As you probably know, TV signals can't follow the curvature of the earth or transmit through mountains, but they are omnidirectional and travel at the speed of light. That means that the earliest experiments with TV signals, (back in the thirties, believe it or not) have travel about eighty light years and, if they are more technologically advanced than we are, it is at least theoretically possible that they have some means up picking up what must be an extremely attenuated signal and extract it from background noise, just as we are trying to do.
Let's suppose for a moment that they are much better at it than we are, and have figured out where these signals are coming from. We might be of interest, not only because we have obviously figured out how to send a Television signal out to the the Universe, saying "Here we are! Check us out!" but we also live on a planet whose surface is seventy percent water. About the only thing we are reasonably certain is required for life, in some form, to exist is water. They may breathe ammonia and live on hydrogen sulfide, which kills us instantly, but they likely need water. That's what we are looking for on Mars, the Moon, and even Europa. It's the surest sign we have that life, in some form, is possible.
The first TV signals, sent back in the thirties, were, I believe, a transmission of one of Hitler's speeches. Anyone smart enough to figure out that these tiny signals, teased out of the residue of static caused by the big bang as a sort of 'where's Waldo' on a galactic scale, would likely be able to figure out that they were looking at some sort of audio/visual form of communication. God help us all if they were able to figure out German from these tiny scraps.
What would they make of Milton Berle, or Edward R. Murrow? What would they make of Lucy trying to put something over on Ricky, and how could they fail to notice that the group of people using firehoses and dogs to attack another group were predominately of one color, and the ones on the receiving end were of another? Would they understand the significance of the famous LBJ campaign ad with the little girl and the nuclear blast that followed?
If all of this was enough to cause them to launch a probe in our direction, should we be glad? Would they rejoice in finally having someone to talk to, or see a huge waste of water?
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