EDITOR’S OPINION: Does TV need to catch up?

With Netflix and Amazon Prime beginning to dominate the market, asks whether the TV has a future in the household?

Image:Evert F. Baumgardner

After moving into a conspicuous new flat with a bunch of second years, we have discovered that the internet was down and a replacement router was 3 days and 65 pounds away. After being thrusted into the early dark ages for more than a fortnight, our only solace came to be a weird black box that occupied the edge of the room.

What was the centerpiece of a modern household has become the elephant in most of our living rooms. It is now a point of ridicule as the “daytime tele” quality problem has adopted the feeling of overblown and over acted melodrama. Where as on the internet you can pick and choose to your liking, watching tv meaning at least 3 consecutive re-runs of “Casualty” before the golden nugget of “Have I Got News For You”. At the moment, the main channels are suffering from a lack of youth shows and ultimately a lack of interest. I noticed this most profoundly when BBC Three went online, to me that meant that they had thrown in the towel and weren’t trying to bring the 20-somethings back any time soon.

Most students of today haven’t sampled what’s on the box. Mainly because Netflix and Amazon Prime cater to our needs without the hassle of adverts, cliffhangers and this weird 30 minute interlude called “The News”. With more shows means less incentive to switch on at a certain time on a certain day when it’s a couple of clicks away at any other time. It seems as though the transfer to an online age is starting to leave the traditional entertainment and media in the dust of time. So is the tv going to be put in the loft among 8 tracks, VHS and and the legendary PS2? Not exactly.

I do believe that the TV isn’t going quickly, with the older generations faithfully tuning in every night. I also think that the “Smart TV” with connectivity to the internet’s best show providers might provide a valued boost to the market, especially with voice controls that means you don’t have to leave your sofa for anything other than crisps. Remember that you can still buy a VHS/Blu Ray combo, so a retro resurgence might be on the cards. “Vinyl? What’s that?” The TV has had a career of over 60 years so if it does go it won’t go quietly.

I my household, the tele is always a communal event of huge proportions, without which my parents and I would turn to disarray or possibly even anarchy. It is a great way to bond then to just sit down in front of the tv and make snarky comments about the mental capacity of the contestants on “Bromans”. It would truly be a shame because it was the one thing that was communal in an age of individual, digital satisfaction. I don’t want to be part of the generation when George Alagiah signs off the BBC News for good.

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