Italians love TV. Most houses have one in a central spot, and many families have it on during family meals. They get very good at listening to the conversation and the news at the same time. This can be frustrating for foreign guests trying to learn Italian!
As you can see from the following example, the abbreviation TV is often used. But let's talk about that. If you write it out, it's tivù, which is how you would pronounce the two letters, T and V. Although rarer and rarer, you might find it spelled out: tivù. But it's usually just spelled with the classic abbreviation, TV. You just have to remember to pronounce the V as Italians do.
What gender is it? Well, the noun visione (vision) is feminine, and so is televisione (television). So is TV. La TV. But if you see something on TV, then the article goes away and you use the preposition in, pretty much like English, except it's "in" not "on": in television, in TV.
Ti abbiamo visto in TV [tivù].
We saw you on TV.
Caption 9, Chi m'ha visto - filmPlay Caption
1) How about if the speaker is talking about himself, not his company?
2) What if he is talking to a musical group?
There's another word to talk about a TV. Here is Luca Manara after his first day on job, and he is staying at a bed and breakfast. Ada is showing him his room.
La stanza numero tre. La più bella.
Room number three. The nicest one.
Un suo agente Le ha già portato i bagagli. -Perfetto.
One of your agents has already brought you your luggage. -Perfect
-Ah! -Sì? -Il televisore c'è in camera?
Ah! -Yes? -Is there a TV in the room?
Eh, certo che c'è. È anche bono [sic: buono], sa?
Yeah, of course there is. It's even a good one [heavy Tuscan accent], you know?
Soltanto l'antenna non funziona.
It's just that the antenna doesn't work.
Vabbé, tanto la televisione non la guardo.
All right, I don't watch television anyway.
Captions 28-33, Il Commissario Manara - S1EP1 - Un delitto perfettoPlay Caption
3) What if Ada was showing Manara the biggest room, rather than the nicest one?
4) What if more than one agent had brought Manara's luggage?
So what's the difference between televisione and televisore? Well, visore means "viewer" or "screen," so with televisore, we are talking about the TV set, the actual appliance. In this case, visore is masculine and so is televisore: il televisore.
In the previous example, we can see clearly that Luca wants to know if there is a TV so he uses il televisore. But when it comes to watching it, he uses la televisione.
Just as in English, TV is used as an adjective, but we have to remember to put the adjective after the noun, as in serie TV (TV series). And as with "series" in English, serie doesn't change between singular and plural.
Capri è stata una serie televisiva in onda su Rai Uno,
“Capri” was a television series broadcast on RAI One.
di grande successo.
A big success.
Captions 54-55, L'Eredità -Quiz - TV La sfida dei sei. Puntata 2Play Caption
The speaker could have said, a bit more informally:
Capri è stata una serie TV in onda su Rai Uno, di grande successo.
Another thing to note is that when una serie TV (a TV series) is a (usually fictional) story with episodes, as opposed to a talk show, game show, or the like, then it's usually called un telefilm, in other words, a film for TV, often a puntata (in episodes), but not necessarily. Sometimes a telefilm is distinguished from a documentary or other kind of series by being called una fiction. In fact, RAI Fiction produces and broadcasts movies, made-for-TV movies, and series.
Eccomi qua a commentare alcune espressioni
Here I am to comment on some expressions
che troviamo nel telefilm "Il Commissario Manara"!
that we find in the TV series "Commissioner Manara."
Captions 3-4, Marika commenta - L'ispettore Manara Parole ripetutePlay Caption
When we're talking about romantic stories or soap operas, usually daytime TV fare, then we can use the term telenovela. The example is taken from a little sketch where Marika and Anna play two office workers gossiping while pretending to work.
Mi sembra proprio una telenovela.
It looks to me just like a soap opera.
Caption 27, Marika spiega - Pettegolezzi in ufficio con AnnaPlay Caption
Television in Italy was introduced in 1939, when the first experimental broadcasts began. However, this lasted for a very short time: When fascist Italy entered World War II in 1940, all transmissions were interrupted, and were resumed in earnest only nine years after the end of the conflict, on January 3rd, 1954.
One interesting feature of Italian television (RAI) from 1957 to 1977 was a series of short comedy sketches, many of which used live action but featured animation and puppetry as well. The name of the series was Carosello (carousel). You can view la sigla (theme song, title song, titles) for the years 1962-1974 on YouTube. Carosello was commercial in scope and each puntata (episode) lasted ten minutes, so they were actual stories (unthinkable today). They advertised pressure cookers, coffee, coffee pots, vacuum cleaners, brandy, and much more. The product would be revealed toward the end of the episode. The episodes often featured well-known actors and were beloved by viewers all over Italy (about 20 million viewers).
We have learned from the documentary about the Taviani brothers, who made some very famous films, that they discovered Lucio Dalla while filming an episode of Carosello he was acting in. Realizing how talented he was, they put him in one of their movies, I sovversivi (The Subversives). See trailer.
Lucio, eh, a quell'epoca non era un attore di cinema
Lucio [Dalla], uh, was not a movie actor at that time
e non, non era nemmeno un cantante,
and he wasn't, he wasn't a singer either.
lo diventò immediatamente dopo, si mise a cantare e col successo
He became one right afterwards. He started singing, and with the success
che tutti quanti noi sappiamo.
that we are all familiar with.
Noi lo incontrammo perché girammo un carosello,
We met him because we were filming a Carosello [TV commercial skit],
un carosello, una pubblicità.
a Carosello, a commercial.
Captions 21-26, Fratelli Taviani - La passione e l'utopiaPlay Caption
5) Can you replace the verbs in the passato remoto with verbs in the passato prossimo, trapassato prossimo or, where applicable, l'imperfetto?
1) Ti ho visto in TV [tivù].
2a) Vi ho visto in TV [tivù].
2b) Vi ho visti in TV [tivù].
3) La più grande.
3b) La più spaziosa.
4) I suoi agenti Le hanno già portato i bagagli.
5a) Lucio, eh, a quell'epoca non era un attore di cinema e non, non era nemmeno un cantante, lo è diventato immediatamente dopo, si è messo a cantare e col successo che tutti quanti noi sappiamo. Noi l'abbiamo incontrato perché giravamo un carosello, un carosello, una pubblicità.
5b) Lucio, eh, a quell'epoca non era un attore di cinema e non, non era nemmeno un cantante, lo era diventato immediatamente dopo, si era messo a cantare e col successo che tutti quanti noi sappiamo. Noi l'avevamo incontrato perché stavamo girando un carosello, un carosello, una pubblicità.