Long ago, it used to be that when you wanted to watch a particular scene of a movie- just one scene- you would have to fast forward through a VHS tape to get to the exact moment of the scene. If you knew where it was you could find the time, but if you only knew it was around halfway through the movie, you would watch the comically sped up characters move through the screen frantically as you kept your eyes peeled for a visual of the scene you sought. This was all assuming you had the VHS on hand, and didn’t have to go acquire it.
Things took a giant leap with the DVD player, which allowed for scene selection; you could go through a menu to the part of the movie you wished to watch with relative ease. We are still assuming, of course, that you have the DVD on hand- you’d have to purchase it, or rent it, or borrow it.
Next came the internet and file sharing. This essentially made free (illegal) acquisition of the content possible, and allowed you to click to move to different parts of the movie. High speed internet made this process infinitely faster. But you still had to be at home, so if the desire to pull this scene up struck you on the street, you simply had to wait before you could show your friend this gut busting scene from Anchorman.
Wireless internet was next, but created the same dilemma with finding a wifi spot and connecting with your laptop (that heavy, clunking thing you used to carry around). This in and of itself has become easier as every McDonald’s and Starbucks has wifi now. But now even this would be hilariously limiting. Mobile smartphones got the ability to browse the internet witout wifi, and then with 3g, and now 4g. But now, even logging on to Youtube from practically anywhere on the planet is far too much of a hassle- if you know how to use your smartphone wisely. The Youtube app can be placed right on the home screen of your iPhone, Droid, or Blackberry, which means essentially 1-click access to every video Youtube’s cavernous library has to offer.
Video is not the only place where you can use apps to make gratification even more instant. Here is Time’s list of the 50 best apps of 2011.