The new TV is a lot more social. Really. That’s why every new fancy-schmancy TV client (yep, forget about tv sets) is adding Instant Messaging to its services. Joost has got it. Microsoft’s XBox for IPTV has got it. Just watch the show and chat it up. Way cool, isn’t it? Or, maybe not.
Fair enough: IM’ing whilst watching Lost not only sounds kinda convincing. It’s happening anyway. But on completely separated devices. You watch the show on your tv set. Your logorrhoea is restricted to your PC. XBox and Joost are putting everything into one basket. Nice. But troublesome.
Think screen real estate: PAL and NTSC tubes have about the same resolution as a 1994 PC, interlace the picture, and if you want to make static text really readable, you have to use billboard like type sizes.
Think privacy: watching tv at its best is shared watching, not Lonelyguy57 vegging on his couch (just me and my Bud). IM (usually) is a more private endeavour. Do you really want to open up you IM account to everybody whose just happening to hang around with you? And whose the one who’s going to use the keyboard?
Think usage: the not so well hidden secret is is how people are watching it. Because they’re not watching. My late grandmother’s viewing habits might be a good example for how people tend to use tv. I guess sometimes she really switched channels, but usually she didn’t care anyway as long as the loudspeaker was turned up to Iron Maiden/MotÃ¶rhead-levels (as you might guess, she was a little bit hard of hearing).
Because TV, like radio, is mostly used as a background noise generator. It pushes tidbits of information, entertainment, and you name it onto a blaring, flickering device somewhere in your living room. Sometimes it triggers a reaction, and you’ll have a look. But mostly, you don’t watch tv, you use it.