Sunday, December 12, 2010

Bathroom Monologues: Devolution of Television

A curious device that never could have made it in the wild. Not simply because something in the wild wouldn't be civilized enough to make it, but because its path has been one of survival of the weakest. At every stage it offered another reason for it to die out, and yet it flourished in a grand example of counter-evolution. It began as a behemoth device, the center of living rooms as much for its entertainment value as for its bulk. You could not have it in the living room without it being in the center, much as you couldn't have a sun in a solar system without everything falling into orbit around it. Over time the fat devices got bigger screens, and color settings. Then richer color settings. More knobs, which were more likely to break off. The wired remote controller became wireless, with more buttons, which were more likely to stick or go on the fritz. The box itself grew to "big screen," which were liable to die if ever dropped, due simply to mass they packed into the impact. They went flat panel, but remained heavy, and curiously came with recommendations to be hung from walls. More TVs were broken falling from failed wall mounts than any other incident in television history. They adapted symbiotic relationships to the cable box, satellite dish, VHS player, DVD player, BluRay player, home theatre system, iPod mount, Netflix streaming box, and various videogame consoles, such that soon no one had simply one wireless remote, and no universal remote could reliably keep track of its functions. The sets went "HD," to have the highest fidelity picture quality ever, and in doing so developed such sensitive screens that if someone brushed up against them they would scratch permanently. Even dust could mar the viewing panel. Soon they went beyond HD, to 3D, requiring users to wear uncomfortable glasses that often resulting in headaches or nausea from prolonged use. Some sets were promised to eventually not require the cumbersome glasses. They would have even worse effects on their owners. The reason was not obvious, but expected from the device's lineage.


  1. The evolution of the television. Interesting train of thought...

  2. A disturbing trend. Time to rejuvenate the Luddites.
    Great thinking, John.
    Adam B @revhappiness


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