Long live TV – TV isn’t going anywhere, but its future lies in the viewers’ hands

This year marks the 85th birthday of the television. Looking back, TV has grown up a lot from the black and white, fuzzy images, to the rabbit ears and clunky remote controls into an incredible phenomenon that shows no signs of slowing down.

Today’s generation of television viewers demand a more customized and social TV experience. They are constantly glued to their mobile devices, and in many cases, their smartphones are their TV, giving them the ability to watch what they want, anywhere, anytime – and stay connected at the same time.

One thing’s for sure, television isn’t what it used to be and it’s evolving at a tremendously fast pace. Here are a few ways television as we know it will change over the coming years…

Mobile TV becomes table stakes

The days of rushing home to catch your favourite soap, tune into the big game or watch the 11 o’clock news are long gone. With the advent of On Demand programming, PVR, and even more powerful wireless networks, Canadians can watch their favourite TV shows in the palm of their hands, on their smartphone or tablet anywhere they have a wireless connection.

BroadcastersSS_TBF-Channels_Blog02 have caught on and are now delivering content on your schedule and on the device or screen of your choice – giving you, the viewer, ultimate control. TV service providers and broadcasters alike are adapting to this by providing applications that allow subscribers to stream live and On Demand content right on their smartphone or tablet like TELUS’ Optik on the go app or CTV’s GO app, for example.

But apps are just the beginning; what about wearing your TV? In the future, we’ll see an uptake in wearable technology as another way for consumers to watch their favourite content on-the-go. Imagine streaming a 3D movie, your favourite show or the World Cup through virtual headsets like Oculus Rift – taking the “on-the-go” experience to an entirely new level.

Personalization will grow in leaps and bounds

Just as consumers want to be able to watch their favourite programming on-the-go, they also want their TV content to be more personalized. In the near future, intelligent algorithms and networks will be able to help users make programming choices by recommending content based on their viewing habits and browser history. This type of filtering will be even smarter, exploring the web to seek content that is specifically of interest to the viewer – including new formats of content that are increasingly becoming go-to sources for younger audiences and millennials, like YouTube, Instagram and Vine.

Wouldn’t it be cool if you could ask your TV to recommend programming based on your moods, too?

In the coming years, TV will be smart enough to take cues from your body language, facial expressions and posture while watching TV to determine what you find boring or interesting and make recommendations based on those findings. The Internet of Things really comes into play here, and could offer additional ways to support this like tiny sensors that can analyze a user’s movements on the couch or calculate breathing frequencies.

TV will become even more social

Today, we’re already accustomed to gathering together to watch our favourite videos or shows and sharing our thoughts and opinions via social media – making it feel as though we’re commiserating with our friends in real life about the latest episode of “Game of Thrones” or “The Walking Dead.” But the future of TV will open doors for social communities to come together in a more immersive way. With mobile apps like tvtag, viewers can simply “check in” to the shows, movies and sports they’re watching on their computer or mobile device and share highlights from the latest celebrity lip-sync battle featured on “The Jimmy Fallon Show,” or the polarizing call during the football game.

In the future, viewers will even be able to influence what they’re watching by providing feedback and possibly becoming participants. Voting systems attached to reality TV shows like “Dancing with the Stars” are current examples of this, but in the coming years, more TV sets will be equipped with cameras just as laptops are today. This will make for new formats of shows and variations of interactive games which may actually turn some audience members into active participants.

Indeed, the way we define “TV” today is changing, but our love for video is not going anywhere. If anything, our appetite for great storytelling and new, dynamic formats is only growing. By keeping a finger on the pulse of changing demographics, consumer demands, and new technologies; the thing we know as TV today will continue to play a key role in the way we entertain ourselves well into the future.