Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
I have not watched traditional television in at least 4 years. I have a TV set, but we use it for DVDs and video games. I also watch shows that are aired on television stations, but I watch them online via sites like Hulu and Comedy Central. And now with more and more people “watching TV” on their iphones and ipods, I wonder what it means to watch TV.
Does it mean the device on which we watch the program, or the medium for which the program was created? What about DVDs of shows that were made for television and can be watched on our television sets, but that aren’t watched at the time the program was aired? What if I download The Daily Show from itunes and watch it on my laptop on my train ride back from work? Does that count as watching TV?
I find these questions particularly interesting now that Comcast has struck a deal to buy a majority share in NBC. Although Comcast does boast status as the biggest cable provider in the U.S, which makes its essential purchase of a long-standing broadcast station that more threatening to broadcast TV as we know it, my real interest in this is that Comcast is also one of the largest broadband internet service providers in the county. Part of Comcast’s motive in this deal is their “TV everywhere” idea that will increase online access to television content.
As a consumer of internet TV, I currently enjoy my favorite programs with limited commercial interruption and free of charge. But with Comcast soon to have a stake in Hulu (which is partly owned by NBC ), I may need to pay for a subscription to watch 30 Rock online. Will I have to pay more if I don’t have Comcast as my internet provider? Will I still be able to watch programs from other networks, or will content be exclusive to the lineup of NBC and the other stations it owns?
Although the deal raises some concerning questions, it seems inevitable that as more and more viewers watch their favorite shows on the bus instead of in the living room, providers have to adapt content to new mediums. As someone who hasn’t used traditional TV in so long anyway, I’m looking forward to the new models that will be emerging. And I guess since I’ve gone so long without paying for a cable TV package, I really can’t complain too much if I have to pay to take my “TV” everywhere.