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Tech Trends on the Horizon

The Evolving World Of Media Tech

The world of home entertainment is in a state of constant flux and evolution. Plus, the rate at which it changes and evolves is always speeding up, introducing new technology and killing off old methods of media consumption. Consider movie rental shops, for example: once a mainstay of at-home entertainment, they’ve all but gone under in favour of digital streaming and other options that don’t require us to get off the couch.

While it isn’t always easy to predict what will happen in the realm of entertainment and technology during the upcoming 12 months, we’ve noticed some settling in certain areas. Here are three trends that we feel pretty confident anticipating.

Online TV Subscription Options

When it comes to entertaining the masses from the comfort of their own homes, it’s an adapt or die world. Broadcast and cable networks have been paying attention as more and more consumers have been cutting the cable connection and ditching the satellite dish in favour of subscription services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Instant. In an effort to adapt to this ever-changing digital landscape, these networks have begun to create their own subscription services. This allows them to not only compete with the aforementioned services, but to retain their audience and market share in the absence of their traditional service providers.

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Many networks already offer free content on their websites, and HBO’s new GO service allows consumers who already subscribe to the channel via their cable or satellite provider to watch HBO any time. In the coming year, look for more networks to move from a free model to a subscription-based one.

Movies Online, Faster

It used to be that a new movie was released into theatres, and then a year later you could watch it on home video or on a premium cable channel. In the past decade or so, the time between a theatrical release and home viewing has collapsed, so much so that a movie could be in theatres one month and available on demand through a cable or satellite provider the next. This may seem fast, but in the coming year, it’s about to get even faster.

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Following the lesson of Sony Pictures’s The Interview, as well as less publicised but no less important films like Steve James’s Roger Ebert documentary Life Itself, we believe that more and more films will be given a simultaneous theatrical and online release. For films that do get a theatrical debut, we expect the time it takes for those films to be available for home viewing to get even shorter. Plus, with the increasing popularity of smart TVs and devices like Google’s Chromecast, streaming content can be played right on a big screen TV. While it may not replicate the cinema experience, it’s not bad for kicking back in the comfort of your own home.

Even More Ebook Choices

Despite the fact that many libraries offer ebooks to their patrons for free, avid readers have demonstrated that they are willing to pay for the privilege of reading whatever they want, whenever they want, all on their ereaders. We saw subscription ebook services like Oyster (AKA the Netflix of books) and Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited take off in the past year or two, and they’re showing no signs of slowing down. In the coming year, look for more companies to throw their hats in the ebook subscription ring, and also look for each one to vie for a competitive edge by offering perks like audiobooks, better content, and more.




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