Hot versus cool media

From Media Technology and Culture Change
Jump to navigationJump to search

Media scholar Marshall McLuhan created two categories: hot vs. cool media.

Hot media is that which engages one sense completely. It demands little interaction from the user because it 'spoon-feeds' the content. Typically the content of hot media is restricted to what the source offers at that specific time. Examples of hot media are Radio, film because they engage one sense of the user to an extent that although the user's attention is focused on the content, their participation is minimal.

Cool media generally uses low-definition media that engages several senses less completey in that it demands a great deal of interaction on the part of the audience. Audiences then participate more because they are required to percieve the gaps in the content themselves. The user must be familiar with genre conventions in order to fully understand the medium. Examples: TV, phone conversations, comic books.