Technology has a way to phasing out the old, while the new slowly seeps into homes. All the talk about folks trying to cut out their cable got me thinking about what else might be vanishing from the home. Advancement in technology is not necessarily a bad thing, and usually when a device or upgrade reaches a certain price point, the population starts driving in. Take a look at televisions. Flat screen high definition televisions have all but erased traditional tube televisions from existence. While the process did not take place overnight, once the price was affordable everyone seemed to start jumping in and getting one. So while technology advances at a rate that continues to impress, what devices or services currently around your house are doomed to extinction in a few years or maybe less? Here are a few predictions:
While devices like the Nook, Kindle, and other electronic readers are definitely nice to have around and have done a certain amount of damage to the book market. The real endgame will be in a few years when the iPad and other tablet PC’s start to kill off those devices, but books are the first casualties of this battle. Actual books are expensive and a pain to store. With ultra-fast electronic delivery available users do not even have to wait to get their hands on their purchase. After all, digital almost always trumps hard copy. Have you even seen an encyclopedia set in a house lately?
Many folks have begun to phase cable television out of the monthly budget due to expense. While Hulu, Netflix, and other instant video streaming services offer a certain degree of help in getting rid of the cable bill, the real final straw will be when networks realize that they do not have to rely on advertisers for revenue. Sure, traditional networks make a ton of money now, but if they offered their programming over a web connection, for say $6 a month how many people would jump on it? What about being able to stream HBO for $7 a month? While this may be a long shot, once the networks realize they can make more money with their programming as long as they come in cheaper than cable, the genie will be out of the bottle.
Granted with the availability and reliability of cell phones, smartphones, and portable phones the traditional landline home telephone has already begun to disappear. Long distance services have already been virtually wiped from the face of the Earth; the actual unit is likely not far behind. Plus with voice over Internet protocol, or VOIP, starting to really grab a foothold, many folks will likely start to purge these devices as being unnecessary.
Video Game Consoles
The technological marvels that existence in rooms across the world like the Playstation 3, X Box 360, and even the Nintendo Wii have progressed to the point they are basically computers hooked up to HDTV’s. The next phase in the console upgrade wars will only further blur the lines between actual computers and the gaming units themselves. Of course, savvy developers will keep trying to sell their hardware, but eventually having actual computers hooked up to the HD flat will be the norm rather than the exception. The computer will likely function as the DVR, movie player, game player, and maybe even the video phone.
Nothing is more frustrating than getting behind someone at the check out who is paying with a check. These days swiping the debit card and punching in the PIN are the fastest way to get through a line, but even mailing out checks to companies to pay the bills is becoming obsolete. Next thing you now postal rates will start to increase because people are mailing less things, oh wait, it’s already begun.