Well, This Is Depressing

Is this one giant step backward for technology? Another example of the evils of technology? Or just another case of misguided youth? It's hard to say. And I don't want to read too much into a small thing. But sometimes trends portend the future, and in this case, this is a future I don't particularly appreciate.

Enough beating around the bush (or as they say in journalistic circles – I've successfully click-baited you so now I can disclose the headline). Here's the deal: More than 6% of U.S. households watch TV exclusively on mobile devices, i.e. cellphones.

Six percent. That's according to some outfit called the Advertising Research Foundation which presumably has a handle on this sort of thing. And I don't think it's primarily a question of impoverishment. These days, a big-screen TV costs about as much as a head of cabbage. Speaking from an admittedly privileged position, I think most households can afford to buy a TV, if they want one.

In fact, digging deeper into this survey, we see that some households do indeed “prefer” to watch TV on their phones. We are left with the inescapable conclusion that given the choice between a big TV and a tiny TV, millions of households are choosing a tiny TV. It's entirely possible that many households have a big TV against one wall, and it's unplugged while the phones are thriving. I know. That is a sobering thought. Knock back that tumbler of bourbon and pour yourself another.

That six percent figure — the Foundation advises us that's an increase of a million households since 2022. That's not a blip. That's a trend. The Foundation's Paul Donato says that the growing popularity of shrinking TVs "shows no signs of letting up, particularly because younger households drive the trend."

Ah — just as I suspected, the problem is kids. And, if you do the math, kids generally last longer than us former kids so demographically and actuarially, speaking, they own the future. In a world aspiring to own a bigger TV, the new world aspires to own a smaller one. Actually, I don't blame kids. I blame phones. Let's not beat around the bush: Phones are evil.

I can see it now, as clear as day. After the funeral, the kids are cleaning out my home theater. They are trying to figure out how (and why) I jammed such an enormous screen into that room. (Hint: I removed the window, brought in the TV, and replaced the window.) One of them remarks, “Old people really liked these big TVs.” The other kid, barely glancing up from his phone, says, “Old people were weird.” From my overhead vantage point, looking down, I see that he is watching Lawrence of Arabia on a 3-inch screen. In portrait mode. I weep.

Well, that was depressing.

jeff-henning's picture

Hey, I’ll watch talking heads on news or a late night monologue on my cell phone and it doesn’t really affect the presentation. For the most part, the video is not really the most important thing.

I wouldn’t be surprised, if five years or so from now, the Apple Vision IV headset (the one that doesn’t cost more than a cheap used car) isn’t THE thing to watch video on. And I mean everywhere… Walking down the street, on a bus, on a bench in the park, etc.

Young people of every generation have been doing stupid things forever.

FAQMD1's picture

The iPod reduced music quality while allowing a person to carry their whole music collection anywhere they went.

Thankfully, we've come back from the reduced quality of music and can now enjoy high quality sound from our music ...

Not sure what the future holds for TVs but what if phones of the future have a short throw projector built-in to them which would allow a person to set up and project a big screen picture wherever they are at the time ...

dnoonie's picture

My 90+ YO mother likes watching youtube videos in bed on her phone. Hu, maybe that's why she got the Galaxy Fold.