Western Digital WD Media Center

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The Western Digital WD Media Center can play and store various types of movies, music and other media formats on its 1 terabyte media center. It lets you watch media on your TV or any computer in your home in high definition with the WD TV Live Hub media center in its hard drive.

You can even watch old movies or music in your collection, live streaming music and videos in full HD.

The interface is user friendly and easy to understand, even a child or someone who isn’t tech savvy can use it.

The Western Digital WD Media Center allows you to access various functions and websites online like Blockbuster, Facebook, Netflix, Pandora, and On Demand among others. The unit is very light and only weighs 1.2 pounds and measures 7.8 x 6.1 x 1.3 inches.

Pros

What users love about this unit is that it lets you download or view different media in various formats. The manual is also known to be very helpful. You can read the manual online too if you lose the printed version.

The firmware updates frequently and you get picture perfect movies either from your personal collection or online. It’s the best device to watch Netflix videos online.

Cons

The Western Digital WD Media Center is Wi-Fi ready but doesn’t come with the proper accessories to use it Wi-Fi. You would have to spend more money getting a USB Wi-Fi adapter to make it wireless. In the meantime, you would have to buy cables to connect it to your PC and position it right next to the computer or internet connection along with your TV.

Another common complaint is the unresponsive customer service. If you run into problems it might take days or weeks to get help from customer service. Other users also say that it is easier and faster to copy files on a separate USB than on the Western Digital WD Media Center.

People who have had an Apple TV say that the Apple is easier to set up and comes with a built in Wi-Fi. The remote control is also flimsy and sometimes unresponsive or slow to respond. The weird thing is the remote control doesn’t have a volume control.

Generally, most users like the Western Digital WD Media Center for its versatility and ability to play or store various media formats. It can also play regular DVDs and Blu-rays if you download them in advance. The device also remains silent throughout use unlike some media players that produce annoying sound. You can also connect your iPod to it and listen to music stored in your iPod.

The Western Digital WD Media Center is easy to use. Most people who complain about some quirks simply don’t know how to use it. Advice: read the manual it’s very simple to understand and quite useful.

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The Indian Media Fraternity

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The Indian media fraternity comprises of several components. These include newspapers, magazines, tabloids, TV, radio and the internet. Of late, internet has witnessed the most amounts of investments and is being called the sunrise sector of Indian media. Today, almost all news can be got instantly from the internet as and when they happen. News in India is mostly made up of the day to day happenings of the Indian community as well as all over the world.

Indian media has existed in the country ever since the 18th century. Radio was first introduced by the British and news broadcast stared started almost immediately. Notable Indian luminaries contributed to the growth of Indian radio and this important component of Indian media has been around for almost a century now.

A recent study on the media of India has revealed that over a 100 million daily newspapers were bought in the country. This has made India the second largest newspaper market in the world. In fact, the Indian news industry has grown hugely over the last decade. This is partly because of the fact that TV has made huge inroads in the house of the average Indian. There are more than 1400 companies in the country today that’s making TV sets. This, on its part, has made India the fourth largest TV market. This is mostly stemmed from the fact that the Indian media operates in country that has a huge population. Besides the print and electronic media, internet has gained immense ground, as already said, and has reached almost every nook and corner of the country. Online news has emerged as a quick and efficient method of catering news in the Indian media industry.

Like most other countries, news in Indian media is almost instantaneously catered to the audience via the TV channels. This enables the media of India to reach out to the largest possible audience at one go.

Another important facet of the media of India is the publication of vernacular newspapers. India has linguistic states and each state has several vernacular newspapers catering news, views, information and opinion of local and regional interest to people of that particular state. Many states have their local English dailies as well that mostly caters to the urban and the semi-urban class.

Since the early and the mid-1990s, radio in India has been mostly powered by the FM channels. The FM transmissions transformed the radio from a fading media to a really vibrant one. The FM transmission is mostly entertainment oriented although the government-run stations broadcasts news and information of social importance.

It can be said sans any doubt that the media of India would take a quantum leap in the coming years powered by the internet and TV.

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Panasonic Plasma TV – 58 Inch Models

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Panasonic is one of the leading producers of televisions on the market. One type that is only replicated by only one other manufacturer, Samsung, is the Panasonic 58 Inch Plasma TV. Only two manufacturers actually produce the 58 inch models. This article will take a peek at the top of the line newest models of Plasma Televisions, specifically Panasonic Plasma 58 inch models. I will also review an older model as well.

Panasonic VIERA S1 Series TC-P58S1 58-Inch 1080p Plasma HDTV

Highlights: Perfect for sports and movies, the Panasonic Viera S1 also comes with a game mode that enhances the picture when connected to a gaming system such as a PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360. Panasonic introduced a new technology called Neo PDP which allows for 1080 lines of resolution even during fast motion sequences. There is an SD Card slot for viewing photos right on the Plasma TV. 1080p Full HD video, 40,000:1 contrast ratio, 16:9 viewing and it weighs 112 pounds. It has a digital audio output, and also comes with Viera Link which allows you to easily connect your devices like video cameras and other peripherals directly to your Panasonic Plasma TV.

Panasonic TC P58V10 – 58″ plasma TV – widescreen – 1080p (FullHD)

Highlights: The Panasonic TC P58V10 is a 58 inch Panasonic model plasma television that comes with full hd 1080p video playback. One of the neatest features is that the plasma TV itself comes internet ready. So you can have access to internet media through a feature called Viera Cast. You can play video from services such as videos, photos, weather and stock information through the internet web interface that is built into the TV. Now enjoy services like YouTube, Amazon Video, and Picasa without having to access or log on to your home computer. 40,000:1 Native contrast ratio, this is a THX certified TV so it will reproduce cinematic images exactly as the film was originally produced. It will also display cinematic images at 24 frames per second, and has a filter to eliminate the flicker effect.

Panasonic Viera TH-58PZ800U 58-Inch 1080p Plasma HDTV

The Panasonic TH-58PZ800U Viera is one of the earlier models of Viera and has really become affordable in the last year. This particular model of Panasonic plasma tv has a high rating as it earned a CNET Editor’s Choice Award in October of 2008 for one of the best plasma tvs out on the market. Normally I would just focus on the newer models, but this plasma deserved mention. Great features at a great price. Originally this TV would have cost around $3,800, and only after a year on the market it is available for half that price, sometimes even lower. I found several new in the box on Amazon for around $1500.

Highlights: Native contrast ratio 30,000:1, and a Dynamic contrast ratio up to 1,000,000:1. Anti-reflective filter for greater viewing angle in different lighting. This plasma also has the built in SD card slot for viewing photos and more just like the newer models of Panasonic. HDMI 1.3, and 24p reduction of the flicker effect when playing cinematic features. This TV is also THX certified like the newer high end Panasonic, and also comes with Game Mode. You are really getting a lot for your money at this point, without sacrificing too much.

Accessory – Digital Media Player

As a side note, one of the most exciting groups of accessories to come out this year and a great addition to any home theater or Plasma TV are Digital Media Players. These devices allow you to hard wire, or stream wirelessly from your home computer to your high definition television. This gives you access to your entire media collection right in your living room or media room. As an example, there is a digital media player called the Patriot Media Player, that comes with wireless that lets you install an internal hard drive on it to digitally store your home DVD collection, giving you access anywhere you go. You can also stream services like YouTube and other online content.

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Spokane TV Stations: From Analog to Digital

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Spokane TV stations are broadcast companies in Spokane Washington that transmits programs over a television (medium). The most recent technology promotes that broadcast signals will be switched to the new digital signal. There are a number of well-known TV stations in Spokane which is already broadcasting digitally. So it exactly means that they will all switch off the analog signals by next year. When switched to this latest innovation, viewers will discover that stations are able to add auxiliary channels.

Here is a list of Spokane’s TV stations that serves the Spokane television market provided with their corresponding channels:

  • KREM Channel 2

KREM Channel 2 is one of the television stations in Spokane, WA which serves the Spokane television market. This TV station is located in 4103 South Regal Street Spokane, WA 99223. The programming of the station is run by the CBS network. KREM operates with 893 kilowatts of power and is owned by the Belo Corporation.

  • KXLY Channel 4

KXLY is a television station which runs programming from the ABC network. KXLY is a digital full-power television station that operates with 23.3 kilowatts of power and is owned by Spokane Television Group, a subsidiary of Morgan Murphy Media.

  • KHQ Channel 6

This TV station has just completed its installation and testing of a new digital antenna to greatly improve the station’s signal strength last week. The station runs programming from the NBC network and operates 45.1 kilowatts of power. The station is owned by The KHQ Television Group, a subsidiary of Cowles Publishing Company, which owns The Spokesman-Review newspaper.

  • KSPS Channel 7

This TV station which broadcasts three channels, including channels 8 and 44 has modified its digital frequencies. This change will be effective next year. The station runs programming from the PBS network and operates with 21.6 kilowatts of power. KSPS Channel is owned by Spokane Public Schools.

  • KWSU Channel 10

KWSU is a television station in Pullman which runs programming from the PBS network. KWSU with 6.2 kilowatts of power and is owned by Washington State University.

  • KSKN Channel 22

KSKN is a television station in Spokane which runs programming from the The CW network and identifies itself as “CW 22”. KSKN operates with 250 kilowatts of power and is owned by Belo Corporation.

  • KQUP Channel 24

KQUP is a television station in Pullman, WA which runs Daystar programming and identifies itself as “KQUP 24”. KQUP operates with 57 kilowatts of power and is owned by Daystar Television Network.

  • KCDT Channel 26

KCDT is a television station in Coeur d’Alene, ID which runs programming from the PBS network and identifies itself as “Idaho PTV”. This television station operates with 38 kilowatts of power and is owned by Idaho State Board of Education.

  • KAYU Channel 28

KAYU is a television station in Spokane, WA which runs programming from the FOX network and identifies itself as “FOX 28”. KAYU operates with 91.4 kilowatts of power and is owned by Northwest Broadcasting.

  • KGPX Channel 34

KGPX is a television station in Spokane which runs programming from the ion network. KGPX is a digital full-power television station that operates with 104 kilowatts of power and is owned by ION Media Networks.

  • KHBA Channel 39

KHBA Channel 39 is a low-power TV station broadcasting locally on UHF. This TV station is the only local Christian station which runs programming from 3ABN. The station is owned by He’s Alive Broadcasting Association.

Get the latest news scoops that you want at Spokane TV stations.

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Western Digital TV – HD Media Player Review

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These days, everyone wants to be able to watch all their media easily. And of course, why not, with media coming from so many places… digital cameras, video cameras, cell phones and naturally, the Internet. You also don’t want to have to physically swap your DVDs or Blu-Rays discs because that’d be, well, un-North American! 750-something doughnuts a year, we Canadians eat. It’s gotta take a toll somewhere.

But in all seriousness, playing all the different media you might have is never an easy task. Let’s look at the options some of us might have.

XBOX 360 – Somewhat capable, but suffers from codec incompatibility, no built-in WiFi, loudness and other issues. Amazingly, the 360 is reported to be able to read HFS+ (Mac) partitions which I like for a number of reasons, while the PS3, a non-Apple competitor company’s product, cannot read HFS+ or NTFS. Even more amazing still, the 360 can’t read NTFS. I’d love to know what happened behind the scenes… was there a disgruntled employee(s) who said,”let’s stick to the MS man baby! HFS but no NTFS!! HAHA! There!” The menu, sorry, Dashboard works pretty well for a console, but not so much in my opinion as a media center. Finally, the 360 just uses too much darn power.

Sony PlayStation 3 – Considered to be a good media player by many, it doesn’t meet with the same sort of fanfare in my house. It can’t handle MKVs, even though the files within that container are usually OK for the PS3, it can’t take files larger than 4GB, it can’t stream these sorts of videos from a PC (and even if it could, its 802.11g speeds would hold it back). Also can get loud/hot like the 360, and it takes a lot of power. Aside from that, the PS3 having a Blu-Ray player is its saving grace. That, its Blu-Ray boot up speed and the fact that it can decode the lossless formats internally make it a decent player. I even like the XMB to a point where I don’t mind using it for organizing pictures and music, but since it can’t handle my MKV video collection, it too, unfortunately, has to receive a thumbs down.

Wii – Hah. I’ll discuss the 1080p media center capabilities of my original Game Boy next.

Popcorn Hour – This was one of the first proper media center thingys that had all the requisite features on paper. Hard drive, included, along with WiFi, RSS Bit Torrenting skills and the ability to play back MKVs and high-bitrate 1080p video. Only problem is, it didn’t do it well. First hand reports abound of the player stuttering, freezing, and generally sucking at playing back 1080p video.

Various other networked media streamers – These all work decently well for pictures, music and even SD video, but then again, so do the 360 and PS3 with TVersity. Nay, the real test is full-bandwidth 1080p video, and I’m afraid both the players and their skimpy wireless connections are not up to the job.

HTPC – This would be the only real solution for a long time. I even have posts detailing what they do and how to put them together. Why do these work? Because they’re just computers connected to TVs. Dual-core CPUs, lots of RAM and fancy videos ought to make short work of anything you can throw at them, at least in theory. Having owned HTPCs since I was able to connect an S-video cable to my Radeon 9700 Pro back in the day, I can tell you that the experience is not as smooth as it should be. Why? Because we’re using Windows! XP Media Center Edition was just XP, and Vista has Media Center built in, so that Media Center is just an application that runs on top. BSODs, freezes, slowdowns and other issues will still happen, especially if you use the box for other purposes, such as downloading in the background. That, and the incredibly complex setup procedure was seriously annoying. You have to of course install Vista, but then the codecs, and making sure that things are being upconverted and handled properly, sound is being output through the coax or toslink or HDMI the way it should, and then finally calibrating the video output was a chore and then some. Most of these problems go away when using Plex with a Mac as your HTPC. It’s one of the best media center frontends I’ve seen, and it’s incredibly efficient with its processing, playing video back smoothly that won’t in VLC or Quicktime with Perian. Still, it’s quite an investment (well, it’s actually a depreciating asset, but let’s not split hairs) to buy a whole PC, and that too a Mac. Your only aesthetically-acceptable option would be a Mac Mini, and their price-performance relationship is unheard of (in a bad way).

WD TV HD Media Player – Finally, that brings us to the object this review is about, the Western Digital TV HD Media Player. No one was expecting this thing, at all, at this price, and certainly not from WD. But none of that is important.

We’ve been led to believe that good things come in small packages, and it seems that this tiny device may be a proponent of that idea. It’s unbelievably small, at least to my eyes, which are used to seeing acceptable 1080p playback from big boxes that contain massive coolers atop multi-core CPUS breathing hot air, sucking electricity down and adding to the racket and sweltering heat produced by the other components inside that (usually) ugly box. This thing has no fans, is pretty green and gasp… actually does what its supposed to! Setup could not be easier, and I think no AV device in history has been easier to set up, physically. The power cable, the HDMI cable… and you’re done. Yes, this is also the case with many other HDMI devices, but this thing is tiny, and it only has a few jacks, so it’s very hard to mess it up. No physical buttons are on the unit, so it’s switched on by the remote. A more-white-than-blue LED lights up for power, and if you have a USB device plugged in, it’ll flash or light up, depending on whether it’s scanning the drive or is ready to go. I encountered a problem early on. After setting up the easy cabling and getting into the menu, I found that it would not recognize my external 1 TB hard drive. Alarmed, I immediately copied a 720p TV show to my Patriot Xporter flash drive and plugged it in. After a few seconds of inactivity, it started flashing and the videos came up. Still, if it wouldn’t read 1 TB hard drives, it’s not really an effective 1080p media center now, is it? I updated the firmware, and then it finally saw the drive. I noticed speed improvements as well! Hopefully this thing will get better and better with each firmware update.

This baby will play just about anything digital you can find. From old-school DivX encodings to the latest super-high bitrate 1080p MKVs, this will handle them all. More surprisingly, it seems to have no trouble playing them. They are no signs of a struggle! I put on a specially ripped version of the Godfather, barely compressed from the original, taking up about 20 GB. It started playing right away, faster than my gaming computer could start playing it(and that has a 4 GHz Yorkfield and 8GB of RAM). VLC and other players sometimes have a lot of visual imperfections playing back high-resolution high-bitrate video, but there was no such macroblocking, other than any present from compression. If you haven’t compressed your Blu-Ray rips much, or, you’ve just copied the stream file from a Blu-Ray disc (which it WILL play!), the video will look superb. Sound is as good as standard Dolby Digital or DTS gets (if you’re connected through composite, it won’t decode DTS though), but currently, it doesn’t do DTS-MA or TrueHD as far as I know.

The interface is a little like a simplified, vertical-scrolling Windows XP-coloured Sony PS3 XMB interface. Sounds a bit like Windows Media Center, right? It’s not unlike it actually. Though the menus are a little simplistic, they get the job done and I can’t complain much. The only issue I have with the interface is that each icon should have the corresponding text near it, not down in the bottom-right corner. A small niggle, really. The device has the ability to create libraries for you, but I disabled this feature as I have my own organizational structure on the drive, and also, it
seemingly takes forever to index a 1 TB drive. One more caveat here is that it can’t do this for HFS+ formatted drives, and I think it’s because it can read them, but not write to them.

After using the device for a few hours, I can say that I’m very satisfied with it. It switches between videos easily, resumes videos where you left them off, and never falters during playback, no matter how demanding the video file is. At this point, I have just one niggle… the remote is too small for adult male hands, and the buttons require a lot of effort to push. Sounds like a small issue, which can easily be resolved by using other kinds of remotes (programmable, Harmony etc.). At $139 Canadian, this is a great deal since it can do what HTPCs can’t do as reliably or as quick, for hundreds less. It also trumps every other media solution on the market, including the consoles.

I give it a 9 out of 10.

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5 Simple Steps to Be a Media Star

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This series of articles are focused on how to become known as an expert. Today we will focus on how to gain media attention.

Dale Carnegie said in his famous book – How To Win Friends and Influence People, “babies cry for and grown men die for”. We all want attention and recognition. We seek media attention to get our name splashed in newspapers, radio and TV. Not only is it something we personally want but it is also a great strategy to gain expert status and get clients.

I have been written up in print, interviewed on radio and TV. Did you know one appearance on TV can catapult you into fame and launch your career into the stratosphere? Fawn Germer, who I recently hear speak, was featured on Oprah. She has leveraged it to the hilt. We all know what can happen if you are seen on The Oprah Show. Businesses become hugely successful and a million books are sold! Dr. Phil and Dr. OZ started as guests on The Oprah Show. Now they have their own shows.

So how do you get attention of the media?

Here are 5 simple strategies:

  1. Find an angle that will appeal to the media: It is quite easy to look up what current stories are already being covered in the media. Just find an angle to latch on to the story. It is not enough to say that you are a chiropractor or a massage therapist. What is new, unique or newsworthy about your profession?
  2. Prepare you story: Once you know the angle, create a pitch that is easy for you to communicate. Human interest stories are featured all the time. Pick a struggle and how you or a client overcame that struggle.
  3. Get a list of reporters: Today it is easier to find reporters on the internet. Social media has made reporters and journalists much more accessible. Pick the target market you want to focus on and find the reporters who cover such stories.
  4. Call or email them: Depending on the information you have and how timely it is, you can just pick up the phone and call the reporter. Make sure you are aware of simple protocols. TV, radio and print media – all have different strategies in collecting and sharing information. Pay attention to when and how you should approach the media.
  5. Build a relationship: I consistently write comments to the reporters. You will be amazed how many of them will reply back. Make it a habit to communicate with them so you can be recognized. Today the media is required to build a following and be in touch with their audience.

These simple and effective strategies will help you start moving towards being a media star.

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Global International Conference Calls

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So you are looking for the best international conference call solutions to easily host global conference calls for your business or individual use. So which solutions are the easiest and most affordable?

As a part of most businesses, international conference calls are necessary sometimes. Since people attending the call may be connecting from any part of the world, using a reliable and quality solution is the key to a successful conference call.

When looking for a great conference hosting service, there are two important factors to consider: reliability and saving money.

You certainly want your calls to have a great quality. The voice must be clear and fast, with no major delay. Considering the fact that it is an international conference call and because of the long distance, the call quality plays a big part.

Another factor is choosing an affordable, low cost solution. After all, why spend too much money on a conference service while you can save money and use a more affordable one with equal or even more features?

Some companies offer you toll free numbers to make your conference calls free for people from US and Canada. You will also receive a separate number to give to your international customers or business partners to use to connect to the call easily.

When you do a simple search online, you will be amazed to see how many different companies are offering conference hosting services for global use.

Each of them come with certain benefits, quality, and price. You can compare carefully your choices to choose the best solution for you.

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Streaming Media Players – Top 3 Been Purchased Online

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Streamers (the tiny popular black boxes) are the new rage and are becoming more and more available, with a huge choice the price is also dropping dramatically with competition, which is fantastic news for consumers. Everyone wants the best and highest quality but would also like the most valuable and smallest price, and gladly, this is very possible. Here, are the top three Streamer Media Players been purchased today!

No 3 Sony BDP-S570 3D Blu-ray Disc Player

The BDP-S570 is the new and improved model of the Sony BDP-S300 Blu Ray Disk player wi. The fast load system is excellent and much faster than the older 300s models. The set up is equally as simple and straight forward, and access to Netflix, Amazon Video on Demand, You Tube, etc. is at the click of a button.

The picture and sound is fantastic, and there are no lag times in watching anything, and the increased speed in the network allows true High Definition playbacks. Though this is a very popular streamer been purchased at the moment, at $150 I still believe there are better quality streamers available at a cheaper price.

No 2 Apple TV MC572LL/A

This is the system I personally own (so I will try not to be biased ha!) This is the latest from Apple (2010) and is an amazing compliment to your home theater. It has so many features, yet so simple to use, allowing you to stream whatever is on your iTunes to your TV and home theater system. It has built in support for Netflix, You Tube and a few other internet based media content providers and the picture quality is superb.

The menu is very simple – Movies, TV, Internet, Computer and the settings allows you to change the various Apple TV options. At under $100, the Apple TV is competitively priced with other streaming options.

No 1 Roku XD Streaming Player 1080p

Roku players are quite possibly the most bought streamers been purchased online and are one of Amazons top sellers. This little box allows you to instantly stream tons of entertainment on your TV, watch over 100,000 movies and TV shows from Netflix, Amazon Video On Demand, Hulu Plus and more.

The set up is extremely easy. You can listen to almost any radio station in the country free and watch YouTube clips on your big TV as well as send the sound to your stereo system. The Roku Remote is simple to use and it provides access to NetFlix suggested titles and search.

These are a nifty little box alright and at a price of $79.99 you can see why they are the most popular Streamers been purchased, so cheap and great value.

I hope this article can help you decide on a Streamer Player, but remember to do your research before purchasing, reading reviews may help but for every great review, there is always somebody who has has a bad experience.

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Television and Children – How TV Affects Your Child

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There is an ongoing debate about the effects of television on children. Some believe that TV has a lot to offer. It can educate, stimulate and entertain. If parents are discerning about what their child watches and how much they watch, there is nothing too harmful about TV. On the other hand, some experts say that any children under two should not watch any television. They feel that it hinders a child’s growth and development in many ways.

So before you sit your kids down in front of your huge plasma TV, have a think about what they are watching and how long they are watching.To get a look at both sides of the debate, lets break this discussion down in to the positive and negative effects of television on young viewers.

Positive:

  • Children can learn about numbers, letters, colours and shapes by watching quality educational programmes.
  • Children can learn about social interaction and manners on good quality dramatic and educational programmes.
  • For many parents of young children, a day at home is many hours to fill. Sometimes a familiar or appropriate movie or programme can provide a relaxing moment both child and parent.
  • Children enjoy the familiarity of a movie or show they have watched many times as much as they love to read the same book again and again.
  • Many movies and shows have a moral tale, and this can sometimes provide a helpful way for parents to introduce moral themes and ideas into their children’s lives.
  • Quite often a movie or show can provide the inspiration for games and creative play away from the TV. A child might enjoy re-enacting a favourite scene or character from a movie and carry on with this scene in their playtime.
  • TV and media is a way of life in this day and age. Children can benefit from being conditioned and familiarised with media concepts. It will help them participate in social and cultural events and discussions in their developing social and educational lives.

Negative:

  • Children under two can be negatively affected by television. It can stunt their social and mental development.
  • Too many hours in front of a TV can prevent children from interacting with their family and siblings.
  • Too much TV can become a problem for some children who engage in less physical activity because they prefer to watch TV.
  • Too much exposure to TV and screen media can make a child’s mind lazy in terms of using their imagination and brainpower in other areas of their lives.
  • When children watch TV they are being exposed to advertising. A lot of advertising is aimed specifically at young children. Ads target young ones and condition them to become loyal brand consumers as adults. Exposure to some ads could encourage poor eating habits and food choices.
  • Injudicious TV watching can expose children to bad habits such as smoking and drinking. It can expose them to violence and create a mindset of fear and aggression.
  • Watching TV can also instil in your children social stereotypes of race, gender and class.

With so many reasons for and against TV watching, it seems that the decision is best left up to the parent. A parent knows their own child and how best to manage their TV watching habits. Undoubtedly a discerning and vigilant attitude is essential when exposing young children to TV, so think twice before you sit you child in front of your beloved flat screen, HD TV.

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Booming: Television News Channels in India

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News programmes have suddenly become hot property and are vying for attention with other popular programmes telecast in different channels. All major television broadcasters are including at least one news channel to their bouquet. The biggest headache for launching a satellite channel is programme software for round the clock. In this juncture, newsgathering is a major task for the 24-hour news channels. To cater this task, the emerging electronic channels have always made an attempt to cover all the incidents irrespective of position, location and time. These channels not only revolutionized the concept of news on Indian television but also changed the news formats. Before 1990s, Doordarshan had monopolized newscast on Indian television and also turned the news programs into a dowdy exercise. Now the private channels made the news an essential commodity like food, cloth and shelter. The strong point of all today’s news bulletins is their topicality, objectivity, glossy editing and high-quality visuals. News has traveled a long way from the DD era. From Local events to International events, breaking news to news analysis, television soap to page3 news, every happening comes under purview of news. In this article, we have covered some significant changes in news broadcasting in India before and after the Gulf War.

Indian Television – Flash Back

Television in India is undergoing significant changes in the current liberalized environment. To understand these changes, one needs to have some brief idea of the road covered by the television channels so far. The journey started as an experimental basis with a financial grant from UNESCO in 15th September 1959. The makeshift studio at Akashvani Bhavan in New Delhi was chosen for location of the experiment. The experiment started with one-hour program, broadcast twice a week, on community health, citizen rights, education and traffic sense etc. As far as news is concerned, it was launched exactly six years after the inception of television broadcasting. Daily one-hour program with a news bulletin was served to the Indian viewers. But one major drawback of television was that you could not enjoy the original colour of the objects because of black and white transmission. First multi-color programme was the Prime Minister’s address to the nation from Red Fort in Delhi on India’s 35th Independence Day. In the same day, DD National channel was launched. The aim of launching the National channel is nurturing national integration, and inculcating a sense of pride in Indians. Indian viewers also enjoyed the colored version of the Asian Games hosted by New Delhi in their drawing room. The coverage of major events and different occasions lend a big hand behind the infiltration of television signals to the nook and corners of the subcontinent. Indian Government had taken all possible steps to expand the television broadcasting demographically and geographically. In 1983 television signals were available to just 28% of the population, this had doubled by the end of 1985 and by 1990 over 90% of the population had access to television signals. In 1984, DD Metro channel was added to provide an exclusive entertainment for the urban viewers. In the beginning, this channel was confined to metropolitan cities.

As a public broadcaster, Doordarshan presented the news in naturalized manner. All controversial issues were pushed under the carpet. The ruling government had a strong hold on the television broadcasting. Doordarshan news bulletins were unable to provide the international news to the national viewers. Objectivity had been the first casualty as news was invariably slanted to suit the party in power. The news was liberated from the confines of the DD newsroom and gained in objectivity and credibility when New Delhi Television (NDTV) produced ‘The World This Week’ in 1988. Everyone was waiting for the Friday night to watch ‘The World This Week’. This was the only India-based programme, which looked out at the rest of the world. The World This Week was the best current affairs programme on the international scenario and carried good stuff of news, which the regular DD news was failed to carry out. This program is ranked as one of the country’s finest and most popular television shows. In 1989, NDTV produces India’s first live televised coverage of the country’s general elections. The critical and commercial success of the coverage sets a new standard for Indian television. After the Gulf War the media panorama has changed forever.

Golf War – The Catalyst

Post-1990 satellite television in India has become transnational in nature. It coincided with the entry of multinational companies in the Indian markets under the Government policy of privatization. International satellite television was introduced in India by CNN through its coverage of the Gulf War in 1991. In August 1991, Richard Li launched Star Plus, the first satellite channel beamed the signal to Indian subcontinent. Subhash Chandra’s Zee TV appeared in October 1992. It is India’s first privately owned Hindi channel to cater the interest of Indian viewers. This ignition followed by Sony and a little later by domestic channels such as Eenadu, Asianet and Sun TV. Entertainment programs had begun to occupy center stage in the organization’s programming strategies and advertising had come to be main source of funding. Doordarshan’s earlier mandate to aid in the process of social and economic development had clearly been diluted. Doordarshan had faced a stiff competition in news and public affairs programming with international channels like BBC and CNN. Doordarshan planned to sell some slots for news programme under sponsored category. In February 1995, NDTV becomes the country’s first private producer of the national news ‘News Tonight’, which aired on the country’s government-owned Doordarshan set a new landmark for Indian television because of its on-the-spot reporting with pertinent visuals. In the same year, TV Today Network occupied a 20 minutes slot in DD Metro channel and aired a Hindi and current affairs programme ‘Aaj Tak’. This programme became popular for its comprehensive coverage and unique style presentation by Late S. P. Singh. Still we remembered the sign-up message “Ye Thi Khabar Aaj Tak, Intizar. Kijiye Kal Tak”. Large number of viewers across India had been watching Aaj Tak as a daily habit because of its innovative style of news presentation. Besides that Nalini Singh’s five-minute fast paced, condensed daily news capsule Ankhon Dekhi, TV Today Network’s Business Aaj Tak and Newstrack was aired on the Metro channel of Doordarshan. This is the period when satellite channels concentrated on entertainment programmes for their respective channels. Doordarshan was still ruled the most wanted area ‘news’.

Major Players

Doordarshan’s monopoly was broken in 1992, when private television channels infiltrated into the Indian boundaries and entertain the viewers as much as possible. In the beginning of 1990s, the private channels offered only entertainment programmes. The entertainment programs include family drama, comedy serials, children programmes, cartoons, movies, talk shows, recipe shows, musical concerts, non-fiction programmes etc. Private entertainment channels added some infortainment programmes to their Fixed Point Charts (FPC). Keeping the demand of infotainment programmes in mind, the media houses started to produce news magazines, entertainment magazines and news programmes for different channels. India’s premier business and consumer news broadcaster and a leading media content provider, Television Eighteen India Limited (TV18) started India’s first ever entertainment magazine ‘The India Show’ on Star Plus in 1993. This emerging media powerhouse provided prime time television content to almost all leading satellite channels in India including BBC, Star Plus, Sony Entertainment Television, Zee, MTV and Discovery. After The India Show, TV18 produced a weekly business news program India Business Report for BBC World. Indian viewers had very limited options (like public service broadcaster Doordarshan, BBC and CNN) for watching the television news. For televised news, the viewers had to watch Dordarshan and some international news channels like BBC or CNN. In this race to provide more news, more information, Zee Television jumped into the battlefield by launching the news channel Zee News in 1995. This News and current affairs channel revolutionized the way news was delivered to the viewers. Since its inception Zee News has endeavoured to be the fastest to provide news, working towards a single goal of Sabse Pahle (Always First). The other round-the-clock news channel, the Murdoch-owned Star TV beamed its exclusively 24-hour news channels, Star News in 1998. Star made a contract of five year with Prannoy Roy-owned NDTV (New Delhi Television Company) to provide news content for this news channel.

The untiring exhaustive coverage of the Kargil war between India and Pakistan gained more publicity and attracted more viewers towards the electronic channel. This televised conflict also sets a news benchmark for wartime journalism. During the Kargil war, common citizens witnessed how their brave Jawans fought despite in hostile conditions and watched the war front live by the exclusively news channels, Star-TV and Zee-News. The live coverage of the battlefield helped to create a euphoria of patriotism among the Indian masses, which later facilitated into collecting huge funds for the welfare of the families of Kargil martyrs. Every news programme draws the attention of large number of viewers but Kargil war attracts private broadcasters to invest more money in the broadcasting business by launching a news channel. In November 1999, TV18 entered into a 49:51 joint venture with CNBC Asia to launch CNBC India. TV18 is the sole program provider to CNBC India, and produces 12 hours of local content per day on this 24-hour satellite channel.

After the huge success of news programme ‘Aaj Tak’, TV Today group launched a 24-hour Hindi news channel with the same name ‘Aaj Tak’, in December 2000, which covers India with insight, courage and plenty of local flavour. Within 11 months of its launch, Aaj Tak emerged as India’s number one news channel and was awarded Best News Channel award from Indian Television Academy Awards. Some mega events apart from regular interesting items (such as Kandhahar hijack, September 11 attacks, Afghanistan war, attack on Parliament, Iraq war, Godhra carnage and riots) have driven up the viewership. As time passed, NDTV’s five years contract with Star group for outsourcing of news and related programming expired on March 2003. With the expiry NDTV forayed into broadcasting business by simultaneously launching two 24-hour news channels; NDTV 24X7 – English news channel and NDTV India – Hindi news channel, which targets the Indian diaspora across the world. News crazy Indians received more news at faster speed from different channels. Any unusual happening can be caught by the television camera anywhere form Rastrapati Bhawan to bedroom. The power of TV journalism was become more visible by the major sting operations like Operation West End and Shakti Kapoor Case. This style of investigative journalism has brought about a change in the way we look at news, amidst new notions of editorial freedom. The world’s largest family ‘Sahara India Parivar’ launched a 24-hour national Hindi news channel, Sahara Samay, in March 28, 2003. It is the first ever city-centric satellite news channels covering 31 cities in India with their own city news bulletins. Keeping the demand of news in mind, the Union cabinet approved the proposal to convert the DD Metro to DD news in a meeting held on 3 October 2003. Consequent to these decisions, DD-News channel was launched on 3 November 2003. You might have noticed that the news channels are language specific. But DD’s news channel contains the round the clock news bulletins in Hindi/ English are also telecast twice a day on the National Network of DD National.

‘Aap Ki Adalat’ fame Rajat Sharma, Sohaib Ilyasi, the man behind the highly successful ‘India’s Most Wanted’ and Taun Tejpal, editor-in-chief of Tehelka roped together and launched a free-to-air Hindi news and current affairs channel India TV on May 20, 2004. Indian viewers had more expectations from this channel. The much-awaited news channel hopes to set itself apart from the existing ones by setting new benchmarks of responsible journalism. Speaking on the occasion of the launch, Rajat Sharma, chairman, India TV, said, “We aim to change the way broadcast news reporting is being conducted in the country. India TV will set new benchmarks by maintaining international standards of responsible and credible news reporting. We will stay away from graphic depictions of violence and sensationalism of news. We will uphold the viewer’s right to correct information and their right to truth and verity. India TV is not just a news channel, it is a movement.” NDTV as a pioneer in Indian television news, set to create a fresh revolution in high-quality business news with the launch of NDTV Profit. NDTV launched this 24-hour business channel on January 17th, 2005.

There is no saturation point in launching of news channel, just booming like sky as the limit. Entertainment channel to infotainment channel, infotainment channel to news channel, news channels to business channel and Business channel to lots more. Now the satellite channels become more topicality with international standard. When we are talking about topicality, CNBC TV18, the only business channel, continues to be the medium of choice for India’s decision makers, affluent audiences across the country since 1999. It has set the pace for the growth in number of television channels by launching a 24-hour consumer channel in Hindi called ‘ Awaaz’. This news channel focusses on empowering consumers on decision-making related to investment, saving and spending. All the programmes are catering to consumers across different walks of life, which included personal finance; variety of markets including commodity, stocks, savings etc.; small businesses; education & career guidance; and verticals like health, shopping etc.

Another news channel was finally launched into the already cluttered news space in Indian television. Jagran TV Pvt Limited’s news channel, Channel 7 up-linked to the air on 27 March 2005. The channel has been set up to cater to the vast Hindi-speaking audiences, already being targeted by a slew of news channels. Channel 7 developed every programme with a bid to cater to all types of audiences and not just pre-dominantly male audiences who get attracted towards news channels.

Regional Leaders

To cater the interest among the Indians, Doordarshan televises programmes in Hindi and associate Official languages. It has launched a number of Regional Language Satellite Channels (DD – 4 to DD – 11 and DD – 13) and telecast programmes in Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Malayalam, Marathi, Kannada, Telugu, Kashmiri, Oriya and Tamil. The Regional channels relayed by all terrestrial transmitters in the state and additional programmes in the Regional Language in prime time and non-prime time available only through cable operators. The Doordarshan regional satellite channels telecast major news programme with some entertainment programmes.

If you think about the private regional channels, they have followed the path of the Big brother (i.e Doordarshan). They are neither completely entertainment channel nor exclusively news channel. They are following the middle path and claiming themselves an infotainment channels. The private channels televise through the state dominant languages. Rising advertising revenues and increasing numbers of viewers have provided the impetus for many big players to enter into the business. Some regional media leaders like ETV, Sun TV, Asianet have a strong grip over the regional market. Some major players tried their luck in different states. Zee television has three regional channels; Zee Marathi, Zee Punjabi and Zee Bangla. Star Network entered into Tamilnadu by launching Star Vijay, one of the most popular entertainment channels in India broadcasting in Tamil. Besides that ETV Network is a part of the well-established Ramoji Group, has created 12 dedicated infotainment regional channels. ETV network is the source of rich entertainment of eight different languages. Those are: Telugu, Bangla, Marathi, Kannada, Oriya, Gujarati, Urdu; and Hindi to viewers in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. Every ETV Network channel focuses exclusively on its audience’s unique cultural identity, its aspirations and its distinct socio-political character. Let us think about the south Indian language Telugu, there are around twelve satellite channels are roaming around the sky with different taste and different flavour. These channels include three news channels, one song-based channels and rest are infotainment channels. When we confine ourselves into news, three channels (ETV2, TV 9 and Teja News) exclusively devoted to news programmes.

Sahara India Pariwar is proud to have five news channels as the bouquet of Sahara Samay. These channels are: Sahara Samay NCR, Sahara Samay Mumbai, Sahara Samay Bihar & Jharkhand, Sahara Samay Madhya Pradesh & Chattisgarh, and Sahara Samay Uttar Pradesh & Uttranchal. Sahara Samay has already managed to gain a loyal audience in India through a bouquet of National & Regional News Channels since its launch. These channels are youthful and vibrant channels targeting students and women, besides that hardcore news stuff. The regional news channels covers the entire spectrum of genre with specific programs on lifestyle, fashion, food, shopping, health and fitness, sports, education, career and city issues, besides giving user-friendly information on traffic updates, city events, train and air timings, etc. Now national news channels cannot confine its boundary to national level. They cannot ignore the regional news because of the stiff competition form the regional cannels. Regional news channels are entering into the competition with a strong will power and also with an aim to portrait regional issues in national and international level.

Conclusion

Now the television industry becomes more specific. In this competitive market, channels are targeting specific viewers. News channels attract more viewers beyond their target by producing interactive and interesting programmes. Every channel needs to do an extensive research on different concepts and different themes to attract more viewers and in the same time more advertisers. After all, advertisements are the bread and butter for the channels. With increased consumer preference for news programmes, television news channels have grown faster than other niche channels. News channels are booming just like sky as the limit. Those days are not far away, when we will get satellite news channel for every major city in India. Staying in abroad, we can update ourselves about all the happening of our hometown. Now news is not restricted to political happenings. It will be extended its limit to every unwanted and hided corners of the society. At last we can reach in the conclusion that anything, which is strange or disgusting, is news. There are no rigid rules, which defines news.

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