I won't for a second deny the fact that I loved watching TV when I was in high school. Sports, sitcoms, and news were always on at my house, and my multi-tasking usually involved working on homework and watching TV at the same time. I didn't mind watching the same episode of SportsCenter 94 times in one day, because the background noise was nice -- now watching TV drives me absolutely nuts.
It's bizarre that in a relatively short amount of time -- 6-7 years -- our sources of information have changed so dramatically. TV is outdated, and in many ways watching TV has shifted from a luxury to a huge annoyance.
TheKing's article about the new Netflix series "House of Cards" also got me to thinking about how rapidly television is changing. Now that I use Netflix and other streaming services for shows and movies, Twitter for news, and a slew of different sites for sports information, I rarely turn on my TV -- unless there's a good nationally-televised basketball game or it's NFL Sunday.
In fact, when I do aimlessly watch TV and click through channels -- and this is very RARE -- I actually feel my brain rotting. Turning on CNN, or Fox News, or NBC, or ABC, or "insert other media source here" for even a few minutes is disturbing, and we have discussed the current negativity of mainstream media ad nauseam on WallStreetOasis. Little real analysis, tons of shock factor and stories about Michelle Obama's dress at January's inauguration. I care so much. Oh wait...no I don't.
Non-premium channels, with the exception of AMC and FX, have absolutely nothing to offer in terms of quality series. The myriad cop dramas -- I think a new one comes out, and is subsequently canceled, each week -- are a testament to this rule. And the post-Writers Strike empowerment of "reality TV" seems to have not yet shifted, and it's looking like it never will. Aaaaaaaand everything that's good on AMC and FX is, once again, offered on Netflix, albeit slightly delayed.
Premium TV still has a place in the world -- HBO & Showtime do at least for the time being keep my attention. But the good stuff like Game of Thrones can be bought on Blu-Ray later for a hell of a lot less than an HBO subscription -- or someone you know has HBO and you catch it live at theirs.
All this is to say that I don't watch TV anymore, and I feel kind of strange about it, being that at one point it was THE source of entertainment for our generation. Until extremely recently, I hadn't had a cable subscription for about 5 years, and now that I'm back on the train, I can't say that the $50 per month is giving me the mileage I'm looking for -- but I don't care enough about a few bucks a month to argue with my roommates about it, so I guess it's sticking around. Probably wouldn't notice if it disappeared, to be honest.
So how will TV have to change to win the hearts of its future users? Sure, there are plenty of older folks who still rely on the TV for all of their info, but younger generations seem increasingly likely to eschew the more regimented and scheduled information you receive through the tube in favor of the instant and endless information source: the internet. Do we really need to pump out more reality TV shows to keep the numbers up, or are there other ways to rope people back in?
Look forward to reading your thoughts.