My parents used to run a TV/Radio showroom in Jakarta, back in the 70′s and early 80′s. Consequently, I grew up watching a lot of television. I could distinctly remember watching a black and white in-a-cabinet television. There was only one channel broadcasting back then, and it showed mainly cheesy movies and loads of advertising. I could also remember watching Star Trek: Original Series on one of those tiny 14″ color TVs. When TV became more popular in mid-70′s (business was good), the introduction of VCRs and Laserdiscs were heaven-sent for TV junkies like me. I remembered continuously watching the pilfered version of Star Wars tape. I also remembered the guy who distributes Laserdiscs dropped by the showroom to sell us a batch of new discs for us to watch and rent. We watched all sorts of good movies and bad movies.
Fast forward to 1997. I got my first Sony DVD player. I continued my TV watching habit by buying a lot of DVD movies. An obscure startup company in San Jose decided to offer on-line DVD rental, and I was once again in television heaven. Not long after, another Silicon Valley company offered a HDD based recorder to time-shift TV programs, and I was definitely one of the first to buy it at US$599. DVR devices have rescued me from sitting through commercial breaks and being tied down by broadcast networks’ TV programming schedules.
Now here I am, the year is 2008 and I’m still watching television! The experience has now changed. I’m now digitally recording TV programs to DVD. I’m compressing my DVD library to small files so I can play them on my Oppo and Hard-Drive Media Player. With the lack of over-the-air HD programming in my area, I’m thankful good quality TV show recordings are available.
What’s the future? I predict (and want) video on demand will be it. Toshiba is serious about video download and seems to be heading in that direction after the discontinuation of HD-DVD. The move is already inching its way there by the growing popularity of iTunes and Amazon Unbox. Even Netflix is doing video download! This change will not get a massive adoption until we get 100Mbit broadband lines as a standard household installation. Video download/streaming still takes up too much bandwidth and our current DSL/cable line just doesn’t cut it. Broadband Internet in North America needs a major upgrade!
I’m definitely watching TV differently. I’m looking forward to having video download as the next milestone in my experience as a professional couch potato.
Photo credit: moggsterb