by Perry Piper
Reflecting on some announcements made at this week’s Annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, I was reminded of a few technologies, both present and future, that I think readers might want a word on.
How we will watch movies
Movies have been a favorite activity among all generations for many decades now and will continue into the future; the only change that will occur is in the way we watch them.
Blu-ray Disc has become essentially mainstream, meaning that movies can be picked up new at some stores for $20 or less and that many older films are being re-released on the new format. If you haven’t yet seen the reason to upgrade, Blu-ray has become very affordable now and most people can finally use their HDTVs to their fullest extent.
DVDs only use about one-sixth of the available image area on modern TVs, so it’s somewhat like preparing a lavish banquet for a table of 12, but having enough silverware for only two place settings..
Put 3D on hold
Another thing related to Blu-ray Disc is 3D film. Current standards demand users to wear additional expensive and uncomfortable glasses over their prescription glasses, which many people wear. Newer prototypes allow for glasses-free viewing that’s easier for everyone. Unless you really love 3D movies, I’d suggest waiting until these glasses-free sets become more affordable once they hit the market. If you don’t care about 3D though, the 3D HDTVs come with more advanced features that display 2D content in sometimes better and smoother ways, for content like sports or with high action.
TV’s future is BIG
Something to think about is how television sets are quickly getting bigger than most people want. For example, watching Blu-ray on a 50-inch screen 8 feet away is fine, but what happens when the near-future 4K sets start to hit market?
4K is a sort of code name for four times the level of detail found in your standard Blu-ray Disc. So a 50-inch 4K set will mean you will be very close to the set. My mother envisions the TV in the far corner of the room, with chairs facing towards one another for a more social experience. The only solution I see will be to get massive 80-inch and larger screens to be the standard.
Apps, apps, more apps
Everyone seems to be getting Smartphones these days, or at least some type of device with a constant Internet connection. Android and iPhone are the major options, but why, exactly, do people choose — or think they choose — one over the other?
The iPhone has the greatest accessory support and number of apps, but this doesn’t mean competitor offerings are non-existent. Android, too, offers lots of apps and the ability to freely customize your device. Unless you have a skilled technology friend willing to assist you, the promise of customization can be very misleading since all phones allow you to change your ringer, sound effects, background or colors and app placement. Both of these phones follow the tried-and-true, but somewhat overused strategy of employing specific apps for each little task.
About a year ago, Microsoft reinvented their devices as Windows Phone 7 and I think they have the simplest and most aesthetically attractive phone experience among the options. Windows Phones use hubs, or large touchable rectangles, to combine like tasks into about six areas on the phone, rather than having to jump constantly across 20 screens to do the same thing on other devices.
What smartphone do you you prefer and why? Or have you been staying away from such gadgets? Are you looking forward more to glasses-free 3D or higher resolution and/or larger televisions and why? Let us know in the comments below...
Perry Piper attends Lower Columbia College, where he plays French horn in the Symphonic Band. He is currently studying human genetics and geology of the Pacific Northwest. He enjoys a technological lifestyle and teaching the older generation to develop these skills.