VR and DVR: Boddy Discussion Questions

In his introduction, Boddy states the following: “The shifting boundaries between analogue and digital…throw into question traditional critical oppositions between domestic and public media reception, active and passive modes of consumption, and authored and non-authored texts.” (1) I find the opposition between active and passive modes to be a particularly interesting point, and one that Boddy seems to focus on with his discussion of virtual reality and the DVR.

In chapter 5, in evaluating virtual reality, Boddy mentions that many “VR boosters” admitted it was “more compelling to talk about what VR might someday become than to describe the current impoverished devices” (68). This brought to mind the various utopian visions we have looked at throughout the semester and specifically made me think of the 3D TV ads that Sam posted last week. These ads suggested world-altering shifts in our television experience not unlike the talk surrounding VR. They also seemed focused on some kind of physical interactivity, featuring people reaching out to touch things and ordering dinosaurs back into their televisions.

Do these 3D television ads suggest a desire for physical interactivity in television, or are they utopian ideals used to sell 3D TV but not actually expected or desired? VR was appealing to think about, but it did not take off.

Boddy notes the “merging of computer and TV,” (131) and the modes of interaction with each, in the rise of the DVR. He also points out that control over programming provided by DVR shifts television from an invasive threat to a “valued domestic resource” (129). What does this say about the shifting boundaries that Boddy mentions in his introduction? How does the level of perceived user agency and mode of interaction affect how we view certain media forms?

For your viewing pleasure, the crazy Marines ad that Boddy references:

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