The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

February 3, 2013

Technology changes the way people watch television

DANVILLE — It will be easy for people to overdo it today. They have a smorgasbord of choices, more than enough options to indulge their palates.

No, it’s not the snacks for a Super Bowl gathering. It’s a different type of menu, one that has emerged for television viewers.

James Hay has been teaching TV studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign since 1987.

“In 2010, that was the first year since the 1940s since the sales of TV sets declined … ” Hay said, “while the amount of hours watching TV programming continued to increase.”

Consumers spent nearly 35 hours per week watching video across screens during a three-month period in 2012, according to Nielsen, a global information and measurement company.

That could mean watching shows not only on a television set but on a tablet, mobile phone or computer.

Hay questions if the word “television” is just a leftover term.

“I don’t know what the term TV refers to any longer,” Hay said during a phone interview.

Hay emphasized the current age is one of on-demand TV features, of “watching television when you want to watch it and where you want to watch it.”

At the end of 2011, about one-third of consumers streamed movies or TV shows through a paid Internet subscription service, such as Netflix or Hulu-Plus.

Consumers also can watch video though Vudu, Amazon Prime, Roku … and that’s just the beginning.

Hay said the last decade and a half has also been a move toward a more interactive type of television.

For example, during today’s Super Bowl game, fans can pick from camera angles while watching the game live online, simultaneously Tweeting with other fans about the game and discussing commercials as they air.

“I’m not sure whether that’s television (but) elements of the past which continue into the 21st century.”

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