We’re growing increasingly used to our smartphones and tablets taking over certain aspects of our lives. They’ve already revolutionized the ways in which we perform basic communication, and each year, and with each new model, they seem to take over some new function. With sources like limitless gaming apps and entertainment streaming services, they’re changing the ways in which we enjoy leisure time; with apps like Sharefile and even network inclusive cloud services, they’re changing the ways in which we store and share data securely; and they’re even influencing the ways in which we travel with services for booking travel reservations, accommodations, etc.
But now, mobile technology seems to be on the verge of changing something much more deeply ingrained in our way of life: how we view and control television. For some 40 years, TV viewing has been largely the same, in terms of method and practice. Of course, in that span of time the television industry has expanded enormously, and we can now enjoy all kinds of content we couldn’t access even 5 years ago. But the format has been the same since the 70’s: we sit down, we grab the remote, and we watch TV and flip channels. It’s one of the most robotic practices in our lives.
As illuminated recently by Business Insider, however, this basic practice may be about to change, and it’s because Americans are increasingly distracted by their phones and tablets while watching television. This article claims that 85% of American television watchers have a mobile device in hand while tuning in to TV; meanwhile, Nielsen states that 70% of TV-time tweets are actually sent during programs, rather than during commercials! These numbers indicate that people are interacting both more and less with television. On the one hand, people seem less inclined to change channels during commercials, or focus 100% on a show. On the other hand, people are clearly very busy sharing their opinions and thoughts on shows, which is a whole different kind of involvement.
In addition to this relative social revolution occurring in the way we watch television, there is also a possibility that most of us will soon be using our mobile devices to actually control our TVs and channels. This goes back to the figure of 85% of Americans already holding mobile devices when watching television. It’s also already showing in some new mobile products. Consider, for example, the LG G2, a brand new high-end smartphone that among its fairly impressive array of features counts a sort of application for designing and hooking up your own television remote on your phone.
Ultimately, it seems that the mobile revolution is still growing and expanding to new areas of our lives. And with mobile phone use rampant among TV watchers, it seems only a matter of time before ordinary television is catered to our social media needs, and before we can control television from our devices.