How Has Television Changed Us?

For a long time, watching television has been associated as a negative thing. It has been criticized to take away our active time, to dumb us down and to distract us from doing more important things. It has been blamed for obesity and for setting false standards. However, the positive benefits of television and how it has changed in recent years is sometimes overlooked. It is, after all, the golden age of TV, so let’s take a look a look at some of the ways in which it can be associated with positive influences.


New distribution methods give us more control over our viewing time.

Watching TV once used to me a linear process; we only had access to it through our television set, and so we would have no choice but to watch whatever was airing at the time, or to wait for the time our favourite episode would air, and then for another week to watch the follow up. Then came the DVR, along with a plethora of online streaming services and downloads. These days, one has subscriptions for streaming platforms such as netflix italia, hulu, and more, which allow us to watch back-to-back episodes or an entire season in one go. We can control when we watch it and how we watch it, and thus more seamlessly fit it into our schedules along with the other activities that we choose to prioritise.

More channels and more demand means TV has become better.

With more and more TV shows being created, producers are challenged to think out-of-the-box for new ideas that may broaden our thinking, understanding and creativity. Now that there is a huge amount of content available, there is plenty to watch and choose from, and the quality of our shows has gotten better to a point of introducing wildly new categories, such as competition reality shows. The audience pays more attention to the finer details, given the comparisons and experience with shows they have. Scripts, wordplay and other film prompts have gotten more sophisticated in order to competitively encourage more of a reaction from viewers.

Viewing TV has gone from being passive to increasingly active.

The more exposed we our to television shows and plotlines, the smarter we get in recognizing, predicting and reacting from them. Viewers not only just watch a show these days; they engage with it by talking about it to their friends, discussing it online and debating about the various themes and expected outcomes of the plotline. It allows us to bond over our interests and similarities, and challenges us to think further as we formulate conversations over our TV shows. Producers often even use the input and opinions of fans to determine the way their storyline will pan out, and it is easier than ever to rate the popularity and worthiness of a show to help us determine whether it is worth watching.

TV has become a platform to raise social issues.

TV shows have a large amount of influence over a very, very large population, and thus creators take the opportunity to raise issues and encourage discussion over topics in a creative manner. It is a great forum for raising subjects we may not have thought about, and it encourages us to be better citizens and community influencers.

So, do we still feel guilt about the effects television has had in our lives? Perhaps with more awareness and smarter viewing, we can fully harness the benefits of television while limiting its downsides.

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