Death of the 'TV set'

TV FutureFrom the Times 21/06/08:

Two years ago, it seemed impossible that the internet could ever replace the television as the hub of home entertainment. Now it's common to see groups of youths gathered round YouTube, or swapping viral clips from Big Brother rather than bothering with the whole tawdry televised affair. Cheap and easy broadband has made internet TV possible; and for those who still prefer their giant plasma screens to their PCs, new-generation televisions are coming with web browsers built in.

I remember that only recently Leo Laporte and Amber Macarthur from Net @ Night were having just this discussion. They opined that the internet had already made substantial inroads to TV's previously unchallenged audience levels and further, net-vision would definitely take over from regular ‘TV’. That might, perhaps, sound a tad farfetched but is it really? When you think about the monumental growth and importance that the internet enjoys today, it’s not that tough to believe. So will we soon be in an omnipresent, always-on inter-connected world where everything is connected to everyone and vice-versa? Where TV shows are available anytime, anywhere on virtually any device?  Well, we’re certainly heading that way.

But what is TV anyway? Is it a method of content delivery, a bit of hardware or the very content itself? Advances such as iplayer and other online catch-up services for regular ‘TV’ content, are already blurring the conventional perception of ‘TV’. Isn’t TV 21st century style just the availability of entertainment-based content by whatever means on a wide range of devices? I mean, I watch ‘TV shows’ on my ipod without feeling the need to sit myself in front of a screen in the living room. TV, as we knew it, might already be dead.

As an aside, I’ve said for several years that I could gladly survive without a TV and in fact did during two years of my degree, although, to be fair, I was abroad for one of those so could hardly have taken it with me. I could have tried, I suppose, but the baggage handlers wouldn’t have liked it! I certainly wouldn’t, however, be nearly as happy surviving without the internet for any length of time. After all, being without it for the first week of living here in the new house nearly killed me.

Comments

  1. I watch very little of TV - I mainly use it for DVDs, but I can't imagine my life without a TV set! Just because it's something that you can switch on for some background noise when you're cooking etc etc. Plus I really don't like the idea of watching films or TV shows on my computer - the quality is not the same, and there are no sofas in my room :( Maybe I'm just too conventional.

    Another thing that bothers me is tv licence. The official website states that you need a licence to use 'PC, laptop or mobile phone to watch or record television programmes as they're being shown on TV'. How will they know? I, for instance, never even used the iPlayer.

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  2. I know what you mean, Andro. I think the TV as we knew it is ultimately doomed though.

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