Why No Intra-Ship Video Communication?

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by Doug Otte, May 9, 2015.

  1. Go-Captain

    Go-Captain Captain Captain

    May 23, 2015
    Exactly. In real life the only time anyone uses video chat is for meetings, and the reason is it enters facial communication into the mix. Most people don't want that, because if you are at home or just out it is unlikely enough attention can be given, and it is likely a proper appearance may not be ready.

    Imagine just waking up after a rough night, is anyone going to allow video chat in such a state. Or, imagine getting a call in a club where it's bad enough that it's too loud to talk, but maybe things are happening which the caller should not see.

    Levels of communication in order of depth, from least to most:

    1. Texting - clear but slow communication, no transmission of authority
    2. Audio - inflection, faster idea exchange, some transmission of authority
    3. Video - ditto, body queues, greater transmission of authority
    4. Face to Face - ditto, greatest signal clarity, stronger body queues, pheromones, strongest transmission of authority.
    This fits well with what we usually see in the shows. Usually when Riker or Picard talk to someone on the ship it is for information. The information is given, end of conversation. If it's a real problem, and needs some discussing, then the ship is small enough for a face to face.

    The text level would be the normal status updates of the ship, so actual texting would be slow and redundant. Talking is for expansion on those data.

    When admirals call, they do it with video in order to better transmit authority, and better to read their subordinate's reactions.

    I think Janeway might have frequently used video to contact her officers. That might fit with her wanting a more personal connection with everyone, but it would probably just be annoying. Like texting, everything needs to stop to video chat; voice only allows better multitasking and does so without looking rude.

    SPCTRE Badass Admiral

    Nov 26, 2008
    Easy out-of-universe explanation.

    Audio-only is way cheaper, easier to do.
  3. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Aug 26, 2003
    There would be another way to do it on the cheap, with interesting visuals rather than just dull audio, and with appropriately user-friendly futurism: go beyond silly monitors and screens, now that you have holography.

    So Riker has trouble verbally describing this odd oil slick that eats his away team members? Have Picard appear next to him, peek past his shoulder, and go "Oh, I see. A nasty phenomenon indeed, Number One - glad I'm not here myself." Basically, the holocommunicator from "For the Uniform", but without the unnecessary bells and whistles of props and set modifications and VFX. The actor simply walks into the scene and, for the first few times anyway, establishes him- or herself as a mere holographic presence rather than a physical one.

    This incurs no production costs whatsoever, and is user-practical in-universe. Just carry an away team holocom box down with the team, and anybody can appear "in person" for a quick chat, a mere unobtrusive quick look, or (for tastefully few times, please!) for dramatic effect to foil adversaries who don't realize they are dealing with holotech.

    That really would be "technology unchained", or the thing that touchscreen phone manufacturers try to promote as the key advantage of their product: making the tech so unobtrusive that its use is merely natural behavior for human beings. True telepresence in the scale of 1 to 4 above could be any of the levels, just like a boss or a mentor hovering next to you can be virtually unseen or then an intimidatingly strong presence, depending on his chosen level of human interaction.

    Timo Saloniemi
  4. Memory Alpha

    Memory Alpha Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    May 26, 2014
    Pennsylvania, USA
    There are a couple of early episodes where it is used, but generally I always thought that it saves time to just use the communicators (evidently, they can find the communicator of the person you want to reach, which is an interesting little piece of technology), which are really a part of the uniform. It's also more fluid that way as well, IMO.
  5. Smellincoffee

    Smellincoffee Commodore Commodore

    May 20, 2005
    Heart of Dixie
    That's for the viewers' benefit, of course, just like TV characters have that annoying habit of reading out everything they type in an instant message or email.

    In-universe explanation...they're encouraged to interact with the computer's AI through 'natural' means for some reason?
  6. Marc

    Marc Fleet Admiral Premium Member

    Nov 14, 2003
    Shinning Waters
    Can anyone think of a tv series where video was the main communications method used on regular basis?

    Space:1999 with it's comlocks is the only I can think of.
  7. Ithekro

    Ithekro Vice Admiral Admiral

    Apr 5, 2012
    Republic of California
    Dick Tracy and his video/watch.
  8. Gotham Central

    Gotham Central Vice Admiral Admiral

    May 15, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    Earth: Final Conflict. The "Globals" that everyone used were just one step above a modern smartphone complete with a visible camera for the video.
  9. Bagofmostlywatr

    Bagofmostlywatr Commander Red Shirt

    Jun 5, 2015
    Land of hope....
    Quantum leap