such as a piece of music, film or game, they could choose the time and place to use it. The "proliferation of portable media players and the emphasis on the computer as a site for film consumption" together have significantly changed how audiences encounter films.

The rapid development of technology for entertainment was assisted by improvements in data storage devices such as cassette tapes or compact discs, along with increasing miniaturisation. By the second decade of the 21st century, analogue recording was being replaced by digital recording and all forms of electronic entertainment began to converge. Media convergence is said to be more than technological: the convergence is cultural as well. It is also "the result of a deliberate effort to protect the interests of business entities, policy institutions and other groups"

One of the most notable consequences of the rise of electronic entertainment has been the rapid obsolescence of the various recording and storage methods. As an example of speed of change driven by electronic media, it is notable that over the course of one generation, television as a medium for receiving standardised entertainment products went from unknown, to novel, to ubiquitous and finally to superseded. One estimate was that by 2011 over 30 percent of households in the US, would own a Wii console, "about the same percentage that owned a television in 1953". It is expected that halfway through the second decade of the 21st century, television will be completely replaced by online. The so-called "digital revolution" has resulted in an increasingly transnational marketplace that has caused difficulties for governments, business, industries and individuals as they all try to keep up. Other flow on effects of the shift are likely to include those on public architecture such as hospitals and nursing homes, where television, regarded as an essential entertainment service for patients and residents, will need to be replaced by access to the internet.

Just as the introduction of television altered the availability, cost, variety and quality of entertainment products for the public, so will the convergence of online entertainment. Also notable is that while technology offers increased speed of delivery and increases demand for entertainment products, in themselves the forms that make up the content are relatively stable.

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