What Happened to Picture-in-Picture?

If you are of a certain age, you remember TVs with Picture-in-Picture. This was one of the most popular features that seemed to be the future of TV. The problem is that people don’t buy TVs very often. For some, the last time they bought a TV, Picture-in-Picture was the hot tech. Now that their ailing TV has finally bit the dust, and they are looking for a new one, they have one question. What happened to Picture-in-Picture? Let’s discuss!

It’s Still Around…Sort Of

There are TVs out there that still have PiP (Picture-in-Picture). It exists. Not just in flat panel TVs but also in projectors. PiP isn’t very common and often doesn’t work the way you want. Since so many of our devices multitask (game systems that double as disc players and streaming solutions), there are a lot of limitations. If you want PiP to work from the TV, it can only work with individual sources. That means that each source must have its own cable. If you are trying to get PiP from the same source (the aforementioned game console), then the source must have the ability.

The Need for Picture-in-Picture Evaporated with New Technology

Why did people want PiP in the first place? The answer is time. When multiple shows were simultaneously broadcast on different networks, it was possible to miss one show while watching another. PiP allowed you to at least watch the second during the commercials for the first. A couple of things came around that eliminated that need.

The first, and most important, was DVRs. DVRs (Digital Video Recorders) allowed you to record multiple shows even if they were playing at the same time. You could then watch them back later. If you were using PiP simply watch something else during commercials, DVRs also helped. They allowed you to skip the commercials. Another nail in the PiP coffin.

Add streaming services and devices with multiple functions and consumer interest in Picture-in-Picture evaporated.

What’s Your Picture-in-Picture Solution Now?

If you still want PiP, can you get it? Sure, you could buy a TV that supports it, but that really limits your options. There are PiP devices out there but, again, they can only switch between different devices. What if you want to watch something else that is on the same device you are currently using? The answer is in your hand.

The “new” PiP is your phone. Not interested in what is shown on the screen? Whip out your phone and you have a handheld PiP device. Yes, we are aware that you have been telling your kids to put away their phones for years. We are also aware that it is really annoying when other people use their phones while you are trying to watch TV.

Now you know what PiP feels like for everyone else in the room.

What really happened to Picture-in-Picture was that no one liked it. And they still don’t.

1 Comment on What Happened to Picture-in-Picture?

  1. Pete d

    I liked pic n pic to watch sports. I had a big screen where I could watch one show, split screen or one pic with 4 other shows on the right side. It allowed me to watch up to 5 games at once. Now I have to switch from game to game.

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