Saturday, August 1, 2009
A television network is a distribution network for television content whereby a central operation provides programming for many television stations. Until the mid-1980s, television programming in most countries of the world was dominated by a small number of broadcast networks. Many early television networks (e.g. the BBC, NBC or CBS) evolved from earlier radio networks. In countries where most networks broadcast identical, centrally originated content to all their stations and where most individual transmitters therefore operate only as large "repeater stations", the terms television network, television channel and television station have become interchangeable in everyday language, with only professionals in TV-related occupations continuing to make a difference between them. Within the industry, a tiering is sometimes created among groups of networks based on whether their programming is simultaneously originated from a central point, and whether the network master control has the technical and administrative capability to take over the programming of their affiliates in real-time when it deems this necessary—the most common example being breaking national news events.