Aging baby boomers will soon be unable to recognize anything handling media in the home of an affluent 25-year-old. The convergence between the computer world and the audio/video world is happening faster than anyone can follow.
There are dozens of devices hitting the market for moving photos, video and music from your home’s computers to the living room audio center or TV. There are simple devices for moving music (Netgear’s Wireless Digital Music Player, for example). There are slightly more complex devices that also display your photos on your TV (for example, the Linksys Wireless-B Media Adapter).
Microsoft has rolled out Windows XP Media Center 2005, a souped-up version of Windows XP running on computers optimized for use in the living room with a remote control. You wouldn’t use it for word processing; it’s not intended to be your only PC. Instead, it offers convenient access to photos, music, games, and CD & DVD burning, as well as acting as your TV tuner and doing Tivo-style video recording.
If you’ve visited Costco lately, you know that prices are dropping on a dizzying array of conventional and high-definition TVs. Prices on digital video cameras are in free fall, just like what happened to digital cameras a couple of years ago.
It’s not possible for grownups to keep up with this. I read technology and media news voraciously, and I’m starting to feel lost and overwhelmed. Do you feel out of touch to discover that Billboard magazine is going to publish a list of best-selling ring tones for cell phones, underscoring their growing importance to the industry? I assign the same importance to my ring tone that I assign to the sound of the left turn blinker on my car. Ring tones will be a $300 million market this year. It’s getting harder to make sense of it all.