TELEVISION 1 Essay Example

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Television and Screen Assemblages

What is television?

A television set is an electronic system used for transmitting images in colour or black and white. Since it was invented in the early 20th century, the television has undergone many changes in its composition. These changes have transformed the television from a closed system where viewers tuned into to watch a program, to an open system that usually produces TV connections and configurations (Rizzo, 2015). This essay seeks to explore how the TV has been transformed into a multiplatform medium that offers quality public content on some devices and sites, which allows new forms of engagement based on rhizomatic assemblage (Goddard, 2011). A rhizomatic assemblage is a stable formation that is comprised of heterogeneous components, which may include human and non-human elements (Reeves, 2013). This type of assemblage forms connections with disparate and new connections that allow it to introduce new capacities and qualities from the other assemblage (Reeves, 2013).

The concept of assemblages allows the exploration of how the TV devices, media and texts have been modified and reconfigured to enable it to have improved capacities and functionalities (Fuller, 2015). Long gone are the days when viewers had to sit in front of a TV at a particular time so that they could watch their favourite TV program. Nowadays, viewers have some devices and platforms that they can use to watch their favourite shows at their convenience. Since the early 2000s, the TV transmissions, which were previously transmitted through analogue means, started being changed to digital transmissions across the world (Fuller, 2015). Various forms of digital television have emerged; for example, IPTV and Internet TV, which provides better ways of accessing programs.

Broadcast Television Assemblages

The television, which is an important medium of communication, has undergone changes that have enabled it to improve its functionalities and quality as illustrated in this essay. Broadcast television is a highly stratified assemblage of media that offers viewers very limited opportunity to participate in the text they get from the TV. With broadcast TV, the audience depended on a large broadcasting network, such as the BBC, and the viewers were confined to a specific schedule and possibly within the sitting room. The broadcast economy was characterised by a long-established broadcast ideal characterised by content scarcity and access barriers as well as cost that restricted the number of media companies that could create, manage, and distribute content (Hutchins & Rowe, 2009). However, the position of broadcasting is severely threatened by emerging technologies (Hutchins & Rowe, 2009). While broadcast still does command reasonable viewership when it comes to live events such as the Olympics, the audience is starting to dwindle as such big shows become less available.


The emergence of the internet and the World Wide Web brought with it the advent of rhizomatic assemblage based on Foxtel Go-From Anytime to Anywhere. Stauff (2016) remarks that the television has remained resilient in the modern media landscape and has become an object of consideration in an encrusted assemblage of platforms and devices. Foxtel Go is a television application that allows the viewers to watch TV through various devices. It has over 60 live channels and viewers can watch shows and TV programs. Foxtel offers an excellent example of television assemblages because it has different functions, for example, its ability to programme a recording schedule using the Foxtel Personal Digital Recorder (PDR) on a computer, tablet or even on a smartphone. Also, Foxtel is a multichannel platform, which offers a larger choice and range of programmes as compared to network channels. Foxtel also gives the user ability to enable parental control. Go and other apps offer new lines of connection that change television culture by deterritorializing, appointment viewing, mass viewing as well as TV viewing (Goggin, 2009).

According to Rizzo (2015), Foxtel and other similar apps have introduced new viewing practices such as co-participation and customisation. Goggin (209) also notes that they have disrupted broadcast viewing such as mass audiences and appointment viewing. Go is a good example of rhizomatic television assemblages because it incorporates various functions that were done by different devices such as a TV set, PDR, a remote control as well as a set-top box. Rizzo (2015), further argues that by doing so, Go brings new elements into the assemblage that deterritorializes various connections that are important to the broadcast television. By Foxtel taking over the functions of the other devices such as the remote control, it dissembles and reconfigures the vital actors and even introduce new ones. Go also modifies some actors in the television culture so that they can be able to perform new functions.

People no longer need a TV set to watch live television, they just need a tablet or a phone or a computer. Rizzo (2015), views Go as a proxy of a television or a Personal Digital Recorder. According to Keightley and Reading (2014), mobility is vital to changing nature and the incorporation of media technologies to everyday life. Go’s mobility is exhibited by the new sets of relations between it and its viewers as well as with technologies such as tablets. Another importance of Go as highlighted by Rizzo (2015), is that it works together with Foxtel IQ in customising and personalising watching preferences. Foxtel IQ with its Integrated Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) has made it very easy for viewers to not only record a program but also to create a personal playlist from the many programs he might have previously recorded (Rizzo, 2007). It further enables the user to set up a recording schedule remotely on the Foxtel IQ using the phone or a tablet thus giving the viewers control. This clearly shows that the introduction of PDR’s such as Foxtel IQ the shifting of the television culture from a temporal to a spatial mode of viewing.

Unlike temporal mode of viewing, which requires the viewers to watch TV at a particular time, the spatial mode uses a search and retrieve logic that makes it easy for viewers to tune in at their convenience. However, it is imperative to note that the use of Go could also cause some adverse effects such reduce the time that the family spends together since the members may watch programs that they previously watched together on Go. Latour (2005) argues that the processes of reshuffling mainly brought about by the introduction of small entities like Foxtel Go show that the systems appear to order the social media are temporary and that they are open to changes. He further argues that once the changes occur, the public must also reshuffle their previous conceptions since they have become irrelevant.

Second Screen Viewing

Second-screen viewing is another assemblage that is unbundling the concept of TV from the medium on which it is delivered to that on which it is watched. According to Rizzo (2015), multiplatform TV, unlike broadcast TV, is considered as a rhizomatic assemblage because it does not contain any centre and therefore cannot be considered as a whole. It consists of different services, media sites, and devices that viewers use to access their favourite shows at any time they want. Rizzo (2015) further argues that since viewers become producers and programmers on some platforms, then, they participate in the assembling and reassembling processes of the television, its culture and in social orderings. Stauff (2016) adds that indeed, various television practices have incorporated several mobile devices bringing to age second screen assemblages. Here, various media is organised through collecting, modifying, and merging the specific forms of interest typifying different forms of content or different devices.

According to Goggin (2009), assembling media culture refers to the ways in which mobile communication forms the reconfiguration of the relationship between the media user and genre. The concept of assemblages considers how television can be reterritorialized and deterritorialized so that it can introduce new qualities and functionalities (Goddard, 2011). Rhizomatic television assemblages can be explained further by use of examples; such as mobile television, Foxtel Go, and Minecraft Letsplay channel Stampy. According to Rizzo (2015), these examples offer a tangible way of exploring the importance of the concept assemblages to the multiplatform digital TV.


Television as a digital medium has become a technological, hybrid cultural, and non-site-specific form that spreads across platforms such as games consoles, iPods, mobile phones, and online video services such as the BBC’s iPlayer, Hulu and YouTube. This rhizomatic assemblage based on LetsPlay as Hybrid TV the development of convergence in television. Letsplay channels are important in the understanding of the emerging televisual social formations since they challenge established broadcast aesthetics and standards. Rizzo (2015) argues that channels like Letsplay show that digital technology has increased the forms of television and has influenced the rate of change. These channels are involved in the reshuffling of the agency since new connections form between online culture and games culture and reveal a new assemblage around a child. Rizzo further argues that children viewing practices are imperative since they have not been exposed to TV before the digital era.

Mittell (2011), a TV theorist, argues that when a child asks what show is on, he does not want to know what the schedule is but rather what is on TiVo’s menu. Today’s children are unfamiliar with mass audiences and broadcast model of TV; thus, by involving them, Letsplay reorders the production of the social away from the broadcast method thus, bringing in new reconfigurations. According to Rizzo (2015), letsplay channels are neither fully television nor fully games, but they are a hybrid assemblage that gets qualities from both. The emergence of digital technology has enabled new links to form which allows TV assemblages to form new ways of production and engagements (Fuller, 2015). These channels help to reinvent the TV aesthetics by establishing connections with video games and YouTube as well as other entities.

Go makes the spatial mode even more convenient by extending the search and retrieve service to other interactive devices. Unlike the fixed ideas of a TV schedule mainly prepared by the scheduling department of a TV channel aimed at enticing viewers, Go is characterised by multiple possibilities that may or may not be exact schedules. Go has offered viewers a wide range of programs to choose from, mainly organised in menus or playlists. This, therefore, shows that Go has removed scheduling and programming, which are relevant in the industry, and reconfigured it into some arrangement (Rizzo, 2015). He further argues that Go acts as an agent that allows new viewing behaviour mainly by forming connections between some parts of the assemblage like industries and viewers. This argument shows that the viewers have much control over when, what and where to watch their favourite TV shows.


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