Already the way we watch television is transforming and changing every day. Already we are no longer tied to cable or even a traditional television. Some of the issue is there are a lot of things that could be mentioned about television.
One is changing the way we watch we television. No longer is it limited to just the physical television in the living room. Now our phones are portable televisions that we can take anywhere.
Not only is it about how we watch television, but the type of programming. In many Science Fiction stories we see an increase in reality television, but how the reality television gets put together and who participates evolves and changes. At the same time with the increase in technology there are a lot of options for how television programming might get put together in the future.
How We Watch
There are a lot of examples in Science Fiction for how we watch television. Sometimes it is the idea that we have multiple screens all with a different show on. The idea of multi-faceted watching is already starting with how many places and devices that we can watch. At the same time the next step might be to add interactivity to the television, which on some level is also already happening (think Live Tweeting).
This requires people to watch live and use phones and other things, but what if the live “studio” audience could people watching in the comfort of their own homes? Suddenly you can participate in the television show on a whole different level. No longer just passive participation, but being able to actively be there in some form.
What We Watch
The other piece that comes up, only somewhat is what we watch on television. Often times in Science Fiction it is almost like television becomes the new gladiator ring. Either by the use of people who have no other choice (such as prisoners) or basically doing it as a form of conscription when your number is up you get thrown into the games for everyone to watch – like in the finale episodes of Doctor Who series 1.
The other direction this could go is people voluntarily filming their lives (which we already have a lot of now), but the increase in technology and personal devices makes that more of a possibility. In some ways it is not just about advancing the technology, but the access the technology grants. There is a question of whether we will reach a pinnacle of entertainment technology for television, but with the access to have everyone creating new shows for people to consume – unless YouTube replaces TV first…