Confessions Of A Former TV Viewer

My name is Tess, and as part of a summer internship at MediaPost, my editor asked me to write this column describing my experience with television.

I can only characterize my relationship with TV as confounding, albeit short-lived. 

The television was once the center of attention. It sat on a large wooden cabinet in my living room, a heavy metal box adorned with spirals of thick wire. But this arrangement, as hideously extravagant as my family remembers, exemplified the TV’s acceptance in the mid-2000s.

It was as much entertainment as it was functional, the base of its cabinet often used for storage, its wide frame perfect for little trinkets or picture frames.

I think fondly of those evenings when we idly scrolled through cable networks, or ordered a DVD from Netflix (at that point only existing as a movie rental platform). Watching was a collective activity.



Streaming services introduced an isolated experience, at the wrong age. I was 13 when my family first subscribed to Netflix, and at that time I petulantly withdrew to my bedroom as the TV became available on my phone. But soon my parents and friends alike discovered the ease of streaming, at once abandoning the communality aligned with the screen. 

Around the same time our TV was replaced by something more sleek, infinitely thinner and thus modern. The cabinet went too, with the new surface proudly displaying our wireless devices.

But the new pieces became more closely aligned to decoration, the large black screen so regularly off it looked like a piece of contemporary art. It has since been rarely used.

Watching TV with family or friends requires a group effort, a collective agreement to dedicate time to the event.

We became accustomed to the variety and volume of streaming, never once needing to wait for a program to show in the manner that cable provides.

And although advertisements have been acquired by streaming platforms, they pale in comparison to their incessant enormity on live networks, whose programs appear shorter than the ads themselves.

I find them slightly nostalgic and comforting -- as I do the entire cable experience, yet outdated, curated to an older generation of cable enjoyers. 

The popularity of streaming is a social phenomena. I have found myself begging my family for a subscription to Hulu or Max to watch the same show my friends do.

The TV has become antiquated for us, more pricey and irritating, and now usually a medium to display streaming services. Their advertisements cater to the young audience, often showcasing other programs on their platform. 

I still long for the simplicity of evening television. Somehow that experience felt grounded in a social climate. Even the ads promoted physical businesses or products applicable to the real world.

The grandiosity of new streaming has diluted my vision of visual entertainment, but its presence is stark.

Really -- no amount of nostalgia will bring me to switch back to the old ways of television.

1 comment about "Confessions Of A Former TV Viewer".
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  1. Ben B from Retired, July 1, 2024 at 9:13 p.m.

    I can find almost anything on TV I like to watch TV live and if I can't watch live I watch OnDemand on cable a few days later along with sports as well a big sports fan. I also have the TV on all night long I can't sleep without the TV on.

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