A shadow mask with 200,000 holes lies immediately behind the phosphor screen; the holes are precisely machined to align the colors emitted by three electron beams. Today's best picture tubes have shadow masks that are manufactured from a nickel-iron alloy called Invar; lesser quality sets have masks of iron. The alloy allows the tube to operate at a higher temperature without distorting the picture, and higher temperatures allow brighter pictures. Rare-earth elements have also been added to the phosphor coating inside the tube to improve brightness.
At the end of 2002, the consumer electronics and cable industries reached a “plug-and-play” agreement that allowed “one-way” digital television sets to be connected directly to cable systems without the need for a set-top box. These new sets are marketed under the name Digital Cable Ready television sets (DCRs). A security device called a CableCARD is provided by cable operators to allow cable customers to view encrypted digital programming after it is authorized to do so by the cable operator. Talks to resolve issues related to “two-way” digital television sets began in 2003 and continue.
In 2007, RT established offices in the same building as RIA Novosti, after the Russian Union of Journalists was forced to vacate them.  In 2012 Anna Kachkayeva, Dean of Media Communications at Moscow's Higher School of Economics, stated that they "share the same roof" because the two organizations are located in the same building, but regarding "funding, editorial policy, management and staff, they are two independent organisations whose daily operations are not interconnected in any way."  In 2008, Simonyan noted that more than 50 young RT journalists had gone on to take positions in large Western media outlets.  By 2010, RT had grown to a staff of 2,000.