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Understanding New Media

Extending Marshall McLuhan – Second Edition


Robert K. Logan

Marshall McLuhan made many predictions in his seminal 1964 publication, Understanding Media: Extensions of Man. Among them were his predictions that the Internet would become a «global village,» making us more interconnected than television; the closing of the gap between consumers and producers; the elimination of space and time as barriers to communication; and the melting of national borders. He is also famously remembered for coining the expression «the medium is the message.» These predictions form the genesis of this updated volume by Robert K. Logan, a friend and colleague who worked with McLuhan. In this second edition of Understanding New Media Logan expertly updates McLuhan’s Understanding Media to analyze the «new media» McLuhan foreshadowed and yet was never able to analyze or experience. The book is designed to reach a new generation of readers as well as appealing to scholars and students who are familiar with Understanding Media.
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Chapter 31. Television


← 254 | 255 →

· 31 ·


Content and extension: Television extends the eye and the ear but also touch, according to McLuhan. The content of television is always some other medium, video clips, studio commentary, a play, a movie, a sporting event, a political event, or a ceremony.

Cascade: The cascade is from the content to the TV transmitter to the receiver to the eye and ear of the viewer.

LOM: Television enhances mosaic imagery at a distance, obsolesces radio and the movies, retrieves events, performances, or movies from afar, and reverses into somnolesence.

31.1  Videotape and Television Production

There have been a number of impacts of the “new media” on television, which we will review in this chapter. We begin with the impact of videotape on television production and then in later sections the impact of “new media” on television viewing. At first, television was a live medium in which the action that was broadcast was in real time and was totally spontaneous. All of that ← 255 | 256 → changed with the introduction of videotape in 1956. The first use of videotape was to record a live television production in New York City and then fly the tape to the West Coast, where it was rebroadcast. Back in those days it was not possible to broadcast live from coast to coast. Jonathan Winters used the technology to play the role of two different characters dialoging with each other...

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