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Bennett: The changing face of TV

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Dickinson, 58602
The Dickinson Press
(701) 225-4205 customer support
Dickinson North Dakota 1815 1st Street West 58602

A conversation, most commonly had after a long day at work, might resemble something like this: “Hello! Did you hear anything I just said?” to which a response might be, “Hang on.” Or “I’m trying to watch this show on TV.”

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Admittedly, my fiancé and I sometimes hold different ideas of how we want to wind down in the evenings. He wants to tune out with a TV show that I’m not all that interested in, making my urge to talk even stronger.

Thankfully, we’ve found shows we equally enjoy through Amazon Prime and Netflix. While eating dinner, we like to turn on NBC’s “The Voice” so we can visit, eat and watch TV at the same time, resulting in a victory for us both.

We even started an addiction together. Like many other Americans, we like to binge watch TV shows. It all started with “Breaking Bad” on Netflix.

Walt and Jesse, and the rest of the characters enthralled us. After we finished it, we couldn’t wait to pick out our next TV show. “The Walking Dead” and “Under The Dome” are a couple more we have gotten into.

The interesting thing about binge watching or using a DVR is that you get to skip the commercials. There have been many times when we’ve watched TV live and nudged the other as if to say, “Come on, fast forward.” The fast forwarding is what makes it so easy to binge watch TV.

Streaming television has changed the way people watch TV and will likely continue to change it as technology progresses.

In 1960, nearly 90 percent of Americans owned a TV. Though that was already a high percentage, it has only continued to increase in the 21st century. Heck, now it’s more common to own two or more TVs — at least one of which has streaming technology — and nearly impossible to find someone that doesn’t own one at all.

In college, I never owned a TV.

I never saw the point when I could just go to the website of one of my favorite channels and watch it there the following day. Soon, Hulu and Netflix followed and set a new standard for watching TV online.

I can read the news through the local paper and watch clips on the Internet. I never was much of a sports enthusiast, but my fiancé is. So, TV packages have become a hot debate.

We were having lunch with our friends the other day and we talked about just tapping into streaming channels and downsizing our cable bill. Should we get Dish Network or DirecTV, or stay with the local provider. There is no way — or so it seems — that we can live without some of the sports and local channels, or HBO for that matter. (I don’t want to be around him if he isn’t able to watch “Game of Thrones.”)

I’m sure many people out there feel the same way we do.

So does that mean TV is still changing?

Will we see a future where nearly everything is streamed and you simply buy the shows you want to see, regardless of what channel they’re on?

Will sports shirk long-term contracts with single channels and turn to a pay-per-view system where people have access to every game and be able to watch the one they want instead of the one ESPN wants to show?

That one may be a stretch, but it’s not an impossibility with the way TV is changing.

People want to keep their TV watching as simple as possible. More people are moving away from cable packages as more providers are forced to throw dozens of nearly unwatchable or extremely niche channels into their packages alongside popular channels.

It’s possible that one day it is more common to not own a TV.

If you told someone in the ‘70s or ‘80s that one day they wouldn’t own a home telephone, they probably wouldn’t believe you.

Who’s to say TV isn’t the next technology to completely change the way it is provided.

If that happens, I won’t have to worry about my family watching TV at dinner. Instead they’ll be watching their smartphone, tablet or the whatever the next media-viewing contraption is.

Oh well, at least we’ll still be at the table together.

Bennett is an advertising consultant for The Dickinson Press. Email her at sbennett@thedickinsonpress.com.

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