The TV networks might not always like the influence that technology has on Tv and the way it has caused it to chance massively in the past decade, but most viewers are more than happy with the advances that have made watching TV even more pleasurable than they were before.
Now, we can interact with TV shows, choose from a wider pool of entertainment and watch what we like when we like, which is undoubtedly a good thing. I mean, how many of you reading this, do not like these advances in TV tech?
Forums and Social Media
Ever since the 90s, we’ve been able to log onto the internet and dissect every episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or use discussion boards to express our disgust at the direction the execs have decided to take The Simpsons in. Today, it’s even easier to talk to like-minded people about our favourite TV shows, and we can even talk to the stars, writers, and execs via mediums like Twitter. This is great for us because we can have even more fun engaging with our favourite shows, and we can express our pleasure/displeasure to see real changes to the way our most loved entertainments are playing out. It’s a great time to be a TV fan.
Streaming has truly revolutionised TV in a way that few of us would have predicted even a decade ago. Not only has it made TV more affordable – no more expensive cable bills, but it has also put our own viewing into our own hands. If we like a particular show, instead of being forced to subscribe to a whole package of channels so we can see it, or instead of having to wait and buy the box set, we can now stream it instantly, buying each episode for a small sum, or signing up to a platform like Netflix for only as long as the show lasts. We’re saving money and having more choice than ever before. Sometimes, you can have your cake and eat it.
While we’re on the subject of streaming, another benefit of platforms like Amazon Prime, Hulu and Netflix is the rise of binge watching. Not only do we no longer have to wait all week to see if our favourite character survived that terrible incident, but the fact that we watch shows in a big block more often has meant that producers have stepped up their game creating more filmic content that is much more compelling than the average weekly show.
Smartphones and Tablets
Smartphones and tablets have changed the way we watch TV. Now, we watch TV on the commute, in the line at the bank, and whenever we have a spare moment to do so – we aren’t confined to watching TV at home any longer.
Of course, when we are at home, we watch TV together less and less, opting to use our various devices to watch the shows we like, not the ones our family are watching at the time.
Youtube has made ‘TV’ much more democratic than it ever was before. Now, anyone who wants to can create their content and get an audience. Although good Youtubers do exist, they are still few and far between right now, but it’s easier to see that in a few years, the biggest TV shows won’t be TV shows at all – they’ll be Youtube videos. It’s much more democratic.
Tivo and Sky Q
Tech like Tivo and SkyQ have forever changed the way we all watch TV in that we no longer have to be home at 9 PM to watch The Walking Dead or whatever. Nor do we have to choose between which shows we watch or whether we record Keeping Up with the Kardashians or Game of Thrones – we can do it all at the touch of a button. It might be harder for advertisers to make their money when so many of us now skip through the ads completely, but it’s been a boon for those of us who are avid Viewers with lots of shows on the go and a life outside of the TV.
Technology has already hanged TV so much in the past decade or so, and we can only guess at how it will do so in the future – holograms, immersive reality, choose your own adventure (Netflix are doing this one) – but one thing’s for sure – it will continue to change it in ways that we can’t even imagine right now.