There’s an interesting discussion at Technologizer on the subject of how people watch television today, and how their viewing habits might change in the future.
In TV Today: It’s Still About Lean Forward vs. Sit Back, Jose Alvear wrote,
Even the term watching TV can be misconstrued, since there are so many options today. Does it mean watching a live broadcast TV channel as it is being aired? Does it mean viewing a show on-demand from your DVR? Does it mean buying the latest Daily Show episode from iTunes and watching it on your iPhone during your morning commute? Or maybe you’d rather go to NBC.com and watch the full episodes of Heroes for free (with limited commercials, of course).
Jose compares and contrasts the experience of sitting back to watch TV (in the living room, passively via a television set) and leaning forward (watching video on a PC, laptop, or portable media player.)
He finds that for himself, the lean-forward experience lends itself best to short videos. This is because the lean-forward experience typically happens in an environment where other stuff is going on that demands attention — for example, you might run a YouTube clip in one corner of your screen while you work. When you’re sitting on the couch watching your television set, you are more likely to give it your full (or at least more) attention.
Some commenters go beyond the lean-forward/sit-back model and describe a scenario where a viewer has many content sources going at once, some active, some passive:
There is, of course, the middle ground of sitting back on the to watch TV (on the TV), with my laptop either on my lap or on the coffee table in front of me. At the same time, though, I think you’re on to something w/consumer habits changing. The music industry is already more familiar than they’d like to be w/the withering away of long-form (album) formats in favor of singles. I’d imagine we’ll see the same thing with TV. — Pete
I like watching TV from my couch, with an Ipod touch, T-Mobile G1, Blackberry or Nintendo DS to distract me when the show loses my attention. I’ll typically still follow the dialog. If I bring out my laptop I’ve relegated the TV to background noise, or it’s playing music videos. — mathiastck
“TV on Your PC’ via Windows Media Center is, of course, very much a lean-forward experience. But add in an extender such as Xbox 360, and it can be either lean-forward or sit-back.
For my part, I tend to watch television shows on a laptop, and in DVD form on the TV set. (A habit that’s become even more pronounced recently: when my wife and I moved we decided not to renew our cable TV subscription, so the only station we can pick up clearly on the set is Univision.)
How about you?
Photo by bellyanz1