Once upon a time, it was considered a selling point of a television if it had picture-in-picture capability – the option of watching more than one program at the same time, with one appearing much larger on the screen than the other. Now manufacturers and developers are focusing on thinking outside the box, literally – pushing multi-screen viewing for consumers with cell phones, tablets and televisions to watch all at once.
Using a mobile device has become second nature for most. A Pew research study found that approximately one-quarter of people are using their smartphones to send texts, check social networks and browse the web during commercial breaks, rather than channel-surfing. This is what multi-screen viewing is all about – always having a device on and in your face, providing advertising space and a constant stream of entertainment.
This explains why phones like the Galaxy SIII, the Galaxy Note and the HTC One are offering displays pushing the 5-inch mark, catering to consumers who will probably eventually stream television programs to their phones from sites like Hulu or Netflix. These “phablet” devices, functioning as a smartphone but nearly big enough to pass for a Nexus 7, are combining the best aspects of both devices into one package that may someday dominate the television experience as well.
This idea is nothing new to computer enthusiasts. Many companies and individuals utilize multiple monitors enabling them to multitask and potentially, be more productive. Perhaps this is the mindset which has carried over to the television world.