Monday, November 07, 2005

The Future of Television

Screens so small they fit inside coffee cups. Marriages arranged by TiVo. Production facilities on Mars. The king of late night peers into his plasma crystal ball.

(I ran across this recently and felt it would make you smile. For all of us tangled in the present and future of this medium… this read is well worth the reprint. Hit the link for the balance of the article from Newsweek’s May 30 issue. -SM)

By Conan O'Brien

I have been on television for almost 12 years, and in that relatively short time I've seen the medium change exponentially. Naturally, this seismic upheaval has bred fear and uncertainty in our industry, but throughout it all I have remained calm. Like an old fisherman I have weathered countless storms and kept my tiny skiff afloat. And now, my face cracked and my nut-brown hands rubbed raw by the salt air, I know the mysteries of the inky deep. I've stared into the unblinking eye of modern television and I alone know her startling future.
To begin, the trend toward larger and larger televisions will continue as screens double in size every 18 months. Televisions will eventually grow so large that families will be forced to watch TV from outside their homes, peering in through the window. Random wolf attacks will make viewing more dangerous. And, just as televisions grow larger and more complicated, so will remote controls. In fact, changing channels will soon require people to literally jump from button to button. Trying to change the channel while simultaneously lowering the volume will require two people and will frequently lead to kinky sex.
We will also see a stunning increase in the number of televisions per household, as small TV displays are added to clocks, coffee makers and smoke detectors. Manufacturers will even place a small plasma screen inside car airbags so that accident victims will have something to watch while they wait for help. Toddlers' bowls will have a television at the bottom, and children will be encouraged to eat all of their mush so they can see Morley Safer. Televisions will even be placed inside books and, before long, books will evolve into no more than hundreds of small flat-screens stapled together. Reading the opening chapter of "Moby Dick" will include watching 10 hours of "Gunsmoke."
TiVo, the digital recorder with a brain, will continue to evolve with alarming speed. Super-TiVos will arrange marriages between like-minded viewers and will persuade mismatched couples to throw in the towel and start seeing other people. Tough-talking TiVos will even confront viewers, saying, "You've watched 40 straight hours of 'Sponge- Bob'—get off the weed!" One of TiVo's best loved features—its ability to provide viewers with commercial-free television—will inevitably force TV advertising to go extinct. As a result, celebrities will be forced to find new and creative ways to compromise their integrity. (At this moment, the writer pauses to slake his thirst with a delicious Diet Peach Snapple... now with less aspartame!) The sudden loss of ads on television will push many companies to stage their pitches live on Broadway, revitalizing the theater in America and garnering Patti LuPone a Tony award for her work with Geico.
Meanwhile, computers will continue to be used more and more to watch digital streaming video, eventually turning them into televisions. With no.....
(see the rest of Conan’s thought’s)
Special Thanks to Newsweek… © 2005 Newsweek, Inc.

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