The technology to do this has existed for quite a while and is improving every day.
As a member in good standing of the baby-boomer generation I grew up with the beginnings of television. Radio and movies were starting to be replaced by this new medium. Families instead of gathering around the big console radio were now gathering around this big console with a tiny screen. The picture was usually small, snowy and flipped around sometimes but it was a picture all the same. At first some stations did not start broadcasting until afternoon since that was when the network feeds began and these stations did not have any other programming.
Show like Milton Berle, Your Show of Shows with Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca, Phil Silvers, Ozzie and Harriot. Westerns and variety and game shows and drama and science fiction and family sitcoms that were totally non-dysfunctional - like how realistic is that. Some of the first educational TV shows like Ding Dong School and Watch Mr. Wizard - my favorite of course.
Until the advent of television and even sometime after if you wanted to actually see the news you had to go to the movies. And even the movies themselves were being broadcast on television. The special effects - and some were quire good - we pretty obviously special effects. You could tell easily that there was no way anyone could actually do any of those things. If Superman ever flown as fast as he was supposed to be flying, his cape would have been ripped right off of his body - along with most of his clothes. And the westerns were just as bad. It was entertainment and an escape from the problems of the day.
As an aside the one industry that did very well during the Great Depression was the entertainment industry. Especially the movies. People wanted and needed to have an escape from the conditions of the time. So much so the my grandfather, who worked to Western Electric Sound, was sent to Australia and New Zealand to install sound systems in their silent movie theaters.
The industry evolved along with the technology and it's ability to create bigger and better and more realistic images on the large screen as well as small improved at a very rapid pace. Especially with the advances in computer technology. To the point where being able to tell what was real and what was staged became more and more difficult to do. And now we can have the large screen right in our living rooms.
With thousands of digitally clear and detailed channels to choose from, movies with unbelievable effects, video games and reality TV. Reality TV ??!! I always thought those terms where a contradiction.
An interesting side note. Our time in front the the screen is at an all time high. Yet the incidence of obesity has also increased. I connection maybe. Add to that computers, the internet and DVD as well as the good old movie house and we have escapism run wild.
With it becoming more and more difficult to determine what is real and what is not in what you are watching, is it any wonder that there are some many people who believe every word uttered by TVs talking heads is the unvarnished truth ? What happens when somebody decides that to improve viewership of those Reality Based they need only add some unreality ? What happens when politicians figure this out ?
schizo·phre·nia : Any of a group of psychotic disorders usually characterized by withdrawal from reality, illogical patterns of thinking, delusions, and hallucinations, and accompanied in varying degrees by other emotional, behavioral, or intellectual disturbances.
Cross posted at dagblog.