With the dawn of the new year, media outlets have flooded consumer with lists - the best this, the worst that, the you've-got-to-be-kidding-me's of 2013. So when I saw one list focused on looking forward, I was intrigued.
Recently CNN published a list of technology-related items consumers will not be able to buy in the future. They did not make the claim that at the end of 2014 these items would be unavailable, but argued individually for each that in the near future - generally five to 10 years - these items would become obsolete.
Now, I'm not a technology junkie. I take a mild interest in changes and innovations to every day products, but I am definitely not the type to wait in long lines on the release day of the new iToy, whatever that may be.
However, one item did catch my eye. I was around and cognizant for the demise of its predecessor and its main competitor but I can already see how it's getting edged out of today's market. That item?
The DVD player.
The column argued that with the rise of Netflix and availability of streaming movies and shows - legally or otherwise - to almost any internet-capable device, DVDs no longer make sense.
I buy that premise. When we switched over from VHS tapes to DVDs, people put up a bit of a fight. I doubt that there will be any extreme reaction to phasing out DVD players. However, I will offer up a New Year's prediction that takes this extinction of technology a step farther.
I think regularly scheduled programming will soon become a thing of the past.
Netflix has already experimented with releasing internet-only shows, to great success. I watched the entire season of the Netflix original series "Orange is the New Black" in just about one sitting. Okay, over the span of week, but what a great show. I rarely watch my favorite shows when they are actually airing on television but rather record them to watch at my convenience, or even find them online at the network's site or on something like Hulu. The only televised events I am likely to watch live are sporting events and you can already pay networks and organizations like MLB and ESPN to watch games on mobile devices.
So why even have cable?
I know that Americans love their television and a change like this will take a while - longer than it really should. Advertising would have to adjust, of course. Commercial breaks are generally less frequent when tuning in over the internet compared to the television. However, it is also much more difficult to fast forward through commercials on the internet. They pretty much don't let you do it, forcing us to sit through that horribly disturbing Old Spice commercial.
Of course not everyone has internet access, but with services becoming cheaper and frankly more necessary to function in society, I think that problem will resolve itself before abolishing cable becomes a reality. On the same note, not everyone has a cable or even a television.
As I said, this change probably won't come quickly. There are still generations who feel uncomfortable with the Internet and computers in general, but as today's children grow up and take over changes will occur. My two-year-old cousin can use an iPad better than I can. She has literally had access to that technology her entire life. I remember when it was common for families to share one computer and kids didn't get cell phones until they could drive or even graduated high school. What was normal 20 years ago is now antiquated.
I believe the same will be true in how we watch movies and shows.