Insta-tainment Express: The New Frontier

Anna Ruth Ramos | Staff Writer

It’s a whole new world of digital film and TV with daily and real-time releases, but is that the final stop?

The next time you watch your favorite movie or TV show, imagine that you are actually in that show or movie. Pretend you’re a character seeing what the characters see, existing in the same setting that they are in and even feeling the emotions they’re feeling. This concept is slowly becoming a reality through the technology of virtual reality (VR), and it could very well be the next step not only for video games but also for film and television. Oliver Franklin-Wallis’ article in Wired UK, entitled “Virtual reality will transform cinema in 2016,” explores the potential and limitations of VR applications.


On-Demand is the New Trend (#ODiNT) or Is it?

In the age of Netflix and Hulu, Video-on-Demand and iTunes, our consumption of digital video entertainment has become more and more dependent on instant gratification. Brands that offer digital entertainment have now been turned into verbs. Missed last night’s “Designated Survivor” episode? Hulu it up. Missed “Ghostbusters” in theaters this summer? iTunes or Amazon it.

Audiences went from anticipating beloved TV shows on its first air, to taping over the VHS in the ‘90s, to TiVo-ing or DVR-ing them in the 2000s, to now Hulu-ing it the very next day. These days, we can pull up an app, go on a website, type on a search bar, look for the title of our favorite show and—boom! Streaming mode. Binge-watching commences. Instant gratification.

What’s next?

Reporter Larry Downes writes in the Washington Post that “The future of TV is arriving faster than anyone predicted.” Downes explained that contemporary consumers prefer a more personalized video experience, contributing to audiences watching more at home than at the theater.

In the Chicago Tribune article “Will watching movies in future include texting, or a hit closer to home,” reporter Rosenthal discusses the future decline of the traditional movie theater experience, where moviegoers will no longer have to go to the cinema to watch the latest film but rather sit in the comfort of their own home. Rosenthal quoted director M. Night Shyamalan’s (“Signs,” “The Sixth Sense,” “Lady in the Water”) tweets on the matter: “There are other ways to experience art on your phone (and) laptop. But cinema is a group of strangers sharing stories (and) it belongs in a theater… Film is meant to bring people together.”

The age of customized digital entertainment has arrived, and it is only getting faster, more convenient and more widely available. So either hold on to the experience of the cinema as we know it, or enjoy this present that is sprinting into the future: Netflix it. Hulu it up. Keep calm and binge-watch.

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