Future of TV

The articles that we read this past week bring up the important debate over the future of television. After reading various articles giving opinions about the future of television, I still find television's future to be quite unclear. It is obvious that television is in need of massive reform but each television network seems to want to go in a different direction. As Pomona College students, I feel we are biased in our views of the future of television. Living in a dorm that does not even offer the opportunity of obtaining cable television has completely changed the way in which I consume television. Television has always been something that was always on in the background. Anytime I would be sitting around surfing the web the television would on. However, when I actually wanted to watch a show that I followed I would go down to my basement where I had TIVO. Keeping up to date with series was much like watching a movie. Now that I am college the always-on aspect of television has completely left. When I want to watch something I have to search it out and download it. There is really no use of searching something out to have on in the background while you are doing other things. Having to download shows off of the Internet has also prohibited me from catching onto new shows that I have not seen before. Back when I could channel surf it was easy to find new things to watch.

Many television networks are now making their content available online. Most of the (legal) online television content is available for streaming off of certain network's websites. The streaming video if often low quality and the different shows are very decentralized. Personally, I don't know if I have watched an entire streamed show. Most of the television shows that I watch now are not currently running. The episodes networks make available on the Internet are usually only the recent few.

When the television was first created it was a centralized device that everyone could sit around together. I still believe that this is one of the greatest things that television has going for them. I would much rather watch television on a couch in front of a large HDTV then on my computer screen. Television still should exist on computers though. I am often thankful for the downloaded Simpsons episodes on my laptop when I am traveling. Television needs to evolve so that it can exist with equal accessibility and ease of use on both the computer and living room TV.

If I had the ability to mold the future of television I would move to a more On Demand model. Current On Demand systems offer pretty meager libraries. The internet has the capability of linking us to anyone anywhere so I don't see why our televisions don't utilize this capability. We should not be constrained to only watching what is currently on. A recording of about every TV show ever exists out there somewhere. Television networks need to come together and work on centralizing all of their content. The interface could be the exact same on the computer and TV screen. I personally wouldn't mind watching some short advertisements if the content is easily accessed. Television networks also need to make their live content available to people who may not be able to access a TV. TV needs to get away from its always-on model and embrace the niche markets that exist for specific shows. Television companies need to embrace the fact that the days of cable are limited. The TV needs to be looked at as just another computer screen. People will never start writing emails on their big screens but they do want to use them to access the wealth of video content available over the web.