Television viewing habits are changing rapidly, and TV technology is transforming in a race to keep up.
As Forrester analyst Jim Nail summarized for Digiday, 34 percent of millennial viewers aged 18 to 34 watch four or more hours of TV online on different devices, as opposed to 12 percent for older viewers. Meanwhile, only 40 percent of millennials and 52 percent of older audiences watch live broadcast TV, as more viewers turn to free and paid streaming broadcasts and DVR recordings. These changing viewing habits are driving TV technology changes. Here are a few viewing technologies and associated accessories on the endangered species list.
The Death of the Old Network
In 2011, PCMag predicted that traditional TV networks would be gone within 20 years and replaced by customized content delivery systems crossing Netflix with Pandora. This is already unfolding as consumers are cutting the cord on traditional pay TV and turning to other alternatives such as Internet TV bundles. For instance, DISH Network now offers an online TV option that lets you watch on any device anywhere in your house.
TVs Without Screens
The TV of the future will be the central hub of smart home technology. In a smart home, voice-activated sensors in conjunction with cameras and other sensing devices can turn a TV into a center for controlling your lights, thermostat, appliances, and even doors and windows. A smart-home TV doesn't necessarily need to be on a single screen, either, but any wall or surface can potentially serve. Sensors Online reports that new laser projectors can turn any surface from a wall to a piece of cloth into a TV. For those who do prefer a screen, manufacturers are experimenting with a range of new designs including curved, flexible and even motorized screens.
HDTV Is the New Black and White TV
HDTV technology might seem new, but it's actually based an outdated color standard, according to CNET. HDTV's color standard, Rec.709, produces color using an 8-bit system, translating (more or less) into 256 shades per color. Today's Ultra HD TVs and 4K Blu-rays are moving towards a 10-bit system that can render 1,024 shades per color, delivering a vividness closer to a movie theater experience.
Headphones Are Going Wireless
Until recently, wireless headphones have been more expensive with lower sound quality than their wired counterparts. That's changing, as Bluetooth technology is empowering high-quality headphones for as little as $100. Cult of Mac writer Leander Kahney sees Apple's acquisition of Beats as signaling a trend toward wireless smart headphones, which some people believe could be part of Apple's move into the smart home market.
Where'd My Remote Go?
So with screenless TVs and smart headphones, where does your remote fit in? Experts predict future TVs will be controlled by gesture and voice instead of traditional buttons. A preview of the future is the SPIN remote, a universal dial with sensors which you can place on any surface or turn in midair to tune any device, including your TV, lights, or other devices in a smart home network.