IT is every couch potato's dream - a museum dedicated to television and radio. But New York's Museum of Television and Radio is much more than a museum. In fact, it would not look out of place in an episode of Star Trek. Satellite technology is harnessed to stage coast-to-coast seminars on the exhibits. Every aspect of the industry that is not on display is available through computers. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the museum was created in 1975 by William S. Paley, the son of Ukrainian immigrants who joined the family cigar business in the 1920s and went on to dominate the world of American broadcasting for more than half a century after investing in a network called the Columbia Phonographic Broadcasting System. He went on to build CBS into one of the world's biggest networks. He enlisted stars such as Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and George Burns and produced such classic shows as I Love Lucy, Gunsmoke and the Ed Sullivan Show. Housed in a specially-designed building on 52nd Street in the heart of Manhattan, the museum has, over the past 20 years, expanded its collection. It now includes more than 60,000 programmes covering 70 years of television and radio history, from news and documentaries to the performing arts, children's programmes, sport, comedy, and even advertising. The museum's 41-member board of trustees reads like a page from Who's Who, featuring the likes of Henry Kissinger, Alan Alda, Candice Bergen and media mogul Rupert Murdoch. Each year the museum focuses on topics of social, historical, artistic or popular interest with special exhibitions. Visitors to the museum can explore five floors of galleries, shops, screening and listening rooms as well as the television and radio console room and the hi-tech library where they can call up the vast, digitilised 'card catalogue' on computer and select from thousands of video and radio tapes immediately available. Or they can choose any one of 400 highlights selected by museum archivists. By simply filling in a request form, slipping into a VCR room and keying in the code, they can watch Fawlty Towers, Peyton Place or the original Bill Cosby Show and many other gems. The museum regularly runs retrospectives on the careers of popular performers like Steve Allen, or exhibits costumes and special effects from the likes of Star Trek and Deep Space Nine in the Stephen Spielberg Gallery. This year, there are plans to open a similar museum in Los Angeles. 'We have had a lot of interest in a Los Angeles version from the general public,' said Robert Bascha, the museum president. 'The unique nature of the collection, together with state-of-the-art technology, enables us to redefine the nature of this institution. 'We are really a museum without walls.' The Museum of Television & Radio (Tel: 212-621-6880) is open from Tuesday to Sunday. Admittance costs $6 for adults, $4 for students and senior citizens, and $3 for children.