Television Viewing: Past VS Present

It was in the mid 60’s where my mum spent her childhood in a small village located in Melor, Kelantan. Together with four of her elder siblings, they usually passed time by exploring the wonders of nature. They played various games including hopscotch, marbles, poker cards or even climbing trees to pluck fruits.

One day, the richest man in the village brought a television back home. Certainly, everyone in the neighbourhood was excited upon the news, in which they often gathered to watch shows aired on the interesting black box-like device. Children would have to climb over the house grill to watch. However, sometimes their views were blocked by the adults, thus they often went home feeling disappointed and sad.

Consequently, her father had one television for the family too. All of the siblings including my mum herself were filled with much enthusiasm. For the first time, they witnessed people moving in a tiny box right in front of their eyes. The feeling was sensational and thrilling. They felt inspired in what the world can do. Since that day onwards, life was different. Instead of dining in the kitchen as usual, five of them would eat dinner in front of the television as they did not want to miss any of the shows. During the weekend, her mother would prepare supper such as fried fritters, satay or any traditional desserts for them to enjoy while watching television.

Photo: PB Works
Photo: PB Works

Although these siblings became so glued to the television, it was actually a bonding experience. As they shared screen time together, they enjoyed laughter especially when watching comedies. It was a great way of spending quality time among family members. My mum could still recall some of her favourite shows at that time were Samurai, Land of the Giants and Time Tunnel.

After nearly six decades, the television remains as the most dominant medium for news and entertainment. Referring to Statista (2013), based on the research from 2007 to 2012, an adult (aged 18 and above) spends approximately three hours on television, slightly half an hour more time spent on the Internet.

Owning a television used to be a luxury where only the rich can afford. Yet now, it has become one of the basic furniture in households. With the development of television, it has also paved ways for the other growth of technology inventions such as VCR’s and HDTV.

In this era of globalization, the huge impact can be seen from the television evolution is definitely its pervasiveness. As television is a universal medium, it has grown to be inseparable with the world we live in. Through this black box, we learn almost everything we know about the globe beyond our immediate environs. The television phenomenon immensely accelerates the compression of time and space.

The television viewing experience of our contemporary society has changed drastically too. The social benefits of watching television used to be a recreation, in bringing togetherness in family. With the emergence of multi-screen panorama, our focus is always easily diverted to other forms of gadgets such as smartphones, tablets or PC. This seemingly simple engagement with family, nevertheless, is not what everyone can do today.

Photo: Daily Star
Photo: Daily Star

The shared experience with family in watching television may not be as enjoyable as before. Albeit partly, since born, our generation today are lucky enough to be blessed with the ease of technology. Hence, we may have been taking advantage of this lavishness showered upon us, with the mindset-in absolute sense-that technology has always been there.

The general overview of television pioneer from the past six decades until today acts as a technological means of communication, establishing influence towards the aspect of economic, social and political respectively. With the subject whether television is soon dying or so is still controversial, as the significance role given to television has greatly constructed its societal transformation of this world.


Statista 2013, ‘Time Spent With Media In Malaysia 2013 | Statistic’, accessed 21/8/2015, 


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