Happy New Year: On dying consumer technologies

Saturday, December 29, 2007

A few thoughts on dying consumer technologies for 2008:

Analog TV Copy-protected music is almost dead. The demise of copy-protection software has finally almost arrived. Warner is the third of the four major music corporations to move away from digital rights management (DRM) software. In large thanks to the influences of Amazon MP3 and Radiohead this year. I expect DRM-shackled music to be laid to rest in 2008 when Sony BMG Music Entertainment realizes it has no choice. Read more: Amazon to Sell Warner Music Minus Copy Protection

(You could also say that CD and DVD formats are dying while, oddly enough, the vinyl record market is actually thriving.)

Analog television is almost dead. Digital TV is taking over completely. The date for final transition to digital is February 17, 2009, by Congressional mandate. Read more: What is DTV?

(Though you could probably argue that TV as a medium is dying in favor of online user-controlled content. The current Hollywood writers’ strike that’s killing television shows is directly related to Internet programming revenue. No one can agree on how to slice that pie, or even what kind of a pie Web-based entertainment is.)

Incandescent lamp The incandescent light bulb is almost dead. Countries are banning it left and right and the bulbs should be historical artifacts by 2011. Sorry, Thomas Edison. Read more: R.I.P The Incandescent Light Bulb, 1878 – 2010

Landline phones are becoming endangered. Between cell phones, Vonage, Skype and now magicJack, who needs a landline anymore? (Not to mention the prospect of Google winning the multibillion-dollar FCC airwave auction for the 700 MHz C-block spectrum and opening up the wireless world. Read more: Google Enters the Cell Phone Race and Airwave Auction May Steer Future)

Automobiles are becoming slightly more energy efficient. I wish I could say gas-guzzling vehicles are becoming endangered, but at least the recent passing of a United States bill is a step in the right direction. Read more: Bush signs bill raising auto fuel efficiency standards

So many exciting consumer technology milestones will be coming soon.

Happy New Year!

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