The End Of The Line

The Consumer Electronics Show happened this week in Las Vegas. There was a time when this was an international event, as everyone wanted to see the latest electronic gadgets that were about to hit the market. The pace of change was so quick, every year featured cool new ideas and concepts that promised to alter how we experience our entertainments. There was also the futuristic factor, as companies would preview what cool new technology they were about to bring from the lab to your home.

That’s no longer the case as the consumer electronics business seems to have run out of road, as far as cool new ideas. This is apparent in the troubles Apple is suddenly facing. It makes a cool looking toy, but there’s nothing unique about an iPhone. It does what all the phones do now. The gap between it and the low end brands is not enough to warrant a premium. This is an issue turning up all across the consumer electronics space. There’s just no new technology to make any of it “must have” or any brand unique.

The big new idea this year is 8K TV, which is just becoming a reality. TV makers have made 4K the default now. Everyone hopes these super high resolution TV’s will spark a revolution in both accessory items and the content itself. So far, 4K has not made much of an impact on consumers. It turns out that better resolution does not improve the quality of the content. That was true of HD, but at least those sets looked cool and they were much easier to move around the living room. They also made 80-inch screens possible.

That’s the tell with this stuff. If a new technology has an impact on the consumer, it can first sell at a premium. That was the case with HD television. Middle-class white guys in the suburbs built man caves around their big screen. That did not happen with 4K television as people just ignored it until the price dropped to normal levels. That means the same will happen with 8K. The resolution and sound of the television has reached the point where it is more than good enough for the majority of people.

Manufacturers have known this for a while, which is why they invested heavily in virtual reality. Virtual reality or some other immersive technology is the assumed to be the next step, but people don’t seem to like the idea. VR headsets have been out for a while and they have been a big flop with the public. Part of it is you look like an idiot wearing the things and no one wants to look ridiculous. The experience so far is less virtual reality and more altered reality, like being on hallucinogens.

There’s also the fact that virtual reality will probably not work anything like the electronics makers imagine. Human perception is something we know little about and what we think we know we have all wrong. Much of our reality is probably generated by our brains from stimuli that we get through our senses. We’re not living in the matrix, but we are living in a stripped down version of reality. Our brains consumer just what is necessary to build a reality from information stored in our brains that we accumulated in life.

Otherwise, the “new” stuff coming from electronics makers is increasingly ridiculous implementations of things like voice activation. A voice activated parasol was probably fun to design, but it is entirely useless. In fact, voice activated stuff will most likely fail miserably for two reasons. One is the idiocy of it. Just think of how annoying it is to talk to a robot on the phone when dealing with the bank or pharmacist. No matter how good the technology gets, you will always know you are talking to a thing and that feels dumb.

The other factor is privacy. You have to be close to retarded to invite these devices into your home, given what we already know about the tech firms. If the mobile carriers are willing to sell your location data in real-time to anyone who wants to buy it, including criminals, then they will sell your private conversations in real time too. Just as prisoners figure out how to make their cells a private space, the future means the home becomes a technology free area, so people can have an escape from the panopticon.

The end of the road for consumer electronics will no doubt have an impact on video content creation. Something that has gone unnoticed is how the technological revolution transferred billions every year from consumers to the entertainment business, without much change in the content. If anything, the result was more bad content and much more propaganda. The selling of the poz is so over the top now, it is intolerable. That suggests the content makers are ripe for “disruption” as the cool kids say.

A hint of it is in the audio space. It took a while, but the mp3 altered music and spoken word formats. People still listen to talk radio, for example, but the switch to podcasts and live streams is happening quickly. Like evening news shows, terrestrial radio is the thing that appeals to older people. It has no future. In all probability, we are on the cusp of a similar revolution in video content. It will have different contours, but the end result will be a radical change in the economics of entertainment.

Of course the petering out of the consumer electronics revolution will have economic consequences. The PC revolution ran its course, just as we are seeing with home entertainment and mobile phones. At the end, we quickly saw a consolidation and commoditization of the market. No one thinks much about the big name computer makers and in time no one will care who makes their television or smart phone. These household names will either move onto other things or go out of business.

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the Russians
Member

I’ll listen to KGHS, good time oldies, when wrenching out in the garage… Otherwise everything is podcast

Member

” You have to be close to retarded to invite these devices into your home, given what we already know about the tech firms”

I’m in and out of high-end homes all day everyday for my work and the norm is to have these devices. I’d say 7 out of 10. I find it shocking also that they don’t care about their privacy

Glenfilthie
Guest
Glenfilthie

Me too. And yet, these guys will put a piece of tape over the lens of the camera on their computers and obsess about privacy too – as they use their cells and Alexa to do everything for them… it’s bizarre…

BadThinker
Guest
BadThinker

Not in my experience – my brother is all in on this tech, doesn’t tape cameras, obsess about privacy or anything. Libertarian to the core but totally trusting that big business has got his best interests at heart, after all, market forces are the best right????

3g4me
Guest
3g4me

My husband’s boss gave out a bunch of Google “Home” devices for Christmas. We promptly took ours to a local store for credit – no way we wanted that thing in our house. People are too damn lazy to even press “call” on their smart phone and need an electronic assistant for simple internet searches. Sorry, but tech is merely a tool and while I might say “Wow, how clever!” I still would rather rely on my own gray matter, thanks.

Barnard
Guest
Barnard

You have to be close to retarded to invite these devices into your home, given what we already know about the tech firms.

I agree, but according to their sales data, roughly 16% of the country is retarded. Sales for these devices have most likely leveled off for now, the big test will be if the tech companies can get young adults to buy them when they move out on their own. If not, it will eventually die off. Given the addiction young people have to personal tech, I wouldn’t bet on it going away completely.

https://techcrunch.com/2018/01/12/39-million-americans-now-own-a-smart-speaker-report-claims/

Stina
Guest
Stina

I love the idea of an electronic PA, but I would want it on a closed network or one where I controlled where the information goes.

For my house to tell me its 12:30 and I have an appointment in 1 hour when I’m hunkered over a sewing machine would be a game changer for my time management skills.

Barnard
Guest
Barnard

Can’t you just set an alarm or remember to glance up at a clock periodically?

BadThinker
Guest
BadThinker

Yeah I would think you could simply set up an alarm on your existing smartphone. So much of what we think a ‘smart home’ could do our phones do already, we just don’t have good processes to manage it. You’re going to forget to tell the house to remind you, just like you forget to tell your phone to remind you. Heck, you can buy a non-smart timer from Walmart for 99 cents, and alarm clocks for a few bucks.

Stina
Guest
Stina

This is what I do now. Still, its attractive. Not something I’m going to get due to the privacy concerns.

As it is, I use an old fashioned planner/appointment book to avoid having everything on my phone.

Yves Vannes
Member

Funny thing about tech: I requires smart and clever people to design smart and clever devices…but unless it is used in a smart and clever manner it makes people dumber. And it does so in a very passive effortless way. Intelligent machines now liberate many people from having to engage in even a bit of concentrated thought. Instead of thinking through a problem, a simple one, they Google an answer. Do this enough and any need to work something out on your own becomes torturous and more and more difficult. This turns individuals into automatons with less and less ability… Read more »

Glenfilthie
Guest
Glenfilthie

The days of the electronic man-cave went the way of the ham radio, and the buffalo before that. Do it right: your cave should have guns, tools, fishing rods, hockey sticks and other manly accoutrements. The only exception to this might be tinkering with robotics.

As for consumer electronics future – I am holding out for artificial and anatomically correct inflateable sex partners with AI. Be nice if they could cook and clean too.

BadThinker
Guest
BadThinker

So you’re holding out for the near-extinction of the human race? Once we have that, nobody’s going to have kids except those wacky religious folks. Perhaps that would be a good thing after all, at least in the West…

A.B. Prosper
Guest
A.B. Prosper

No one is having kids now except the highly religious. At current projections the US will be almost entirely Amish with smattering of Orthodox Christians and Jews , Evangelicals and LDS in a couple of centuries and mostly living at a much lower century tech

All sex-bots would do is speed that up a little.

Member

But the wacky religious folks who have kids voted for Romney in the Senate!

We’re doomed, doomed..

Member

Glenfilthie: Amen. Analog man needs analog toys and analog tools.

Backwoods Engineer
Guest
Backwoods Engineer

“The days of the electronic man-cave went the way of the ham radio”

So, you believe ham radio is extinct?

770,000 ham radio operators in the US would disagree with you.

We’ve moved on to digital. I can now bounce a digital signal off the ionosphere that arrives in New Zealand with a signal strength of 24 dB _below_ the noise floor, and the Kiwi ham radio operator will still hear me.

These things are going to be useful when that Fourth Turning is in full… turn.

Drake
Guest
Drake

At Christmas my brother showed me his new 4k TV. Nice picture but not worth replacing a current TV.

I thought killing plasma off was kind of a step backwards. I have one and it is still the most pleasant screen to watch sports on.

Member

One of my customers deals with a lot of tech companies in California as he does videography and the like. He says they all are in heavily with AI. Enough so that he has very negative outlook on the future. His stories about these people seem like a sci fi story and we are in the precursory stage of dystopia. He is out at the show now, I was astounded of how big this thing is, city blocks of displays and vendors.

That said, if you saw what the Iphone X could do, you would change your tune. Bigtime.

Drake
Guest
Drake

Like what?

I have a relatively new LG phone. It’s nice and does the things I want it to do better than any of my previous phones. But I want to throw it in the sewer when I walk out a restaurant or store and (unprompted) it asks me the rate the place.

Member

That was sarcasm about the phone.

Drake
Guest
Drake

Oh sorry – I’m tech ignorant enough it was lost on me. 🙂

Rod1963
Guest
Rod1963

Big tech has been taken over by rent-seekers men like Brin, Zuckerberg and others who just see it as a way to enrich themselves and control the population at large. They are very bad people. They also know what they are peddling is toxic to humans, especially the young. Out in Silicon Valley the elite send their kids to schools that don’t permit Ipads, netbooks, etc. Because they’re well aware they damage children’s cognitive development and addict them at the same time. There are numerous studies and even admissions by some Facebook developers on this. They are no better than… Read more »

Apex Predator
Guest
Apex Predator

Just echoing what a few others have stated re: “The other factor is privacy. You have to be close to retarded to invite these devices into your home, given what we already know about the tech firms.” The average American is an absolute moronic sheep today. I don’t think people truly understand how little people care about privacy or civil liberties for the sake of convenience. This is a feature, of course, not a bug. In a generation (less really) there will be no one alive who can remember a time where they were not surveilled 24 hrs a day.… Read more »

the Russians
Member

I’ve relabeled (and reversed) my mail slot as a gun port, still functional during blackouts.

Member

the Russians: Made me laugh.

CaptainMike
Guest
CaptainMike

I wouldn’t worry about it too much, in a few thousand years it will all be destroyed in the Butlerian Jihad.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butlerian_Jihad

Drake
Guest
Drake

To my eyes and ears, playing a physical Blu-Ray disk yields a much better look and sound than any cable or streaming service. If people really cared about the higher resolutions, 4k players and disks would be flying off the shelves. (They’re not)

Member

3d televisions were a thing a while back too.

Corn
Guest
Corn

Agreed. I stream Netflix (relative gave me their password) and while the picture is good it’s often clearly not all that HD

c matt
Guest
c matt

Problem with higher resolution TV is that at some point, your eyesight really can’t tell the difference (especially as you age). And once screens get to a certain size, bigger is not all that much better (only so much space in a man cave).

Now, holographic TV would be cool (where you really are in the middle of the show), but that would require not only TV reception/projection technology to change, but the filming end of it as well.

joe
Guest
joe
MAR
Guest
MAR

“Disruption” is by far the most annoying word today. Not only are consumer electronics going out the door but so are startup models. No good ideas left for apps or electronics to warrant exponential growth with angel investing, that’s why most startups are really just Ponzi schemes fueled by rounds of funding in order to generate fake growth. San Francisco will be the new Detroit pretty soon, just give it another recession.

BadThinker
Guest
BadThinker

“No good ideas left” thinking was what IBM thought about computing. I’m not saying that there will be major advances, but don’t count it out. It’s likely to come from outside the existing system of Silicon Valley Startups though. Major research breakthroughs, for example, rarely come from massive programs designed to make breakthroughs. Another law of Systemantics.

BadThinker
Guest
BadThinker

I would argue that the video content revolution has already happened. Netflix & Hulu are leading the charge, so are Amazon and Youtube – Anybody with a couple thousand dollars can be a director, and with some talent one can stand out quickly. It’s still in the experimental phase. A good example of what can be done now by talented folks without the big Hollywood studios is the Coen’ Brothers new film The Ballad of Buster Scruggs – not a single film at all, but six short films bound into one (some hate it, some like it, I’m on the… Read more »

Member

My television is used almost exclusively for streaming youtube. An occasional Netflix or Prime movie, but I suspect this is the last year for services for me.

DesScorp
Guest
DesScorp

My family cut the proverbial cord last year. No cable, and only one broadcast-capable TV (with a Leaf antenna in the window next to it… I’m not going to the trouble or expense of putting up an old fashioned rooftop antenna for better reception). Everything we do on a TV is piped through the Internet now, save for the occasional old movie we pull out on DVD.

Cloudwrest
Guest
Cloudwrest

Re: The next thing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KS_4xjXNTxg

Notice the software scans *everything* including potentially all visible license plates. Think of the future of police surveillance

BadThinker
Guest
BadThinker

What really gets me about the autonomous cars is the opportunity for problematic folks to have ‘accidents’ via some externally hacked input. Unless all self-driving computing is on board with no external network connection I will never trust my drive to a self-driving vehicle. I’m a much bigger fan of better long-distance travel. While i’m not a big Musk fanboi, the guy at least appears to have a vision for radically changing transportation in ways that work for the little guy. Hyperloop tech that uses individual vehicle sleds (you drive your car up onto a sled, which then zooms through… Read more »

DLS
Guest
DLS

The cost/benefit doesn’t work for everything Musk dreams up, which is why he would not exist without taxpayer subsidies.

Apex Predator
Guest
Apex Predator

Your post is interesting to me because even us who care about these things just don’t comprehend how deep this rabbit hole already goes. Police have had real time plate scanners for years which immediately pull the registered owner’s license / record for any arrests, warrants, etc. So for our police state this tech is actually pretty much stale at this point. They use to be fairly visible on the outside of the vehicles for a while, now they are much more discreet and embedded in the front / rear since the tech is smaller. They don’t have all that… Read more »

BadThinker
Guest
BadThinker

At some point, we’re going to all need burner phones or at least burner SIMs with fake IMEIs. Until they make those illegal.

Cloudswrest
Guest
Cloudswrest

Another video from CES on Youtube.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDzj5tjZfns

Hendrick
Guest
Hendrick

Autonomous cars currently have a higher rate of death and injury per mile driven than human-operated cars. As awful as human drivers are, self-driving cars are worse. It will take years of road testing to show they are no worse than humans because humans log billions of miles per year.

Objects in this mirror are farther than they appear.

Nathan
Guest
Nathan

Autonomous cars would work fine—if every car were autonomous. The problem is they can’t react like a human—try merging into heavy traffic without ever breaking the law. You have to be able to judge other drivers’ intent in ways a computer can’t. Then of course there’s the hacking, or government thugs shutting your car off because your registration payment is late.

Hendrick
Guest
Hendrick

As has already been pointed out, these vehicles are hackable because they are going to be interneted. “Autonomous” is a misnomer. Vehicles on the road today can be controlled remotely and hacking them has already been demonstrated. See Bruce Schneier’s Click Here to Kill Everybody.

Roger U
Guest

I don’t really follow consumer electronics but your article lines up pretty well with what I see. Except this part: ‘You have to be close to retarded to invite these devices into your home, given what we already know about the tech firms. If the mobile carriers are willing to sell your location data in real-time to anyone who wants to buy it, including criminals, then they will sell your private conversations in real time too.’ We’re a culture, at least the younger people, who feel a need to broadcast every little thing we do. Big Brother is no longer… Read more »

Nathan
Guest
Nathan

If you want to take a stroll down tech memory lane, watch “The Conversation” with Gene Hackman.

https://youtu.be/KRfJqmecqUQ

All this makes me want to go full Luddite. Love live Uncle Ted!

Member

Great movie. I saw it back when it first came out back in 1974. I’ve only seen it once, and I still remember scenes from it. Excellent performances and screenplay.

Sun Zoom Spark
Guest

Digression on the subject of VR… Imagine you went to a stand-up comedy performance by a well-known stand-up comedian. And he didn’t tell any jokes; instead, he made one plain, simple, true statement, and then a second plain, observable, true statement, and then drily explained, with the help of a dry-erase board, why the two statements were connected. It wouldn’t be funny. The old cliche “it’s funny because it’s true” is partly true but incomplete; the correct, accurate ( and unfunny) formulation is: “It’s funny because it is leading in a recognizable direction but the statement is syntactically incomplete; but… Read more »

Saml Adams
Guest
Saml Adams

Or in shorter form from from EB White…humor can be dissected, like a frog, but the thing dies in the process and the innards are of little interest to any but the purely scientific mind”

Dutch
Guest
Dutch

So that is why Seinfeld is inexplicably hilarious.

Vegetius
Guest
Vegetius

…what was needed now
was a good comedian, ancient style, a jester
with jokes upon absurd pain; pain is absurd
because it exists, nothing more…

Poetry is truth twined to rythmn.

Comedy is misunderstanding and pain.

The truth part trips up females who write poetry.

The pain part is why women are bad comics but good at screaming
screaming for rent.

Dupont Circle
Guest
Dupont Circle

Best comment I’ve read on any site for quite a spell. Congrats, and congrats to Zman for the article.

DesScorp
Guest
DesScorp

Until every car can get streaming Internet to pipe those podcasts into your Dodge, standard and satellite radio isn’t going anywhere. To rip off the Bugles here, Internet killed the TV Star, but is unlikely to kill the Radio Star.

BadThinker
Guest
BadThinker

Every car already does. Pretty much all new cars come with Bluetooth today, and if you can afford a new car it’s highly likely you’ve got a cell too.

DLS
Guest
DLS

Unlimited data streaming is too expensive.

Chris_Lutz
Member

You don’t even have to stream online. Just download what you want to listen to and play it in the car later.

Alex
Guest
Alex

There’s a great Twitter feed called the Internet of Shit that highlights and makes fun of the insane devices people are hooking up to the network.

It is telling the urge with which companies like Amazon are trying to get people to adopt voice activated devices like Alexa. The price point for their most basic model is about $25. They’re not making a profit from the device itself I’ll tell you.

Saml Adams
Guest
Saml Adams

My wife thought it would be a great idea to buy an Alexa for one of my daughters a couple years ago. While they were out I changed the “wake up” name on it (you can do that) to “Admiral Rogers”. Just to prove a point.

Jay Dee
Guest
Jay Dee

I don’t own one, but know plenty who do. I was told you could NOT rename them. (I could be wrong). Too bad…..I suggested it would be funny to name it ROCHESTER.

Dutch
Guest
Dutch

VR (as it is currently being done) will always be a niche because of motion sickness on the part of the users. If you don’t get physically sick, the dissonance between the vision and the inner ear, which is the basis of motion sickness, will wring you out in any case. As to monitoring, those of us who fight the battle will stand out, because we will not have much of a profile, in a world where everything is documented for most of the pod people. That lack of a profile will be the data equivalent of being observed driving… Read more »

Severian
Guest

“The selling of the poz is so over the top now, it is intolerable. That suggests the content makers are ripe for “disruption” as the cool kids say.” I’ve often wondered why people on YouTube don’t just make their own sitcoms. Technology is to the point where it can be done, probably at little cost. And the poz really is something to behold on the networks. I haven’t watched anything other than sportsball for years, but for whatever reason I caught part of an episode of “Will and Grace” (the reboot) the other night. Probably nobody in the intended audience… Read more »

Rod1963
Guest
Rod1963

Check out on youtube, Oats Studio movie shorts(mostly sci-fj), Axnar(a Star Trek fan movie), Helsreach(Warhammer 40k fan movie). All of these were done on a shoestring budget. There are others if you look.

They are of a quality that equals or surpasses what Hollywood produces. The fact is there is a lot of talent out there and it’s impressive.

Member

Good people use technological advancement to help humanity. Bad people use technological advancement to control humanity. The Bad people are winning, and will continue to do so.

TomA
Guest
TomA

There is one new development that bodes well for the dissenters among us that may have to fight back against the rise of a tyrannist government. Everyone knows about small personal drones (cheap and easy to use), but they have limited range due to small capacity battery packs. Well, that has now been solved. New generation drones can use an on-board AI and an auxiliary module to drop onto a power lines for a fast recharge whenever needed. The range and capabilities of these things is now nearly unlimited. Take that Big Brother.

Abelard Lindsey
Guest
Abelard Lindsey

I see this as a fundamental limit on consumer electronics. Other than a cheap big screen TV I can unroll onto the wall like wallpaper, I cannot thing of any electronic gadget that does not exist that I would like to have. Consider also that Moore’s Law, the technology trend that has been the driver of all of this, is reaching its end. Moore’s Law will certainly reach its end around ’25 or so.

Beyond semiconductors and computing technology, I think the next frontier is bio-engineering.

Abelard Lindsey
Guest
Abelard Lindsey

I did think of one new frontier in consumer electro-mechanical products, about an hour after I commented here. That is sex toys (teledildonics) and sexbots. However, I think Tim Cook and his fellow SJW types are going to leave this market to new entrants.

Tim
Guest
Tim

Good… if Tim Cook comes up with a sexbot that’s the one thing I’m never buying from that guy…

Member

I still have tube-type amateur radio equipment and stereo gear. I don’t know what my son will do with it when I’m gone since most of those who are interested are as old as I am. I was a computer programmer for thirty-five years and still build my own computers but I have absolutely no interest in all the magic that’s out there now. I barely tolerate cell phones as a necessity.

Christopher S. Johns
Guest
Christopher S. Johns

Apple is in trouble because the markets have figured out that under their preening homosexual CEO they have no new product in development, much less a market-changing product. Added to that, the Chinese are now kicking their ass in the only smart phone market that’s still growing – China. The hipster techie utopia cult image has also taken a hit, as Apple’s real world politics endorse an intrusive, technologically-policed progressive conformity.

Sex dolls look like a growth market though.

Dirtperson Steve
Guest
Dirtperson Steve

Innovation comes from imagination. Most electronic innovation can be traced to science fiction. Very few of my daughter’s peer group* read books for entertainment and I doubt any read sci-fi. *Fortunately she is an avid reader, but no sci-fi. “Of course, the glorious future promised in the middle of the last century never happened either. Instead of flying cars, hot women in tight fitting jumpsuits and colonies on Mars, we have traffic jams, fat single mothers scurrying over the southern border and an emerging police state.” Z Where are the new fantasies and promises? An entire generation is too involved… Read more »

Dirtperson Steve
Guest
Dirtperson Steve

Apologies for the lack of formatting. For some reason it isn’t breaking into paragraphs.

A.B. Prosper
Guest
A.B. Prosper

There was a bunch of SF writers among them Cory Doctrow complaining about this a few years ago.

They came up with an anthology that mostly went unnoticed since I suspect people figured stories of a happy future we less plausible than Dragon Ball Z

The future is either “Collapse , White Kampuchea meets 40K , or people end up used as living tools by corporations after they fail to pay debt ala Ready Play One and even scarier Continuum.

Rod1963
Guest
Rod1963

Problem is is that sci-fi went PC/MC/Nihilist on us a few decades back. I used to be a avid sci-fi reader from the late 70’s onward until the late 90’s. Then it got depressing and I could sense people pushing some sort of agenda behind their stories. Many were so bad you’d want to take a shower after reading them. Sci-fi author John C. Wright goes on in great length about this in his book “Transhuman and Subhuman” It used to be on Amazon as a E book but he took it off and is only available on his site… Read more »

Dirtperson Steve
Guest
Dirtperson Steve

Thank you for the Wright information. I just checked his site. While I may not agree with everything (rarely do) he is a thinker and I can respect that.

“The devil always sends his errors to earth in opposite pairs, so that the unwary fleeing from one falls into the arms of the other, and, in either case, the unwary is lost and the devil wins.”

I come to Z’s site because he is also a thinker. Thinkers are few and far between anymore.

UKer
Guest
UKer

One of the barriers to ‘enjoying’ TV now is the hassle of simply watching it. I have Netflix (and would cheerfully kick it into touch if it wasn’t for one my live-alone relatives liking it too much through my account) and a Samsung TV. All this would be fine but my cable provider’s remote is not the same as the TV one, so it’s a game of hunt the right remote every day ( though it’s usually under the dog) and frustration sets it. Then when you do turn the TV on, sometimes Netflix cannot connect or worse, the TV… Read more »

Karl Horst (Germany)
Guest
Karl Horst (Germany)

My son has a PS4 with a VR headset and it’s actually pretty cool. Consider if you will some of us had a “portable” Macintosh 512E once upon a time and thought it was the coolest thing ever! Do you remember how small that black and white screen was?? But times change. Just as no one has a 21″ CRT monitor on their desk today, how we view media will change again in another 20-years. There’s a good YouTube on why anything past 4K is pointless: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxNBiAV4UnM To be fair, consumer technology really didn’t change all that much in the… Read more »

Lance_E
Member

We haven’t reached peak technology, we’ve reached peak diversity and dysgenics.

What we’ll probably see is the USA and western Europe losing dominance, and more innovation coming from countries we used to think couldn’t innovate, like China and parts of Eastern Europe.

A.B. Prosper
Guest
A.B. Prosper

I watched a special on “things that are great for gamers at CIS” but as far as I can tell, nothing they had there was much better than by old gaming rig

A little faster and a bit more expensive doesn’t thrill.

Also re: VR — its a solution looking for a problem. It might have value as a drone control or with waldos for some applications but day to day? Its of no real use.

Member

It doesn’t help their cause that much of the stuff produced in consumer electronics is just garbage quality. I have had Amazon Kindles for many years now and with each new one I buy, the quality is noticeably worse. I am pretty much buying one every year on Prime Day because they are apparently only made to last about 12 months, if that. The economy delivered to us be the free trade crowd is endlessly buying replacement cheap merchandise to replace the cheap merchandise we bought just a short time ago.

Gravity Denier
Guest
Gravity Denier

When technological advances in a field reach a point of diminishing returns, about the only thing smart marketers can do is gin up a retro revival among the self-nominated elite and the hipster set. Beginning about 15 years ago, digital audio — the compact disc — had reached what was, at its best, a very satisfactory level at a reasonable price. (And it has since been further improved with the advent of available 24-bit, 96 (and up)-kHZ sampling rate.) CDs were great for most people, but for the music and hi-fi industry, a problem: the medium was becoming a commodity.… Read more »

Lance_E
Member

8K is an absolute joke. These absurd resolutions remind me of the kinds of people who buy $300 digital Monster cables and freeze them and insist that they can hear the difference. It’s been objectively shown that most people can’t tell the difference between SD and HD, and almost no one can tell the difference between 1080p and 4K unless they buy an 80″ TV and stand 6 inches from the screen. Literally no one wants 8K, it’s just a huge waste of bandwidth. But that’s what the industry has become, sadly. Selling shit to customers that they couldn’t possibly… Read more »

Gravity Denier
Guest
Gravity Denier

Lance_E, Quite. I’ve never seen an 8K monitor, but I can’t imagine that for practical purposes it will be an improvement over 4K or even over 1080p for most source material. (The quality of the source image is the biggest variable, and except for 4K Blu-ray discs or the limited repertory of streamed 4K videos, it is a limiting factor.) But “early adopters” must have the latest thing, even if it’s something that the industry and technology outgrew years ago, like vinyl records. I consider myself an audiophile, and I think audiophiles who have convinced themselves that black discs are… Read more »

Mike_C
Guest
Mike_C

>Literally no one wants 8K, it’s just a huge waste of bandwidth

There’re probably a few razor-burn fetishists out there who would disagree with you, but they’re too busy furiously abusing themselves, much like a monkey on crack, thinking about 8k porno crotch shots, to even type a response.

A.B. Prosper
Guest
A.B. Prosper

I can see the difference between HD and SD on shows that are broadcast in the HD medium That said a lot of shows look stupid in HD that don’t in SD . Folks I know watch NCIS L.A from time to time maybe to enjoy the Civ Nat Agitprop and when I watched it with them the bad acting and bad filming were even more apparent than usual As far as 8K you’d think it would cool on video games or the like but nothing I play would benefit from it and frankly too many new games are shit… Read more »

MrFish
Guest
MrFish

VR has a huge future. You can map your room and furniture IRL to some virtual space and the immersion suggests great things: You are in some sort of exotic locale, you can call up a screen, control it with hand motions and watch a movie with a friend in a space that overlays your 3D world. It’s proof-of-concept now, but hey what a concept. You will be immersed in new worlds and historical periods with avatar AI computer angels/guides. MMORLGs have 30 million monthly subscribers now.

Gravity Denier
Guest
Gravity Denier

I foresee a big market for VR pornography.

LineInTheSand
Guest
LineInTheSand

I agree with you. Unfortunately, normal people will have the opportunity to plumb the depths of absolute sexual depravity. We cannot envision how horrible and disgusting it will be.

Lorenzo
Guest
Lorenzo

Or, you can read a book and exercise your brain’s imagination function to make whatever scenery and characters you want. Dull people need a constant barrage of electronic stimulation to keep themselves functioning. I give you Millennials and their smart phones as examples.

Mike_C
Guest
Mike_C

Indeed. A good friend of mine has refused to see any of the Lord of the Rings films. “I know what Strider looks like!” Can’t say shes’ wrong.

Rod1963
Guest
Rod1963

If people still could visualize they wouldn’t need VR to see how new furniture fits. Besides how many times do people buy new furniture? Rarely.

Like most modern tech it will be most used for the basest of human tastes – pornography and it will truly allow people to become their worst. It will also be used torture and brainwash people.

Infidel1776
Guest
Infidel1776

When I bought my first flat screen plasma HDTV in 2007, I would watch ANYTHING , even home improvement shows. But that Looking-Through-a-Window thrill wore off soon enough, and now my viewing is pretty much limited to Westerns and Red Sox games.

JR Wirth
Guest
JR Wirth

There’s always something new around the corner. The problem is, as with so many other industries, the FTC hasn’t enforced competition in 30+ years. Silicon Valley is not the jungle of small companies it used to be, but startups that are consumed by three or four massive tech conglomerates. Real technological breakthroughs get stalled out in large silos. Xerox practically invented the future in the 70’s, but couldn’t bring one groundbreaking thing to market after their copiers. Companies age poorly just like anything else. When half your job becomes diversity training quizes, it’s all over. Most of these companies are… Read more »

Member

AM Radio was dead, then there was Rush Limbaugh. (also note not every part of the USA even has cell coverage). That said, Terrestrial TV needs to be local – meatspace oriented. In any case there will be uses for the bandwidth. I find 4K very useful as a computer monitor. I can see several pages of a document, or have several windows open with little overlap. TV? Do I really want to be able to see your individual hairs and pores in your skin? 8k will be similarly useful, as a large wall map is more useful than the… Read more »

o7741110
Guest
o7741110

Can I really be the first commenter to mention the demise of booth babes?

Member

We won’t see much on the CE end until there’s a quantum leap in battery technology. Energy storage isn’t sexy, but it would change our lives in ways we can’t yet begin to imagine. I think also off-grid communications is a potentially revolutionary tech. The guy who figures out how to create a regional or nationwide mesh network by getting people to connect their digital devices (or simply installing mesh network devices in homes, schools, businesses, etc) would basically free everyone from cell phone companies. It would also be a lot more robust during natural disasters. The person who figures… Read more »

Quicksilver75
Guest
Quicksilver75

Aren’t we still in the middle of a grand experiment on the effects of long term, constant bathing in Wifi & Cell + 3G Data stream signals? Will be curious if heavy smartphone users start showing odd health problems after 15-20 years, esp after keeping the devices activated & near their gonads.
I’m still waiting for my Jetpack, Flying Car, and Apartment on the Moon. All that cool stuff that was promised in 1970s issue of Popular Science magazine.

Spud Boy
Guest
Spud Boy

I miss the 70s when high end audio was a thing. The local mall had two or three hi-fi shops where you could listen to the latest offerings from Marantz, Nakamichi, Pioneer, Harmon Kardon, Carver, McIntosh and others. If you really had money, you owned a reel-to-reel deck. These days people don’t seem to want anything better than a small bluetooth speaker. Sad.

Member

A real life Matrix will be the next big thing in consumer electronics entertainment. I am 52, so probably won’t live to see it, but it will be developed eventually- I would guess it comes sometime in the next 30-40 years.

Ted Colt
Guest

“No one thinks much about the big name computer makers and in time no one will care who makes their television or smart phone. These household names will either move onto other things or go out of business.”

Except most people are at least marginally aware of “country of origin” when shopping, else legislation that punishes organizers of Israeli boycotts wouldn’t be (((necessary))).

Member

Don’t underestimate the impact of Chinese rip-off artists. Chinese factories would fly out employees to take pictures and ask questions about the about-to-hit-the-market American and Japanese tech. After spending millions in development, Chinese knock offs would often beat the actual product to market.

jbspry
Guest
jbspry

“It turns out that better resolution does not improve the quality of the content.”

After thirty years, someone echos my sentiment.