It turns out that TV sets are a dying breed, soon to be replaced by just about anything so long as it’s mobile. At least, that’s according to Kotaku, but frankly, the pronouncement just doesn’t jibe.
In a post called “The Coming Death of TV,” Stephen Totilo announces that, based on of his daily usage of mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops, the idea of owning a television (i.e. a display that families gather around somewhere in the house) will be laughable in a short period of time, even in just a few years.
I used to think it would take maybe 50 years until we reached the day people would laugh when reminded that human beings of the year 2013 had television sets. Lately, I’ve been expecting that laughter to come even sooner. Maybe in a decade. Maybe not even that long from now.
Do you see it, too? The meteor is coming, and I think my TV is too much of a dinosaur to get out of the way.
I once would have considered the extinction of the television an absurdity. Now, I look at it as an inevitability. My TV sits on an entertainment center in my living room, usually turned off. I glance at it with pity. It seems to me that the TV set is going to be outlived by the refrigerator, the microwave and the dishwasher.
I haven’t stopped watching television programming.
I haven’t stopped playing video games at home.
I haven’t stopped seeing what’s on HBO or CNN or the Daily Show.
I just don’t use my TV for much of that.
Setting aside for a moment how much of the reasoning for this conclusion relies entirely on personal preference, especially with regards to movie watching, the conclusion disregards an intrinsic aspect of watching the same content on the same screen at the time as another person. That’s true for friends, spouses, children, classmates, co-workers, fellow inmates, etc. Now if, as Totilo says, this gathering around a single display role that has been occupied by TVs is sure to be displaced by future wall-projecting iPads, how does that make TV a dinosaur?
If you define TV solely as a box that picks up content over the air, a box that requires its own special room and isn’t touch-enabled or capable of computer media playback or in any way hooked into the internet, then guess what, that’s already dead, and it didn’t take a smartphone or tablet to kill it.
For me, the TV is a display just like a PC monitor, and the TV tuner has long been a joke. Ever since the establishment of the internet and PCs in the home, both devices, both ways of delivering and consuming content, have been converging. The fact that these content delivery systems are now more mobile than ever just heightens that convergence. YouTube wants to be on your TV, and HBO wants to be on your tablet. Until watching something with another person means that you access your separate screens, the idea of having a TV area of your home will continue to be as ubiquitous as ever.
If anything, large, fixed displays like TVs are moving towards ever more kinds of ways to display content from any mobile device. For those of us tied to computers 24/7, the luxury of the living room remains important, no matter how infrequent its use. At least that’s my take, but perhaps I’m living in the past. Are any of our readers ready to dispense with TVs? Do you already find watching something with another human being an archaic notion?