How the TV Industry is Changed Forever by Tech Gadgets

The things Gen-Xers remember as second nature to the TV industry — prime time, cliffhangers, hours wasted in front of “the idiot box” — Millennials may not remember at all. With new TV technology, prime time is gone. For the most part, so too are the agonizingly (or at least, annoyingly) long waits between seasons after a cliffhanger. With today’s technology offering a dizzying array of programs across increasingly flexible platforms, the television experience can be ordered to fit into any schedule (say, the flight from Austin to New York) and any space (your tray table and coat pocket.) Among all the new conveniences, though, the greatest advantage our tech gadgets have given audiences doesn’t have anything to do with technology at all. The quality of television has vastly improved, almost in step with technological progress in display definition. Children of the ’80s and ’90s were warned the “idiot box” (or the “boob tube,” depending which coast was closer) was going to rot our brains. And really, it was fair warning. The TV industry was largely comprised of networks coasting along on one or two hit shows during prime time, otherwise banking on the competition having nothing better to offer. Being the thing people did on the Thursday nights they when they didn’t have anything on the calendar was one thing. Getting the attention of an audience with almost...

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