Chapter 1. Introduction

A change of scene


  • Most viewers receive analogue television via terrestrial, cable or satellite transmission.

  • VHS video tapes are the principal medium for recording and playing TV programs, movies, etc.

  • Cell phones are cell phones, i.e. a mobile handset can only be used to make calls or send SMS messages.

  • Internet connections are slow, primarily over telephone modems for home users.

  • Web pages are web pages, with static text, graphics and photos and not much else.

  • Video calling requires dedicated videoconferencing terminals and expensive leased lines. Video calling over the internet is possible but slow, unreliable and difficult to set up.

  • Consumer video cameras, camcorders, use tape media, principally analogue tape. Home-made videos generally stay within the home.


  • Most viewers receive digital television via terrestrial, cable, satellite or internet, with benefits such as a greater choice of channels, electronic programme guides and high definition services. Analogue TV has been switched off in many countries. Many TV programmes can be watched via the internet.

  • DVDs are the principal medium for playing pre-recorded movies and TV programs. Many alternatives exist, most of them digital, including internet movie downloading (legal and not-so-legal), hard-disk recording and playback and a variety of digital media formats. High definition DVDs, Blu-Ray Disks, are increasing in popularity.

  • Cell phones function as cameras, web browsers, email clients, navigation systems, ...

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