26 Facts About American television


Free-to-air and subscription American television networks are not required to file for a license to operate.

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Over-the-air and free-to-air American television do not necessitate any monthly payments, while cable, direct broadcast satellite, IPTV and virtual MVPD services require monthly payments that vary depending on the number of channels that a subscriber chooses to pay for in a particular package.

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Arrangements in which American television stations carried more than one network on its main signal were more common between the 1940s and the 1960s, although some arrangements continued as late as 2010.

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However unlike in other countries, to ensure local presences in American television broadcasting, federal law restricts the amount of network programming that local stations can run.

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Four major US broadcast television networks are the National Broadcasting Company, CBS, the American Broadcasting Company, and the Fox Broadcasting Company.

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Francophone areas near the eastern portion of the Canada–United States border generally receive American television broadcasts presented in the language from French Canadian networks, which are widely available over-the-air but rarely on cable in those areas.

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Public American television has a far smaller role in the United States than in most other countries.

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Today, most American households receive cable television, and cable networks collectively have greater viewership than broadcast networks, even though individual programs on most of the major commercial broadcast networks often have relatively higher viewership than those seen on cable channels.

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Internet American television, known as web American television, began in the 1990s and has become popular in the 2000s onward, resulting in a trend of cord-cutting – the canceling of cable subscriptions in favor of online content that consumers supplement with either over-the-air broadcasts, DVD rentals or a combination of all three viewing methods.

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Mobile American television services include mobile apps for both traditional and new programming providers, usually optimized for a small screen and mobile bandwidth constraints.

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Devices that require a PC and American television include Windows Media Center Extender, HP MediaSmart Connect, Boxee and Hauppauge MediaMVP.

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American television has had very successful programs that have inspired television networks across the world to develop shows of similar types.

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Conversely, many programs produced for US television are routinely syndicated to broadcasters in other countries, and a number of popular American programs have been based on shows that originated in other countries, especially the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Canada.

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Reality American television has long existed in the United States, both played for laughs and as drama.

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The Joy of Painting, which during the lifetime of host Bob Ross was seen on public American television, exploded in popularity several years after Ross died as younger viewers came to appreciate Ross's kind and quiet style of teaching oil painting, prompting his estate to reintroduce the show by way of various online media.

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American television pays the NFL billions of dollars each year to maintain their television rights; the Super Bowl, in return, is a cash windfall for the network which airs it as the broadcaster which holds the rights in a given year can make hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue from advertising sales alone.

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European American television series started to be shown in the country, mainly after the rise of streaming services, with Netflix being the main exhibitor of such programs in the United States.

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Once a American television series reaches a threshold of approximately 88 to 100 episodes, it becomes a candidate to enter reruns in off-network syndication.

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Half of all US households had American television sets by 1955, though color was a premium feature for many years.

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Many of the earliest American television programs were modified versions of well-established radio shows.

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Game shows were a major part of the early part of American television, aided by massive prizes unheard of in the radio era; however, the pressure to keep the programs entertaining led to the quiz show scandals, in which it was revealed many of the popular high-stakes games were rigged or outright scripted.

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Quality of American television underwent a marked decline in the late 1950s and early 1960s as anthology series disappeared from the network schedules in favor of an oversaturation of westerns, rural and fantasy sitcoms, cheaply animated cartoons and often-violent action-adventure series.

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Subscription American television networks emerged in the late 1970s, first as over-the-air encrypted enterprises such as OnTV and SelecTV.

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Subscription American television largely migrated to cable American television through the early 1980s, as providers began to offer dedicated channels alongside local and out-of-market broadcast stations and cable service gradually expanded to more metropolitan areas.

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Analog American television receive-only had a brief uptick in popularity during the mid-1980s, but never achieved competitive parity with cable providers of the time.

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Direct-broadcast satellite American television experienced its breakout in the mid-1990s, with the emergence of digital transmission; it has been growing in significance since then – spurring the emergence of multinational conglomerates such as Fox.

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