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The End of TV
by: Jesse S. Somer
Television will soon be another reason to hook up to the Internet.

In the not-so-distant future TV as we know it, will cease to exist. This is going to have huge ramifications on the whole of human society, or at least the so-called 'wealthy' countries that sit in front of the 'magic-story-box' religiously everyday. I say 'so-called' because we obviously measure wealth in terms of material gain and not internal peace or gratitude for life. When television first appeared, like the telephone (see last article on the changing world of voice-communication: 'Internet nerds are actually secret prophets who change the way our world works. Check out Skype, a type of future communication technology.') TV was an incredible addition to our collective reality. However, we are in the 'Information Age' and this means that the ways we do things as a species are changing faster than you can say, "Humans humorously hunt for humble hints at how to have more happiness."

The coming of the Internet spells the end of the television era, and this could also mean the end of years of walking around with mindless advertising jingles in your head. The other day when I was washing the dishes I absent-mindedly started to sing the slogan from one of my local TV channels, "Bringing it home to you." If these silly songs are what they bring home to me, I am going to quite happy when they're gone. Thankfully, as TV shows are already putting episodes on-line these hard-core advertising techniques may soon disappear altogether. TV on the Internet means many things for the viewer. As the show is coming straight to you instead of through the old channel medium, you can have more control of the show, with elements of video, like pause and rewind coming into play. Watching a show straight through without commercials sounds like a godsend indeed. TV websites will still need corporate sponsorship for promotion elsewhere, so the concept of 'product placement' that has already come into play will most probably evolve further, especially in the case of International companies whose products are available universally. Hopefully these 'placements' don't go too far from reality thus taking us metaphorically back to times of 'canned' laughter and obviously contrived dialogue.

I can just imagine Homer on the 'Simpsons' suddenly changing the beer he drinks from 'Duff' to Budweiser because it 'tastes great and is less filling.' As if he ever cared whether his doughnuts came from Krispy Kreme or Dunkin Doughnuts, or cared about his weight for that matter! So of course with all changes in life come both sides of the coin of positive and negative outcomes. Still, having TV integrated as another of the infinite capabilities of your personal computer makes life more simple, not to mention that the quality of the broadcast will be equal to the latest in digital technology.

Someone will have to figure out what to do in the case of a person wanting to watch an American show when living in England or another foreign country. Your Internet Service Provider may choose to integrate local advertisements into the TV program, as the American commercials won't be relevant to the viewer overseas. TV-On-Demand (paying for individual shows) may also become one of the main viewing options.

The main bonus in having television on the Internet is the idea that we will have more control over our lives. Instead of having to watch a show at a designated time that your channel decides, you will now be able to watch what you want, when you want it. No more missing shows, having to tape episodes, or worrying about your kids seeing something that you feel isn't suitable. The watcher becomes the ultimate controller of viewing reality, so theoretically life becomes easier. I won't dispute this fact but I will always be a firm believer that life truly improves when we improve our attitudes towards it. I also feel that what we produce presently on television needs to start evolving as much as the technology that provides it. Violence, crime, murder and death on the News and primetime are getting as old as my underwear. I won't mention in what year they were purchased.

Just because there will be less channels to choose from doesn't mean there will be less to watch. On the contrary, there will probably be more and more shows and the chance for you to put your own show out there on a web site means much more variety. Broadcasters may keep producing groups of shows on websites, but there will surely be much more competition from producers who work on their own.

About the author:
Jesse S. Somer
Jesse S. Somer grew up in the USA where there were over forty channels twenty years ago. Now there are around 550. This number may soon recede, hopefully more quickly than his hairline.

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