Sunday, April 23, 2017

Core Post 4: Lotz and Streaming _ India Wilson

Lotz's piece, Television Outside the Box ends with the statement, “We must now think about television as a highly diversified medium; even as “watching television” has continued to signify a set of widely recognizable behaviors, the singularity and coherence of this experience has come to be fleeting” (80). Lotz focuses primarily on technological developments leading up to the DVR and portability on mobile devices. I wonder how Lotz would view recent developments in streaming. At one point he describes the older “holy grail” of television as a sort of movement toward the quality of theatrical viewing. Today with larger budgets, content, named stars, and the ability to even watch television in a theatrical style (i.e. the way we do in class during our screenings), one might posit that television has achieved and, in its portability and the ability to ‘binge watch,’ potentially even surpassed theatrical viewing in many ways.

With streaming, we see a similar increase in the control that Lotz describes, but streaming surpasses the hard-tech innovation of the DVR, in that, streaming services provide mobility and control (in the different devices on which you can view your television and the time that you choose to view), but simultaneously create their own content, often geared toward the ’streaming experience.’ As streaming services like Netflix and Hulu continue to expand their range of viewing opportunities, to include limited series and variations on serialized content, I think the definition of “television” as a highly diversified medium will become even more blurred. With stars like Brad Pitt making feature deals on streaming services, Television comes to now represent a number of things not previously considered under it’s umbrella. One could even potentially see the creation of multiple hour content that the viewer can choose to start and stop at any point or watch continuously: the ultimate binge viewing. Only time will tell.  

1 comment:

  1. I wonder what kinds of pushback we will see as we move toward the streaming singularity. Who from the industry and/or from the cultural criticism point of view will support these collapsing boundaries and who will decry them? Underlying this is the question of "quality." As you say, India, the experience of watching contemporary "television" has some advantages over watching a narrative feature in a movie theater. But there are still certain cultural barriers separating these media, even as they become increasingly blurred. As much as I am interested in observing this convergence technologically, I am also interested in seeing how the culture surrounding it is articulated.