The Reality Is, Watching T.V. Just Isn't The Same Anymore

By: Andrew Barnett
Auburn University at Montgomery
Department of Communication & Dramatic Arts

You don’t need a television to watch television anymore; this is a fact.

And, more people are cutting their ties with the cable company than ever before. Why be bothered with a TV or pay for cable, when video is available on your phone, your tablet, your laptop and even your game console?

Narcos Cover

There has also been an influx of streaming services that offer network TV programming and now, original programming. These new technologies have made parenting more difficult than ever. There is so much video available to everyone at any time that we can barely keep up with what children are viewing.
Television has become very unfiltered and pretty much anything aside from complete obscenity is accepted. With all of these changes to morality and technology, are we even sure what we are watching anymore?
According to IMDB and, some of the most popular shows on television are “The Walking Dead,” “Game Of Thrones” and “Arrow.” These shows have similar qualities-“The Walking Dead” is about zombies, “Game of Thrones” involves medieval characters involved in a mythical game, and “Arrow” is about a comic book superhero.
Does the popularity of these shows mean that people watch TV as a way to escape from reality? That may be true, but other popular shows such as “Scandal,” “Empire” and “Power” are based around drama and suspense. You also have the reality TV shows that attract millions of viewers. Due to this complexity, it is hard to gauge what people are looking for in television.
The same holds true for children’s programming. About 15 years ago, kids mostly watched family friendly cartoons. Today, the children’s programming has expanded beyond cartoons and into more reality based shows. Not only that, but there is an entire genre of adult cartoons that didn’t necessarily exist years ago. This makes it hard for some people to gauge what children should or should not be watching. Most children have access to every kind of technology, and with the popularity of YouTube they can watch almost anything.

Streaming Study Infographic
With television changing to a more “anything goes” culture, there are many streaming services that have infiltrated the market. According to, the best streaming services include Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime, Sling TV and Playstation Vue. Netflix has become a phenomenon in itself: it is $8 a month, and you can watch it anywhere. They have the past and current content from cable, premium cable, and even their original series. Shows such as “Narcos” and “Orange is the New Black” took off after launching on Netflix.
According to, there are over 40 million Netflix subscribers in the United States as of April 2015. Streaming services have changed the game, and even some traditional companies, like the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Network, have dabbled in streaming.
Streaming Stats
Technology is always changing, and television is not exempt from that continuous evolution. There is a new technology called a streaming device, which allows you to connect to your television and stream video from another device like a laptop or a smart phone. These devices also allow you to access streaming services such as Hulu and Netflix through your television set. According to, the best streaming devices are The Roku 3, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Google Chrome and Google Nexus Player and game consoles such as the PS4 and the XboxOne.
As the years go by, things continue to evolve and improve over time. Television has been around since the 1920s, and it has transformed many times over the years. Today’s television is something that nobody could have imagined even ten years ago.
It’s safe to say that TV isn’t exactly TV anymore.