World Television Day celebrates an integral part of modern life

Unsplash/Gustavo Ferreira Young men in Volta Redonda, Brazil, watch a soccer match on TV.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


Seven decades of United Nations’ work in developing new standards and systems for broadcasting are being celebrated on Thursday, World Television Day, an annual observance that recognizes the medium’s role as a major source of information, education and entertainment.

“Television plays a crucial role in connecting the world to information and knowledge while providing an unsurpassed channel for mass entertainment”, said Houlin Zhao, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

“World TV Day brings attention to ITU’s exemplary work in producing the standards that are driving future trends in broadcasting and Internet services that will bring an increasingly immersive experience to viewers around the world.”

The ITU is the UN’s specialized agency for information and communications. It was founded more than 150 years ago and initially promoted cooperation among international telegraph networks.

This month, the ITU has been leading discussions on how the roll out of 5G services could lead to greater media content delivery using both broadcasting and non-broadcasting platforms.

“I think the future of television is essentially about cooperative technologies”, said David Wood of the European Broadcasting Union, an ITU partner.

“Using the tools of IT (information technology) and higher quality to provide a better experience. It’s still telling a story, it’s still the same thing as we have, except, of course, there is a greater degree of involvement by the viewer in the end result. Particularly in things like interactivity.”

TV has become an integral part of life, accounting for 80 per cent of all consumer Internet traffic, according to the ITU.

The agency first released technical standards for television in 1949.  Since then, it has developed globally harmonized norms and systems that have enhanced the television viewing experience.

For example, the ITU championed the switch to digital TV broadcasting and High Definition Television (HDTV), which brought benefits that include better picture quality, more services and improved coverage.

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