Summer 2006 Critics Poll: Critics Mixed on iPod Viewing

Jul 17, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Asked whether viewers will continue to embrace watching television shows on portable devices such as iPods, critics gave wildly mixed responses. Some said they had never tried the format. Others said portable players are already widely accepted and will continue to gain popularity. Still others derided the viewing experience as inherently unsatisfying.

“It’s just cool to watch ‘Lost’ on an iPod,” wrote Bill Goodykoontz, an Arizona Republic writer firmly in the pro-iPod camp. “It gives viewers more control over what they watch, when and where.”

Alex Strachan of CanWest News Service countered: “Anyone, given a choice, would rather watch a visually gorgeous series like ‘Lost’ on a 50-inch plasma TV rather than a 2-inch iPod.”

Charlie McCollum of the San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News agreed: “While all the attention has gone to tech advances such as the iPod, the average consumer has been rushing to the store to buy big-screen HD systems.”

But the most common response was a mixture of sentiments, with the writers observing that portable-player viewing is great for travel but will never replace the in-home viewing experience as the preferred method of television consumption.

“If the technology gets more facile, viewers will add online and portable-player viewing to the flow of their TV enjoyment, but nothing will supplant the ‘theater’ experience of sitting down on a comfy sofa, with all the edibles at hand, to watch a favorite show, free from any other distractions,” wrote Julio Martinez of Latin Heat Magazine.

Freelance TV columnist Anne Bannon added that the nature of television makes it a mistake to expect video players to become as ubiquitous as music players. “Think about it. The glory of the iPod is that you can take your music with you to provide background music,” she wrote. “TV is too consuming … [and] inherently passive. If you’re actively doing something else, you’re not as likely to be watching.”