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An introduction to data and information in health and social care
An introduction to data and information in health and social care

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7.1 Controlling things

Think about that common household appliance, your television. For years now, virtually all televisions have been controlled using a microcomputer (chip) of some type. Before that, such control was provided by mechanical systems.

However, because these systems had moving parts they suffered from wear, and tended to break down frequently or require replacement. Also, the nature of mechanical control systems limited how complex they could be. Consequently, they tended to be quite simple, and therefore less ‘automatic’. This functionality developed with use of remote controls.

Things changed as processing power and the internet developed. One need only remember the days before satellite TV and cable, when there were two channels that transmitted for limited hours each day.

Video tape, laser disc and DVD players hooked to a TV increased access to content, but in a physical form factor. Remote controls grew in sophistication, but everything stayed limited to broadcasts and physical media.

Now we have broadband, online content and apps embedded in TVs. Let's explore these in more depth.