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The "Black Box" Fallacy: all media content is going to flow through a single black box into our living rooms (or, in the mobile scenario, through black boxes we carry around with us everywhere we go) (Jenkins 14). Part of what makes the black box concept a fallacy is that it reduces media change to technological change and strips aside the cultural levels we are considering here (Jenkins 15).

As Cheskin Research explained in a 2002 report, “The old idea of convergence was that all devices would converge into one central device that did everything for you (à la the universal remote). What we are now seeing is the hardware diverging while the content converges. …Your email needs and expectations are different whether you’re at home, work, school, commuting, the airport, etc., and these different devices are designed to suit your needs for accessing content depending on where you are-your situated context.”17

This pull toward more specialized media appliances coexists with a push toward more generic devices. We can see the proliferation of black boxes as symptomatic of a moment of convergence: because no one is sure what kinds of functions should be combined, we are forced to buy a range of specialized and incompatible appliances.

On the other end of the spectrum, we may also be forced to deal with an escalation of functions within the same media appliance, functions that decrease the ability of that appliance to serve its original function, and so we can’t get a cell phone that is just a phone (Jenkins 15). There will be no single black box that controls the flow of media into our homes. Thanks to the proliferation of channels and the portability of new computing and telecommunications technologies, we are entering an era when media will be everywhere (Jenkins 16).

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