A screenshot of a web page. The computers to store, transmit, and display the web page are electronic media. The web page is an electronic medium.
Graphical representations of electrical audio data. Electronic media uses either analog (red) or digital (blue) signal processing.

Electronic media are media that use electronics or electromechanical means for the audience to access the content.[1] This is in contrast to static media (mainly print media), which today are most often created digitally, but do not require electronics to be accessed by the end user in the printed form. The primary electronic media sources familiar to the general public are video recordings, audio recordings, multimedia presentations, slide presentations, CD-ROM and online content. Most new media are in the form of digital media. However, electronic media may be in either analogue electronics data or digital electronic data format.

Although the term is usually associated with content recorded on a storage medium, recordings are not required for live broadcasting and online networking.

Any equipment used in the electronic communication process (e.g. television, radio, telephone, game console, handheld device) may also be considered electronic media.

History of Development


Wire and transmission lines emerged as communication tools, starting with the telegraph in the late 18th century. Samuel Morse invented the telegraph in 1832, introducing wires to transmit electrical signals over long distances. In 1844, the first successful telegraph line was established in the United States, and in the 1850s, telegraph cables were laid across the Atlantic connecting North America and Europe.[2] At the same time the telegraph was becoming mainstream, the need to transmit images over wire emerged. The first commercially successful fax machine was developed by Elisha Gray in 1861, allowing printed images to be transmitted over a wire.[3]

The telephone was another breakthrough in electronic communication, allowing people to communicate using voice rather than written messages. Alexander Graham Bell pioneered the first successful telephone transmission in 1876, and by the 1890s, telephone lines were being laid worldwide.[4] Since all these significant breakthroughs relied on transmission lines for communication, a minor improvement was made by the English engineer Oliver Heaviside who patented the coaxial cable in 1880.[5] The coaxial cable allowed for greater bandwidth and longer transmission distances.

Significant improvements in the mode of transmission were made in the last seventy years with the introduction of fiber optics, wireless transmission, satellite transmission, Free Space Optics, and the internet. Fiber optics was first developed in the 1950s but became commercially viable in the 1970s. On the other hand, wireless communication made a major improvement in the transmission mode, doing away with wires and introducing electromagnetic waves. Guglielmo Marconi invented the radio transmission in 1897, and by the 1900s, radio transmission had become a mainstream source of news, entertainment, and military communication.[6] Satellite communication allowed data to be transmitted over much longer distances than possible. The United States pioneered satellite communication in 1958 when it first launched Explorer 1.[7]

Free Space Optics (FSO), which uses lasers to transmit data through the air, was first developed in the 1960s. However, it was only in the 1990s that the technology advanced enough to become commercially viable.[8] The internet, on the other hand, emerged in the second half of the last century. In the 1960s, the first protocols for transferring files were developed, making it possible to transfer files between computers. In 1989, Tim Berners Lee created the World Wide Web, making it much easier to share information through hyperlinks. In 1996, the Real-Time Transport Protocol (RTP) was introduced, allowing for live audio and video streaming over the internet. RTP was a breakthrough in online entertainment, allowing real-time events to be broadcast live to audiences worldwide.

Display and output

The history of display and output technology is long and fascinating, beginning in the early 19th century with the development of the galvanometer, which was used to detect and measure small electrical currents. In 1844, the telegraph sounder was developed, which used an electromagnet to produce a clicking sound that corresponded to the transmission of electrical signals over a telegraph line.[9] It was followed by the telephone receiver, which used a diaphragm to convert electrical signals into sound. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the first forms of artificial light were developed, including red light and neon. These were used in various applications, including lighting for displays and signs.

In 1910, the teleprinter was invented, which allowed for the transmission of text messages over a wire. It was followed by the development of the cathode-ray tube (CRT) by William Crookes, but it became widely available by the 1920s. The CRT was used for early television and computer displays.[10] The radio and television tuner was also developed in the early 20th century, allowing people to receive and tune in to broadcast signals. The speaker and headphones were invented in the late 1800s and early 1900s and were used for listening to audio signals from radios, phonographs, and, later, electronic devices.

In the 1950s and 1960s, LED and LCDs were developed, allowing for the production of more compact and efficient displays for various applications such as lighting and television monitors.[11] In the 1970s, laser light shows were introduced, which used lasers to produce dramatic visual effects for concerts and other events. The first computer monitor was developed in the 1950s, and the first commercial PC monitor was introduced in 1976. Large electronic displays were introduced in 1985, allowing for the production of large-scale displays for use in stadiums, arenas, and other public spaces. HDTV was first proposed as a term in 1936, but it was in the 1990s that standards were established for producing and broadcasting high-definition television signals.[10] The head-mounted display (HMD) was introduced in 1968 and continues to be developed and improved to this day, allowing for immersive virtual reality experiences and other applications.

Electric signal processing

The history of electrical signal processing is closely tied to the development of electronic communications technology, beginning in the mid-18th century with the invention of the capacitor, which allowed for the capture and storage of electrical charges. In the 1830s, analog encoding methods, such as Morse code, were developed, allowing for transmitting information over long distances using electrical signals.[2] Electronic modulation was developed between 1832 and 1927 and was a crucial development in the history of telecommunications.

Electronic multiplexing, which allowed for the transmission of multiple signals over a single channel, was first developed in 1853 using a technique called time-division multiplexing (TDM).[12] Digitizing, or converting analog signals into digital form, was first developed in 1903 with the invention of pulse-code modulation (PCM) for telephone communications.[13] Electronic encryption, which allowed for the secure transmission of information over electronic channels, was developed between 1935 and 1945 and played a crucial role in developing electronic communications during World War II. Online routing, or the ability to direct electronic signals to specific destinations, was first developed in 1969 with the creation of the ARPANET, a precursor to the modern internet.[14] Electronic programming, or the ability to use electronic signals to control and automate processes, has been developed since the 1940s and continues to be an important area of research and development in electrical signal processing.

Electronic information storage

The history of electronic information storage dates back to the 18th century, with the invention of punched cards and paper tape in 1725 and 1846, respectively. Early forms of electronic storage were used to store simple text and numerical data.[15] In the late 19th century, the invention of the phonograph cylinder and disk in 1857 and 1877, respectively, allowed for the recording and storage of audio data. In 1876, the invention of film allowed for the recording and storing of moving images.[15]

In 1941, the invention of random-access memory (RAM) allowed for storing and retrieving digital data at high speeds and is still in use today.[15] Barcodes were first invented in 1952 for use in grocery stores. The Universal Product Code (UPC) was standardized in 1973, allowing for storing and retrieving product information in a digital format.[16]

In 1969, the invention of laser discs allowed for the storage and playback of high-quality video and audio data, but the format was short-lived, with its commercial life ending in 1978. Compact discs (CDs) were invented in 1982 and quickly became a popular medium for storing and playing back digital audio data.[15] DVDs were introduced in 1993, offering higher storage capacity and the ability to store video data.

Content formats

Content or media refers to the different types of digital information that can be stored, transmitted, and consumed through electronic devices. The history of content formats dates back to the late 19th century when the first audio recording was created.


Interactivity refers to the ability of electronic media to respond to user input, allowing for a more immersive and engaging experience. The history of interactivity can be traced back to the development of input devices such as the control panel.

Electronic Media Breakdown


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Further reading