Yes, the world has changed - again.
A few weeks back I wrote an article titled, The Way We Used to Read Books, and stirred up some nostalgia. But text is just one small piece of how our world has been changed by technology. Video has arguably made an even greater impact. This is the conversation that many of us are having with those born in the 21st century:
"When I was growing up, we had just one TV. It was a big box that sat in the corner of the den. We couldn't sit too close, we were told that the radiation would hurt our eyes. There were just three stations to watch, and we were lucky if we could get a clear picture by adjusting the antenna on top of the TV. We had to get up to change the channel.
" If Get Smart was on at 8pm, we had to watch it at 8pm. If we missed it, there was no way to catch up until the reruns were broadcast. It would be years before VCRs allowed us the flexibility to record and watch later. A VCR? Oh, that was a device that would allow us to record to tape.
"I remember the first movie I saw; it was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. I saw it in a huge theater with an enormous screen. Each theater only showed one movie at a time - they only had one screen - and they had limited show times. Usually the same movie played for weeks before a new one came out. I was in college when the first movie theater in my town added added two more screens. Now we could choose which movie to see!
"When the movie production companies started selling movies on tape, we could buy them to watch at home, on our VCRs. We could also rent movies at Blockbuster (yes, they went out of business) to watch at home. It was a little bit like borrowing a book from the library, but we had to pay to borrow them. DVDs, DVD players, and digital video recorders would come later. No, the XBOX was not the first DVD player.
"Netflix changed the game when they allowed us to subscribe to have movies that we chose sent home for viewing. We never had to leave home. They were even more brilliant when they took advantage of streaming technology (and yes, cloud computing) to let me watch a movie on my TV whenever I want to. Better yet, I can watch movies on my laptop and my iPad from wherever I am."
I predict that within the next decade we'll also be saying:
"Now, I never buy DVDs or movies, and I don't even need a DVR. Whatever I want to watch is available via cloud technologies. I can watch for five minutes while I'm in line at the grocery store, and then continue watching later at home. I pay one low fee to get this service across all of my devices."
Okay - that last bit about one low fee may be unrealistic, but maybe if I'm willing to put up with commercials...
What do you remember most about you used to watch TV and movies? What do you think we'll be saying about the technology advancements in yet another decade?