Watching the past and the future

Published November 14, 2018, 12:05 AM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza & Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat



When I was a kid, I remember peeping through the jalousie window of one of our neighbors so I could watch television. It was still black and white back then and the transmission was blurry at best. I had to squint to be able to see the movie we were watching. I love watching comedy shows and films. They lighten the mood and allow you an escape for just a couple of hours.

Today, television technology has come a long way. Seventy-inch, ultra-high-definition TVs allow you to see the pictures so vividly you’d think you can touch it. You can see the sweat on the foreheads of people even their facial hair. I remember during the heyday of black and white TV, whenever we watched a basketball game, sa itim o puti lang kami.

Look at an appliance store today and see the variety of TV sets you can choose from—LCD, LED, OLED, QLED, and all sorts of acronyms I cannot decipher. There’s flat TV and curved TV. It was much simpler back then—colored or black and white?

There was a time when owning a television set was a reflection of social status. The rich ones had the best TVs—those big sets with wooden doors which you opened in order to watch. Today, everyone has at least one TV set. Even in poor communities, you would see most houses with TVs.

The television has been an important part of our lives. Families and friends gather around it to share moments together and create memories. When we have our annual family holiday visit to the US, there are nights when we would just gather around the TV and watch a feel-good comedy or romcom.

In the past, families would stay at home and rent Betamax, VHS, VCD, DVD tapes, and Blu-Ray discs. Today, you have smart TVs and streaming services that allow you to watch movies and TV shows anytime you like—Netflix, HBO, Amazon, Iflix, Fox+, and the like.

While we do develop our values from our parents, school, and church, what we watch on TV has played an important role in shaping the minds of generations of Filipinos. We learn a lot from watching TV and, unfortunately, some are good, some are bad, which is why parents play a role not just in managing what kids watch but by being prepared to answer questions from the impressionable minds of children.

It’s very similar to our situation today. I have noticed that young children may not be glued to the TV all the time but they are fixated on their tablets and smart phones watching YouTube and others. In these similar cases, parents need to be proactive in guiding their toddlers because there are many contents in the Internet that may not be suitable to the young.

It’s amazing how a piece of household appliance can exert so much influence on the way we think and behave. It is a powerful medium allowing people to communicate and influence.

In particular, the coming 2019 electoral campaign will usher in tons of political advertisement. The television is one of the most effective ways for a candidate to communicate his or her vision to the people and for voters to get to know the candidates.

Technological change is like water. At times it sits still, then something will make it flow slowly at first. But there are times when it comes rushing like a waterfall. While we reminisce about the past, let us embrace the present and be excited about the future.

So, what are we watching tonight?