Whenever there are announcements about technology my ears prick up hoping there will be something that will capture people’s imaginations and this week is the start of the International Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas. It is the sort of event where celebrities, that is A list celebrities are called upon to help launch products. Also somewhere around this time of the year Apple drags Steve Jobs out to tell us what they are up to, but they haven’t said anything yet. The year has only just started.
As with all things technology today whenever there are announcements the blogosphere goes into overdrive trying to second guess what new products are going to be released, is it going to be the thinest 3D TV with smelly vision or something completely new.
Well the buzz seems to be about what tablet computers (now usually called tablets, although some people find all this new technology so confusing they need a tablet to get rid of the headache) are going to be released, tablets last year were dominated by the iPad with the Samsung Galaxy Tab getting a bit of recognition. And I agree these have certainly opened the door for people who just find computers daunting or perhaps even inconvenient. My mum in her 70s who has never used a computer enjoys using the iPad.
But with all the talk of who is going to make the next big tablet they have kind of overlooked at what one of their biggest strengths is. Video. They are great for watching video, whether it be stored on the device to watch anywhere or streaming using something like YouTube or the BBC iPlayer. So the biggest spin off this year is most likely to be the wealth of video content out there. This is growing and iTunes seems to be leading the way but companies such as Netflix and LoveFilm are turning to the Internet to deliver movies and TV shows. Both companies do DVDs and Blu-Rays Discs (BD) by post but I reckon that people will look more to the Internet to get their content.
But are discs like DVDs and BDs going to last. Not if you look at how successful iTunes is becoming and how their catalogue of movies and TV shows are going. But their is something else happening, iTunes has something called iTunes Extras, like the extras you get on a DVD and BD disc. They’ve had this for a little while now and because the devices you access these extras from are usually connected to the Internet you will probably see more extras and different types of extras that take advantage of this. I’m sure it will connect directly to a shop so you can buy Buzz Lightyear using your iTunes account.
But there is a little move by Sony that has made me think are discs really on their way out. Sony have recently announced that they are trialling adding different extras if you buy via iTunes that are not available on the DVD and BD versions. Sony who make DVD and BD players are giving you something different, possibly more on the iTunes version. That is really interesting. That sounds to me like along with Apple Sony see the future as being discless and online.
This is going to be a very interesting year not just for the tablet market but for the thing that it does so well…video.
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