Television, also called TV, is one of our most important means of communication. It brings moving pictures and sounds from around the world into millions of homes. The name «Television» comes from Greek word meaning «far», and a Latin word meaning «to see», so the word «tele vision» means «to see far».
About three-fourths of the 1 500 TV stations in the US are commercial stations. They sell advertising time to pay for their operating costs and to make profit. The rest are public stations, which are nonprofit organizations.
Commercial TV stations broadcast mostly entertainment programs because they must attract larger numbers of viewers in order to sell advertising time at high prices. These programs include light dramas called situation comedies; ac- tion-packed dramas about life of detectives, police officers, lawyers and doctors; shows featuring comedians, dancers and singers; movies; quiz shows; soap operas; cartoons.
Commercial TV broadcasts also documentaries and talk shows. Documentary is dramatic, but nonfictional presentation of information. It can be programs about people, animals in faraway places or programs on such issues as alcoholism, drug abuse, racial prejudice. On talk shows a host interviews politicians, TV and movie stars, athletes, authors. There are also sport programs and brief summaries of local, national and international news. Advertising is an important part of commercial TV. Commercials appear between and during most programs. They urge viewers to buy different kinds of products — from dog food to hair spray, and from cars to insurance policies.
Public television focuses mainly on education and culture. There are programs on wide range of subjects — from physics and literature to cooking and yoga. Public TV also broadcasts plays, ballets, symphonies as well as programs about art and history. Public TV attracts less viewer than commercial TV.
1. What does the word television mean?
2. What kind of stations are there in the US?
3. Why do commercial stations broadcast mostly entertainment programs?
4. What programs are broadcasted on commercial TV?
5. What programs does public TV broadcast?
6. Which kind of TV — commercial or public — attracts more viewers?