Thursday, July 12, 2012

What happened to regular TV?

While looking at coverage of the upcoming olympics on, I saw the usual stuff. Phrases like "every moment, every event" and "only place to see coverage" were parceled throughout the webpage, but that last phrase didn't really make sense to me. They were saying they were the only place to see it, except that just above on the page they were touting their many different ways to view the games. Desktop, mobile, tablet, and connected TV were all options to click on and the events will all be available on those forms of media.

America has seen this shift too as NBA League Pass on the iPad became very popular this past season (thanks to an endorsement by Mr. President). Everything is now available on everything, and its great to be able to watch wherever you want. The victim in this though becomes the communal activity of watching TV with someone. We continue to distance ourselves from each other, even though the goal of these devices is to get everyone watching the same thing. Being able to watch a show on the subway is nice, but it sure doesn't beat sitting on a couch with a group of people to watch with.


  1. I completely agree about the discomforting shift from TV watching as a communal, bonding experience to something more isolated and gadget-oriented. Save for those times when you're away from the house and just HAVE to check your phone for game updates, I really think TV should still be an experience shared with friends and family; my friends and I constantly watch shows on Netflix together when we have nothing else to do, and it's a way for me to simultaneously watch my favorite shows and bond with my friends. I wouldn't dream of watching the Superbowl on my laptop in public; I like football, but mostly I like sharing my experience with loved ones. But unfortunately, this is becoming less of the norm as TV accessability spreads to numerous devices, and becomes more of a habit than a chosen activity.

  2. I would disagree with Rachel and John on this one. I don’t see this TV transformation as a negative, but a HUGE positive. Now, there is so much more diversity of content. You can literally watch anything, from any continent, wherever, and whenever you want. This, I think, is allowing people to specialize their interests a lot more. Back in the day, there were only a few popular shows that everyone would watch. I’ve never really been a big fan of those super-hit sitcoms, or even sports. I’ve kind of always had an interest in the more offbeat things, and it was always pretty frustrating that none of my friends had the same TV interests as I did. Now, however, there is an entire online community that is sustained by audience participation in discussion about TV shows. It’s creating a different kind of community for people. And I also think it’s letting people connect with their friends differently too, because you can share the TV shows you like simply by putting a link on their wall, or emailing it to them. TV culture is definitely changing, but I don’t think that aspect of community will ever go away.