When you want to relax after a long day, you probably go to your living room and turn on your entertainment center, enjoying your favorite media either with your family or having a comfortable time by yourself. A good setup is nearly required to keep up with modern culture, and while you can do most things at your computer, sometimes you want to keep away from your desk.
Yet it seems like every year there’s a new model, a new thing to have, or a new trend that will take the home entertainment world by storm. What should you focus on, and where can we expect things to go in the coming decade or two? While one can never entirely predict the future, here are the main points you should take note of:
In some ways this is a given, but the technology of today is only going to get cheaper tomorrow. Yet there are two interesting things about this trend when it comes to home entertainment. The first is that the rate of increasing affordability is outpacing new must-have innovations. As opposed to most other gadgets or computers or smartphones, a quality smartphone or television can last you a decade, which means you can get even greater value from a purchase.
The second is that as televisions get continuously cheaper to produce, they become incredibly affordable. If you’re willing to wait a bit for the best deals, you can get a 4k enabled television set measuring about 50” for a few hundred dollars, and this in itself is far more than most people even need. Similar principles apply to sound systems, gaming consoles and other accessories, and more.
More Options than You Can Imagine
In this case we aren’t talking about brands or models of home entertainment devices. Here we are talking about programming and actual content options. In additional to the number of network and cable shows produced (which isn’t liable to change too much), the number of separate streaming services competing for your subscription, each with their own library of content. Even if no more content was to be created on all these platforms, there would still be more available than most people could watch in a lifetime.
Even the things that aren’t available on a streaming service are available for digital rental for only a couple dollars. Music streaming has all but removed any cost to listening to whatever music you’d like, minus at most a subscription fee. And with average internet speeds climbing across the world, access and playback happens in seconds, with buffering woes becoming less common for people.
This is all slated to continue trending upwards, with no immediate end in sight.
An Emphasis on Choice and Convenience
A trend over the last decade that has come along with streaming (and DVR technology before it) is the ability to watch what you want, when you want, where you want it. If you think about it, when was the last time you felt limited in that regard? Cable companies and TV networks are with more frequency (and more competence in implementation) allowing people with a login and proof of subscription to watch live TV and on-demand programming anywhere, trying to keep up with everyone else.
Complementing this is the fact that more devices can do the same things now, as smart TVs slowly gain some of the same capabilities as cable boxes, gaming consoles (in their ability to host apps), and other devices. Phones can more easily cast to other screens and do much of the same work as computers. Functions are blending together at a much faster rate than most of us could have anticipated, leading to more convenience across the board.
Whether we’ll reach an effective limit on convenience with home entertainment as we know it today is yet to be seen, but there’s no doubt that companies will push those limits and customers will cheer this on.
While this may or may not be something that you will be see deliberately from tech producers, as mentioned above the capabilities of multiple devices will overlap. This means that people will need less things to get the same entertainment value. Additionally, TV’s are sleeker, sound systems can be smaller, and other gadgets and remotes are becoming redundant (remotes can now just be replaced with a smartphone app in some cases).
So what does all this mean? Less wires, easier setup and adjustments for home entertainment systems, and an overall more minimalistic setup (at least physically) for many people. While newer things may come out that require a space of their own, it’s quite possible that companies will notice this trend and lean into it, leading to a new generation of smaller, lighter, and more aesthetically pleasing devices.
Innovative Devices and Technologies
We are living in the best time in history for technological innovation, especially where entertainment is concerned. Competition is making producers constantly try to top one another in terms of effects, writing, acting, and everything else. Similarly, corporations and smaller entrepreneurs alike are trying to find the next big thing or next new trend that people will flock to. Sometimes iterative and sometimes out of left field, we can always expect the unexpected.
Most of these new ideas and innovations won’t catch on commercially (do you remember when companies tried to bring back 3D programming with 3D television sets), and that’s perfectly normal. In some cases, these home entertainment innovations will come in the form of improved versions of things that have been tried before such as virtual reality, and eventually these things will either find their target audience, be affordable enough to make the curious try it out, or be integrated into more mainstream devices as an optional feature.
If you seek entertainment, this is no shortage of it and based on our findings, there will be no shortage for decades to come. In fact, it’s quite possible that the entertainment industry will be spending more of its time competing for your time among itself. There will be so many “must-watch” shows that they cease to become much watch. This, alongside technological improvements, should give you every reason to be every reason to be optimistic, no matter your interests or budget.