Monday, March 31, 2008

Ramblings: What if TV was like the internet?

Welcome to Ramblings, our new feature where our writers just write out their thoughts as they happen, without essay format or anything making any kind of sense, or using logic, really. Which is like my writings usually, anyways. Huh. - Charles

We all what it's like to sit down in our dens, bedrooms, living spaces and watch television. And now, an increasing number of people know what it's like to watch television on the internet. But what if the internet crossed over into your living room? Here are some advantages -and disadvantages - of switching over from one medium to another:

- Your TV would probably look like the illustration above. There would be a big button, probably touch activated if so desired, to play a program. You would have a dedicated information bar, to relay programming information and ads.

- You would no longer be flipping through channels at random to see what's on. You would have to shift through menus, chose networks, chose programs, then individual episodes. Kind of like on-demand.

- There would be less advertising. Most streaming shows have an equal or reduced number of ad breaks, with one commercial sponsor for each break.

- You wouldn't need TiVo, per se. You just move your TV viewing schedule ahead one day, so you can watch most of your favorite programs online. (Live TV is still a ways off for most networks)

- While laying in bed, you could rate a particular episode, leave a review, or suggest a similar title to what you are watching.

On the flip-side, if the internet were more like broadcast television:

- You would have more advertising in exchange for no more menus. Programming would always be on. You just choose the channel you want to watch. If you want to re-watch a program, hope that it is replayed on Saturday night. If not, wait for summer reruns!

It is interesting to see how there are different levels of interactivity for a program, depending on which medium it's in. For broadcast television, it almost seems like watching a show can be a passive activity. Whereas on the internet, suddenly it can become interactive.

That doesn't mean I want the lines blurred between them much more, though. I enjoy flipping through channels and seeing what's on at all times. But I also enjoy going on-line and being able to watch a show that I like whenever I choose to. (I just watched The Bob Newhart Show for the first time, on-line. I couldn't do that on broadcast TV in 2008!)

And yet, this is a web site, talking about television programs, usually on broadcast television. (Oh, there is some irony there!)

Of course, with TiVo's being hooked up to the internet now, along with other DVR's, I'm guessing soon everyone can just go on-line to watch programs through their TV's, in addition to broadcast television. If that happens, I want TV's produced that look like my quickly thrown together illustration. With full credit. And royalties.

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