The Shrinking Role of Television


The television’s role in society as talked about in Bennett and Strange’s Television as Digital Media has begun to shrink in the face of more personalized experiences provided by newer media devices and services. The usage of services/recording devices has made it so that the television experience has become less about in-the-moment news or programming per se, and has become more about a personalized and customizable experience, however, in this transition, Television has begun to cease being what it was in its classical sense. Television over the course of a decade or so went from an essential medium to a mere middle-man means of creating a more customizable experience. This process can be argued to be the death knell of television, as it has become extremely difficult for the medium to adapt to the new digitized age and continue profiting from it.


            When I was a younger, watching the television was more of a social convention for my mother and I. Television provided a time for the family to bond. Watching shows such as NBC’s Dateline with my mother as well as some of my favorite anime on television was more of a unique experience then than now, where we exist in a future filled with technology such as TiVo and DVR’s, in which we can customize our own experiences and watch what we want. Though I do not have access to TiVo, I do at times watch shows on Hulu, which has oft been popularized as “TV for your computer”. Can services like these effectively replace television as the focal point of communal entertainment? Has entertainment technology catered more towards the individual than the group? I find these new trends disturbing, and view television as an essential piece of technology that produces a communal gathering that not many other mediums can emulate, and I hope that it remains as such.

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