TV viewing goes high-tech

Friday, June 6, 2003

Many of the gadgets of modern technology wind up in cluttered closets, bulging basements or overflowing garages. But gadgets that affect the way we watch TV -- which occupies our time more than just about anything else -- find wide acceptance and a ready market.

These technological advances are affecting not only the way we watch TV, but how commercial advertisers grab our attention. Thanks to digital video recorders operated by sophisticated remote controls, viewers can just about avoid commercials altogether if they are so inclined.

As a result, there are two interesting developments. One is the placement of advertised products in regular programming so that viewers can't tell the difference between their favorite show and an advertisement. The other is makers of commercials are producing high-quality entertainment in 30-second segments that often appeals to viewers as much -- or more -- than regular programming.

What does the future hold? TV programming without commercial interruptions -- and no zapping -- while viewers are given opportunities to make online purchases of items worn and used by characters on their favorite shows.

Think of it as a merger between eBay and the Matrix.

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