For decades, television has been the most popular telecommunication medium in America and it has drastically evolved from the simple one channel black and white programming of the early days to the great satellite programming with hundreds of channels that many of us know and love today; but because it is a form of technology, would it be unreasonable to think that it will eventually cease to exist, having been replaced by something "bigger and better?" Below are several reasons why television as we know it could soon become obsolete.
1. Rise in online ("alternative") media and journalism -
One of the major things many Americans watch television for is news. Various types of news and analysis programs have evolved over the years, from the average "evening news" on local channels to analysis and opinion programs such as FOX News' O'Reilly Factor
starring Bill O'Reilly and HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher
. There are even several "news spoof" programs which parody traditional news, the most prominent of which are The Daily Show with John Stewart
and The Colbert Report
. But with the growing variety of media available online, traditional television news may be slowly becoming a thing of the past. Several online media networks have been evolving over the last several years. The Huffington Post
, Breitbart TV
, Glenn Beck's The Blaze
, and Alex Jones' Prison Planet TV
all currently reach millions of people online. In addition, independent and alternative journalists and groups of journalists currently feature easy-access news, opinion and reporting online. Some of these include We Are Change
, Adam vs. The Man
, Mark Dice
, Liberty Battles
, the Intellihub
and The Anti-Media
2. Popular shows migrating online -
Soap operas have always been one of the most important pieces of daytime television in America but in 2011 it was announced
that two of the most popular in network television were being cancelled. One Life to Live
and All My Children
would end production after decades of being aired on ABC. Earlier this year, however, it was reported
that both of the soaps would be returning in April; but not on television. Prospect Park, a production company that produces shows like Wilfred and Royal Pains, is picking up the two soaps with plans to have them featured online via Hulu and Hulu Plus, starting in late April. These are not the only shows available on line, however. Most television networks have online streaming where anyone can access and view episodes of their favorite shows.
3. Online Networks -
There are several online networks and ways to access video content online. Hulu and Hulu Plus have already been mentioned but they are not the only ones by any stretch of the imagination. Of course YouTube, while it still features informal content uploaded by anyone who has access to a webcam, is slowly becoming more formal with podcasts, news casts and programs being featured on the site. In addition to this, Amazon
offers the Amazon Instant Video service which allows users to purchase and download movies and television shows directly onto their computer or portable media device.
4. Live Streaming -
If skeptics of the migration of television online are worried about live content, the internet has that as well! Several live streaming services such as Ustream allow anyone, professional or not, to stream video and audio content live online. Even YouTube now allows live streaming with their "Google + Hangouts" service.
So what does all of this mean? Only time will tell if traditional television will eventually become obsolete but one thing is for sure: the internet will continue to grow.