‘What we want, when we want, how we want’ is the new definition of watching television these days. There were times when people had the only option to watch a television show when it was on the air. Rerun was the second chance to watch the show. People used to work around TV schedules and kept waiting to watch a program. But now the scene has changed. People can watch a show when it is convenient for them. They use DVR for watching later or when it is available online on streaming services. Instead of channel surfing, they can pick what they exactly want to watch. It is because we get more options and, the picture quality is far better than what we had. Besides basic programming and games integration, technology has added a lot more to it, still holding the viewers even after many decades. In short, innovations have caused cultural shifts.
Let us discuss some key factors that have changed the television terrain.
High Definition Television (HDTV)
Breathing in analog technology, original black and white television evolved to color television in late 1960. Then shifting to digital technology, there was a leap in picture quality due to an increase in the resolution power from 480 × 640 pixels (in standard definition television) to 1280 ×720 pixels (in high definition television). However, a new name for quantitative advancement for better picture quality than HDTV, is Ultra HD (UHD). Its display format with a horizontal resolution is approximately 4,000 pixels. It is four times as many pixels with 3840×2160 set up, hence named 4K television. Evolution has not stopped yet, technology is moving ahead for more resolution.
Organic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) TV
As CNET explains, ‘each tiny OLED pixel in the screen creates light depending on how much electric current you send it’. That gives the ultimate level of contrast, creating excellent picture quality. For this, an incredibly light and thin screen flexible enough to curve is essential. The technical detail being The curved screen has a curved trajectory similar to a person’s Horopter line allowing the maintenance of contrast focus.
In other words, when we view a flat-screen, what’s in the center is closer than what’s on the outer edges, thereby creating color distortion and supple images. That again depends on the size of the screen and the distance between the viewer and television. Therefore, curving the screen removes distortion and provides consistency of distance, making it appear larger and brighter. After 2015, it made a comeback when LG’s bendable OLED screen was announced in January 2021.
Technology has created a faster way to view your favorite shows and movies by using internet television – a television that doesn’t use HDMI cables. Apple TV and Google TV have effectively given television internet access and computer capabilities to stream videos and online access to content. Sometimes, it is also called Internet Protocol TV as the streaming content is on air via a privately- managed network. You can watch internet TV on a traditional screen by adding a set-top box. The content for internet TV is live on air or on-demand. It is stored on their screen by the internet TV providers, so they remain accessible. Whenever the viewers need it, they can log in to the site or access it through the provider’s app.
Over the Top Technology OTT and streaming services
The impact of technology on television has given one of the most exciting prospects, called OTT or Over-the-Top- Technology. It is a direct link between broadcaster and consumer where the video is sent directly to the user without a conventional intermediary.
Netflix remains one of the biggest names in OTT, with over 195 million paid subscribers around the globe. Some individuals, like YouTube sensations, have gained a large fan following by posting videos. YouTube is one of today’s video creation-defining TV. It has become a profitable channel for stars because they get to benefit from their loyal followers. Joining the stream are several others like Amazon Prime and YouTube premium streaming services.
Another option to watch an entire series anytime and on any device like a computer or tablet, instead of waiting for a whole week to watch it on television, is called Binge-Watching
Social TV and second screen
A second screen involves a computing device (commonly a mobile device) to provide an enhanced viewing experience of content on another device, such as television. It supports social TV and generates an online conversation around the specific content. Television was never an interactive medium until social media came into existence. It has given the fans a voice to connect and discuss the show in real-time. So while the pen is mightier than the sword, the Digital Pen is far more fast and effective. As a result, interest in a program increases because people are likely to be more interested in shows recommended by family and friends on social media. Streaming services also try to take advantage by allowing access to your social media accounts. Sports and news shows have focused on the ability to integrate social media into the program and advertising. They allow viewers to participate in the shows, and discussions help reinforce their followership and save a show that has been canceled.
Technological advancement will continue transforming television. The innovation has caused a dramatic shift in our life depending on how we have consumed the media. In the coming time, how technology will affect media is a question of assumption. But it will be interesting to view how emerging new trends in technology change the television to hold the viewers more strongly.