Television is currently engaged in an array of changes that affect how it is financed, produced, distributed, experienced, and linked with the rest of culture.

For the past two decades, the domestic set itself has been transforming, in fits and starts, from an analog, low-definition receiver of broadcast signals to a digital, high-definition, customizable multimedia portal, incorporating hundreds of channels, an augmented audiovisual range, and a greater capacity for interactivity.

These changes stem from shifts in the institutions of the media, as new technologies, business models, regulatory structures, programming forms, and modes of viewing interact with the old, with widely varying and often unpredictable results.

Because so many of these forces are in flux and subject to external political and economic events, the outcome of this period is a matter of great debate. It is impossible to gauge exactly what “television” will be in another decade or so.