There once was a broad stretch of time (roughly before the internet, but well after dinosaurs roamed the earth) when most media could be divided into two types: active and passive.
Passive media were things like radio, TV and movies - things that you could just let wash over you as you watched, listened or ignored while folding clothes in the living room.
Active media were newspapers, magazines, crossword puzzles - anything that required some persistent effort or minimal physical interaction, if only to turn a page or somehow annotate.
Of course, I don't remember pulling any muscles while "actively" reading Moby Dick back in the 1980s, but I do remember "passively" fighting with my brother over the TV remote to the point where one of us needed stitches, so these distinctions only held together to a point even in simpler days.
In the 21st century, we've tried to upgrade this concept to "lean forward" and "lean back" media; the idea being that TV shows inspire our spines to recline, while Web surfing compels us to sit up straight (if only to be on alert for surprise supervisor cubicle inspections).
But the day is fast approaching when our active/passive-forward/back media will form an eternal bond in our entertainment centres.
A tiny but clear sign of the coming union is Clik (free; iPhone, Android), an app that allows you to watch YouTube content on any Web-enabled screen through your smartphone. Although many may find it merely an amusing gimmick at this point, others could see it as a key step towards the day when we can easily control all our big screens with the tiny one in our hand.
Remote-control apps are nothing new on either iOS or Android platforms, but Clik's simplicity sets it apart.
The app actually turns on your camera when it opens and asks you to go to clikthis.com on any computer monitor or Web-enabled TV and take a picture of a QR code, a kind of barcode shaped like a snowflake.
Once you do, a browser window magically appears on your large screen and a YouTube search page pops up on your smartphone. Any video you navigate to on the tiny screen will then play on the big one.
For now, Clik can at least nudge YouTube from the desktop to the living room, from the active to passive media list. But as a concept, it promises to streamline the whole Web experience for the masses.
And for our tired, forward-leaning backs, I suspect it will come not a moment too soon.
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