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That Thing Called Television

In today’s NYT, Verlyn Klinkenborg takes a look at that “thing” called television:

Think of all the devices we carry that snatch signal out of the air or intercept it as it streams past over cable of some kind or another. Think of all the possible sources of signal — not merely network and cable but Youtube and iTunes and a million more as broadband broadens. A device like TiVo used to seem remarkable: sitting at home, watching television all day long, saving what we asked it to save or what it thought we might like to have saved. But there is no such thing as cosmic TiVo, dialed in to all the signals that pass through our lives, coordinating and saving Web sources and air sources and cable sources and personal sources, like home videos and digital photos. We ourselves are the tuner in the television set, modulating all these inputs, carrying them to the new flat-screen panel for viewing, one by one. The idea of sitting down in front of “the television” and watching “what’s on” seems almost romantically archaic. Until you try it. Then it just seems archaic.

1 thought on “That Thing Called Television”

  1. Both Klinkenborg’s musings and your article remind me of one of my favorite little intellectual histories, “The History of the Atom in Western Thought” (Pullman). Just when people thought they knew the fundamental building blocks of things, they tended to find out that there another “turtle” beneath the prior one. And of course the “porousness” of a world of atoms is something we all find intuitively hard to accept, but is scientifically irrefutable.

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