Does Size Matter? Bigger Screens, Smaller Screens, And Screens In Between

Is there a schism about the size of our entertainment screens?

We are not only talking about those large, 6,000-square-foot, colored beams of light attacking public places like New York City's Time Square and Port Authority bus terminal, or the almost 100-yard- long worth of video screens in the Dallas football stadium, but about the littlest screens on our smartphones.

But wait, there are more. The iPad tablet made it acceptable to want something slightly bigger than those tiny phone screens. This was followed by Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other manufacturers going slightly smaller than that with so-called mini-tablets.

Some might say we can't get it right. Others would say variety is the spice of our TV lives. New living room screens are averaging around 55 inches, with no doubt, many people thinking about 65 inches, 75 inches, and beyond.



New York residents have been complaining about the 6,000-square-foot screen on the side of the Port Authority bus terminal. They say the screen is causing them to forgo sleep, thinking, and perhaps even watching TV in their homes.

To prevent car accidents, digital outdoor purveyors have refrained from putting moving video on billboards alongside roads in big cities. That's not only a distraction from driving, but from texting as well!

Fractionalization of media means one thing to some people: doing everything bigger, louder, and with more impact to get people's attention. Freedom of speech might be the marketers’ rallying cry.

Consider some boundaries of personal space.  Are those big mega light-producing screens that bombard citizens through living room windows in tight apartment urban dwellings what marketers really want?

Bigger screens in large public, tourist-attraction spaces -- like Times Square or Disneyland -- might be welcomed, just like bigger screens are in the home. Anywhere else seems like an intrusion.

Smaller screens? That's only an intrusion from other stuff you need to be doing, like paying attention to those standing right next to you.

Content providers say they need to be on all screens. But sometimes it feels like they’re copping out by not deciding where they really want their content

Their preference is surely to be on the screen that brings in the most money. But they'll also take dollars, dimes and pennies on all those other screens – whether “passive” video for single viewers on smartphones and tablets, to aggressive videos that bombard masses of people via giant outdoor displays.

1 comment about "Does Size Matter? Bigger Screens, Smaller Screens, And Screens In Between".
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  1. Bruce May from Bizperity, November 18, 2011 at 12:33 p.m.

    I was at an industry conference in 2006 (probably CTIA… I don’t remember now) when a producer came up to me and proudly showed me the television show he had produced specifically for delivery over a mobile phone. He pointed out the unique production qualities which included among other things, more close-ups, simple set designs, fewer moving objects, simplified graphics, just to name a few. I was impressed because someone had just showed me the right way to do video/TV on mobile. It also confirmed my strongly held opinion at the time that mobile screens would have to be much bigger to make mobile video a viable medium because it was also obvious to me that few producers would ever go to all the trouble that this one did to create a visual product that was easy to view on such a small screen. I continued to downplay the viability of mobile video for this reason ever since. It was not until the iPad came along that someone finally put 2 and 2 together. The screen was bigger than what I thought would be necessary but as it turns out, I thing Steve got it just about right. I am not saying that video on phones will not be relevant but I think that we are going to see its primary use be for one-on-one video conferencing. Entertainment video just needs to be bigger to be really experienced the right way.

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