Television The TV technology was invented towards the end of 1920s. Arthur C Clerk played a significant role in promoting its development. He said it as early as 1945 that by placing three satellites over three oceans it would be possible to bring any part of the world on to the TV screen. so it is said that the world turns into a 'Global Village'. Marshall Mcluhan, an American media specialist disclosed the theory of Global Village in 1960s.
Regular transmission of TV programmes began immediately after the Second World War. TV appeared in this subcontinent two decades later. The first TV transmission in the then East Pakistan began experimentally on 25 December 1964 with the help of a 300-watt transmitter from the DIT (now rajuk) building in Dhaka as a pilot project in private sector. The daily broadcast for three hours in the evening used to cover a radius of 16 km. The government of Pakistan took over Dhaka Television as a station of Pakistan Television Corporation. In view of its importance as a vehicle for helping reconstruction of the war-torn country, the autonomous Television Corporation was nationalised in 1972 and made a government department named as Bangladesh Television (BTV). On 6 March 1975, the TV centre moved to its own spacious house at Rampura. The limited range of its transmission gradually improved with the installation of 12 satellite transmitters around the country and spread of electrification at the viewer level. Now over 95% of the country is covered by transmission. Its Chittagong station has already started independent programmes while the other stations relay Dhaka programmes. The relay stations are located at Sylhet, Mymensingh, Brahmanbaria, Rangpur, Natore, Thakurgaon, Jhenaidah, Khulna, Satkhira, Patuakhali and Noakhali. The Dhaka station has a 20-kw transmitter while the other stations except Satkhira are equipped with 10 kw transmitters. Satkhira has a 2-kw transmitter.
In 1980, Bangladesh Television started transmission in colour and a new milestone was reached in 1999 when a major modernisation programme was completed. At present, 1,520 officers and staff are engaged in eight departments, 204 in programme, 32 in news, 132 in camera, 116 in design, 540 in administration, 95 in accounts and 23 in sales. As part of its programme for expansion of transmission, BTV is establishing other four satellite stations at Rajshahi, Rajbari, Rangamati and Ukhia.
There is no recent survey to know the exact number of TV receiver sets being used in the country. The licensed sets number about 600,000 but unofficially, the number is estimated to be about two million. This shows that an average of 65 persons of the country have one TV set. Most sets are owned by the urban families leaving a vast majority of the rural people out of coverage.
The government took a number of steps to globalise BTV's transmissions. A project funded by the Spanish government was undertaken to make BTV's programmes available to the overseas viewers. With the help of the ground stations at Betbunia and Talibabad, BTV can report any event happening anywhere in the world. Under arrangements with Asia-Pacific Broadcasting union (ABU), SAARC Audio-visual programme and other international organisations including Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development (AIBD) and Commonwealth Broadcasting Association (CBA). BTV regularly exchanges coverage on news and programmes. BTV world, a satellite based channel, owned by the government has been airing signal worldwide. The government also approved private TV channels to operate transmission for viewers of both home and abroad. Many private channels including ATN Bangla, Channel-9, NTV, Ekushey TV, RTV, Desh TV, Diganta TV, Mohna, Banglavision, ATN News, Somoy, Independent, Machranga, Baishakhai, Ekattor, GTV and Channel-24 are catering news, entertainment, education, motivational and religious programmes round the clock. Special programmes making the important national and international days are also put on air. More such channels are expected to come in the near future. BTV transmits private sector package programmes to bring about variety in its programme pattern. [M Saifullah]