America is free to broadcast television

Television in the US, the motherland of TV

American life cannot be imagined without TV (television). Almost every city has a variety of countless programs to choose from. The United States can be described as the motherland of television as it was the first country to broadcast regularly.

Table of Contents
Terrestrial television | Cable television | Satellite television | Age recommendations for TV shows | Program information | Worldwide television standards | Johnny Carson

    A distinction must be made between the following TV broadcasters' offers:
  • terrestrial television

  • Cable television

  • Satellite television.

Terrestrial television

Terrestrial television consists of a dovetailing of large, nationwide television companies, the so-called networks (= networks), and local broadcasters. For historical reasons, local broadcasters with the appropriate license authorizations were initially created and the large networks had to fall back on this infrastructure. In return, the local broadcasters undertook to take over programs from the big ones at certain times, otherwise the rest of the broadcasting time is at their disposal.

The Local station have four-letter designations. East of the Mississippi this abbreviation begins with a "W", west of the Mississippi with a "K". The name of the local station also indicates the channel on which it can be received - terrestrially, e.g. WCYB - Channel 5. US televisions are usually programmed in such a way that the corresponding channel (station) actually appears on the program slot (So ​​the program on channel 5 appears on slot no. 5 of the television - unlike in Europe). As Networks refers to the following television companies that can be received nationwide: ABC (American Broadcasting Company, NBC (National Broadcasting Company), CBS (Columbia Broadcasting System), Fox (Fox Broadcasting Company), The WB (Warner Brothers), UPNUnited Paramount Network

The latter two were founded by film studios and are not yet broadcast terrestrially throughout the country, but can be received nationwide via cable (see below). The networks broadcast via satellite to their local stations from 3 cities: New York, Denver and Los Angeles. Each local station receives the program from the broadcasting city of the network, which is associated with its time zone. The stations in the Central Time Zone, which receive their programs from the New York station, are excluded. Therefore, the evening program of the networks starts at 8 p.m. (8 p.m.) in every time zone, except in the central time zone, where it starts at 7 p.m. (7 p.m.) (due to the supply from New York from 8 p.m. local time).

This brings us to the program scheme of a typical television day, which can be summarized as follows:

7 – 9Breakfast television with news
9 – 17Entertainment, especially soap operas and game shows, especially for those who stayed at home
17 – 20Evening programs from local stations with local news, successful series, etc.
18.3030 minutes of evening news from the networks ABC, NBC and CBS
20 – 23"Prime time" of the networks with shows and series, no news
23.00Local news, especially sports news
from 11.30 p.m.Programs of the local stations. NBC and CBS broadcast the well-known one-hour late-night shows with Conan O'Brien and David Letterman, respectively.

Programs in prime time usually consist of one-hour series, half-hour sitcoms or magazines. Series usually have 26 episodes and run from September to May. In the months of November and February, the further fate of series is decided by the audience ratings, which is why the latest and supposedly best series parts are usually shown (time of the "sweeps" - from swept away = swept away). While shows were once the privilege of networks, they are now also shown by local broadcasters, even if they were produced for nationwide use (so-called syndication-tv; best-known starter series of this type: Star Trek - The Next Generation).

Cable television

Almost all US households now have a cable connection and can receive 60 or more cable channels. These are specialty channels on every imaginable topic, such as CNN Domestic, MTV, VH1, BET, etc. This also includes PBS. The Public Broadcasting Service brings sophisticated programs without advertising to 348 broadcasting stations in almost all countries, but unfortunately it is rarely programmed on hotel television sets.

The so-called superstations, local transmitters without being tied to a network, also transmit via cable. Pay TV or pay-per-view can also be received via cable. The best-known pay TV channels are HBO< (home="" box="" office)="" und="" cinemax,="" die="" in="" der="" regel="" kinofilme="">

Cable channels usually broadcast around the clock 24 hours a day. As a special interest channel, classic films, sports, country, old series, etc. are broadcast.

Satellite television

All cable channels can also be received via satellite, but they are often encrypted and linked to a decoder. The network's own local stations and superstations can be received freely.

Age recommendations for television programs

As with movies in the United States, television shows have age recommendations for children. The respective rating level is shown at the beginning of the program in the upper left corner of the television picture. The recommendation levels are:

TV-Yall children
TY-Y7for children from 7 years
TV-Y7-FVfor children from 7 years, but with violent fantasies - fantasy violence
TV-Gfor all viewers
TV-PGParents are recommended
TV-14not suitable for viewers under 14 years of age
TV-Mfor adults only

Program information

In general, the television program is even flatter than in Germany and is permanently interrupted by advertising. "Soaps" are preferred (many are now also known from local programs) because they can easily be peppered with advertising blocks without any consequences in terms of content.

In principle, the world does not take place in the news programs. The programs open with the local murders (reporters are always on site), list other crimes of the day or week and otherwise have a strong local flavor. As a tourist you shouldn't be unsure about this bad news. It really is the "day-to-day business" of crime reporting and tourists are rarely the target of violent crimes. If this does happen, it will be reported in great detail (also with us!).

If you want to watch world news, you should switch to the programs of CNN International. Even these, however - apart from the topicality of major events - do not reach a “Tagesschau” or “Today” level. The 'Weather Channel', for example, which sends weather reports around the clock, is useful for travel. A foretaste of the American “television feeling” is provided by numerous programs (often of a religious nature) that are available on the Internet or as canned goods. Corresponding links can be found on the Watch Internet TV from USA website.

Worldwide television standards

  • NTSC National Televion Standards Committee: The oldest television standard was developed in the USA and first used in 1954, it is still valid today. 525 horizontal and 60 vertical lines are displayed.
  • SECAM - Système Électronique pour Couleur avec Mémoire: Developed in France and first used in 1967. 625 lines are displayed vertically and 50 lines horizontally. There are different types (B, D, G, H, K, N, M, K1, L) that are not compatible with each other.
  • PAL - Phase Alternating Line: Developed in Great Britain and Germany and first used in 1967. 625 horizontal and 50 vertical lines are shown. There are also different types (B, G, H, D, I, K, N, M) that are not compatible with each other.

The Television Standards by Country website lists which television standards in which countries apply. In order to be able to play American video cassettes (recorded in the NTSC standard) in Europe, the video recorder and the television set used must be multistandard devices, i.e. devices that can handle all three of the named standards or at least two.

Johnny Carson

The American television presenter Johnny Carson is considered to be the inventor of the television talk show. Carson grew up in Norfolk, Nebraska and served in the Navy from 1943 to 1946. He then got a job at the radio, which he later left for game broadcasts. Before taking over The Tonight Show, he hosted various shows including the Johnny Carson Show and the game show Who Do You Trust ?. The "Tonight Show" ran from 1962 to 1992 and went to bed with up to 60 million Americans. Over time, Carson welcomed around 20,000 celebrities. The Carsons' influence was demonstrated by a statement in 1973 that the US was facing a toilet paper emergency. The supermarkets were stormed to it and the items were immediately sold out. In 1992 he was awarded the US President's Medal of Freedom. Johnny Carson died on January 23, 2005 in Los Angeles (California) of complications from emphysema.