My apologies, but I have just not been inspired to write about anything in this category this year. The trends in digital video in 2012 has simply been more, cheaper, and better. There have not been any disruptive technologies emerge (at least not that I have heard of), and the same cool TVs and gadgets that we had in 2011 are still the rave at the end of 2012 – just more, cheaper, and better. Maybe at CES 2013 something will jump out at us and say “Here I am – the next big thing!” but usually we hear rumblings of such announcements by now, so I don’t see it coming.
So, at least there was some noteworthy progress in 2012. There are affordable 3D TVs that now use inexpensive passive glasses (but we knew that had to come). The online commercial video sources seem to be proliferating (everyone wants your $5 for that pay-per-view movie or $16 per month), while Blockbuster has all but dissolved. You can control your TV with your phone or tablet – “there’s an app for that,” as they say, but it hasn’t shown much real value yet.
Personally, I find there are benefits to stability. My home TV/video viewing system has not fundamentally changed in two years – and even then it was just the addition of an Apple TV. This year, I upgraded my Harmony remote from a 1000 to a 1100 (replaced a 7-year-old model with a 3-year-old model). My 1080i HDTV is now seven years old, but it doesn’t look much different than the ones on display at the store. I will eventually get a 3D TV, but why the rush? – they get better and cheaper every couple of months.
So what’s on my wish list for 2013 and beyond? How about 3D video without glasses – now that would be a real break-though, but I think it’s a long way off. A new concept in programming control is needed – simply changing channels with a remote has been around since when – the 70’s? How about using a tablet to browse and preview your next video channel from all your sources (including the channel guide), and then press a button to put it up on the main screen? We still have a long way to go before you can “watch what you want, when you want.”