What’s Next for TV?

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What’s Next for TV?

The TV age seems to be declining as Internet-based entertainment takes over our lives. We’ll probably continue to have TV screens in our homes, but will we still need cable TV services in the future?

I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.Groucho Marx

Before the computer age, TVs were a central feature in many homes. Watching TV was even considered by some to be a family activity. Prime time television shows were an important topic of conversation—even more than they are today. Before technologies like on-demand and streaming video, people mostly had to watch whatever was on. You might say we had more in common when it came to watching TV.

The Changing Face of Entertainment
Things have changed a lot since then. Now, fewer and fewer people view having a TV as a necessity, and even fewer feel that they can’t live without a subscription to a cable TV service. Instead, we have the Internet, which effectively allows us to watch whatever we want, whenever we want. Cable boxes are usually Internet capable, and now, some systems allow us to bypass cable boxes altogether, and just use the TV as an oversized computer screen.

Will We Bid Goodbye to Televisions?
TVs are becoming less and less necessary for enjoying modern entertainment. In addition, individuals in families are increasingly beginning to seek out entertainment that suits each person. Instead of gathering around the TV to watch a favorite program together, it’s easy and affordable for each person to watch something different on their own personal device. So where is the TV going? Will we see a slow extinction of televisions, the way we have for cassette tape players and other obsolete technologies?

It’s hard to imagine replacing TVs altogether. Computer screens are getting smaller, rather than larger. Although some people don’t seem to mind watching TV shows and even movies on tiny screens, most of us would still rather see a large image in all its glory. The ability to watch movies on a large screen at home would be hard to do away with. So, TVs themselves don’t seem to be in any danger, although they may be relegated to basements and entertainment rooms. When no one wants to watch the same thing on TV, there doesn’t seem to be much reason to keep the TV in a central location in a main living room or family room.

The Dicey Future of Cable Television
What about the institution of cable TV? If you can hook your television up to the Internet and stream whatever you want, why do you need to sign up for a cable service? For many people, the answer is “you don’t.” Web-based services are often a lot cheaper and easier to use. You can be sure that the cable companies won’t give up without a fight, though. Cable companies want to come up with technologies that people can’t live without.

TV has become more and more personalized, but cable companies might be able to come up with a way to bring families back together around new technologies. If they can do that in a way that can’t be replicated by Internet-based services, they stand a good chance of surviving. Families will be happy to subscribe to services that strengthen their relationships, and give them a way to bond and get to know each other again. It remains an open question whether yet more techno-gadgets will really be good for families or not, but chances are good that people will at least be willing to give it a try.

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