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Media Technology and Society offers a comprehensive account of the history of communications technologies, from the telegraph to the internet. Winston argues that the development of new media, from the telephone to computers, satellite, and CD-Rom, is the product of a constant play-off between social necessity and suppression: the unwritten 'law' by which new technologies are introduced into society only in so far as their disruptive potential is limited. Winston's fascinating account challenges the concept of a 'revolution' in communications technology by highlighting the long histories of such developments. The fax was introduced in 1847. The idea of television was patented in 1884. Digitalization was demonstrated in 1938. Even the concept of the 'web' dates back to 1945. Winston examines why some prototypes are abandoned, why many 'inventions' are created simultaneously by innovators unaware of each other's existence, and shows how new industries develop around these inventions, providing media products for a mass audience.