THE BLOG
05/09/2013 01:07 pm ET Updated Jul 09, 2013

Backwards TVs, Harmonized Commutes

My roommates and I are reorganizing some stuff in our apartment as some people are moving out. While we moved our TV yesterday, the mass of cords and boxes required to make it all work struck me as absurd.

Here's a picture:

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That's the pre-req for watching Game of Thrones and maybe checking email at home.

Here's what it takes to do the same at Konditori, our local coffee shop just around the corner:

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Konditori likely has a router but the point is clear - there's no technology more antiquated than the TV screen and cable provider as the output and conduit for internet media and televised consumption. As if a 21st century Frankenstein looms large in our living rooms and offices, the TV cannot come alive without foreign modems and chargers plugged-in.

Might we soon approach a watershed moment for the TV? Its strange to think the flatscreen - so new and shiny a few years ago - is behind the times. It is because standing alone the set carries a fraction of the value of its in-store price point. Apple TV and Boxee offer a better experience than most providers, but they're still boxes. Lasting innovation should come through the set itself. Custom add-ons should exist as a choice for those that are particular not a necessity for the mainstream. Crazy that it hasn't happened yet.

While TV strikes a tangled pose of closed system struggling to consolidate, a related breakthrough begins to emerge. On the morning journey from Konditori to my office this week, a crackle of noise came through my headphones between stops on the F Train. Like a CD skipping or a distant radio station, my Songza playlist pushed through the silent subway ride, every 3 or 4 seconds a beat hitting my earbuds. Could it be? Streaming music and so internet on the subway?

Wifi is made available at stations every other week it seems but the first hook to reach from my phone to my ears on a moving train was beautiful (Full Disclosure it was Action Bronson - Not Enough Words). Innovation imbues the NY subway and music is the spark. Some comment that internet on the subway will further eliminate human-to-human interaction in public spaces, but when was the last time you struck up a conversation with someone you didn't know on the train? More access means more connecting with the people you want to, less time warner and superfluous boxes in our apartment, and more music all the time, which is always a good thing.