Thursday, June 17, 2010

Is that a Remote in Your Pocket or Are You Just Happy to See Me?

I have a friend, okay, an acquaintance, who collects tech headlines about emerging technologies and the search for killer applications-the use of a particular tool for a given task that causes our collective forehead slapping as we discover we can't do without whatever the latest flavor of swell is this week (day/afternoon). I haven't shared this story with him because he'd poke me with a sharp stick and accuse me of having planted it.

Years ago when people still had videotape; you remember videotape right? Cellophane tape with rust particles on one side? Came in a case so you never actually touched the tape itself? Super. When home videotape started, there were two formats, Betamax and VHS (video home system), developed by two rival manufacturers who set about signing up companies in the entertainment business, also known as 'content providers', to use their product to entice buyers to their hardware.

The former had excellent (and far superior) color resolution and video quality but the latter could actually hold an entire program-be it a TV show, or a full length movie. It was the content folks who tipped the scales to VHS and it was the porn industry, previously confined to beaten-up movie theaters with sticky floors and guys in raincoats and sunglasses slouched down in seats, who clinched it. VHS opened the home market to pornographers (not intended as a pejorative, but as a descriptive) and Betamax went the way of the Elcaset. (Same guys, too, come to think of it. How weird is that?)

Hit pause on the VTR and VCR and reach for the laptop and desktop, brothers (and some sisters, I guess). Welcome to the World Wide Web, where anything goes and everything shows. Put your hands up if you already know where this is heading (both hands, Zeke! 'Waitaminit'? Warum? Oh, yeah, ewww). You think there's money in sites like e-bay and Craig's List? You don't have a clue. The triple x gang's major compettion may be all the 'free' content elsewhere on-line but none of those site operators are crying poverty. Their biggest problem is finding enough wheelbarrows to carry all the money they're making to the bank.

I'd imagine, because it's how we are as a culture now, in the next thirty-six or so months, we'll refer to these folks as 'adult content providers.' And one or more will run for elected office and probably win, even though most of the guys voting for him will be looking for the bill slot when they get into the booth and close the curtain. That will be only a little awkward.

So now, welcome to the Next Frontier, 3DTV with whipped cream, scented oils and rubber sheets. There's a quote in the Japan Times' story from a potential buyer, "I need something dramatic to justify replacing my TV. This could be the motivation.” You betcha! You didn't really think The BEEB's Planet Earth series was gonna seal the deal, didja? Are you new here? Go ahead, crunch the numbers yourself (and remember to figure in the cost of the glasses too). I know, you'll buy it to watch the World Cup in 3D-you and a billion other people.

Mostly the same guys who bought the Pam Anderson magazine centerfold issue for the interview (and were very unhappy about where the staple holding the pages together got placed, I bet) and who can't wait to see Brian Lamb do Book Talk, I'm sure, just like he was in the living room with you. Here's a news flash, Starshine: if he were, guess what he'd be watching? And we'll spend the night together watching television. Ka-ching!
-bill kenny


Rubber Sheets Exporter said...

Such a great post teaching us that a remote in your pocket can make you happy or not.........

dweeb said...

If that's what you got out of it, that's fine with me. It takes so much more energy to be a light than to be a horn...
Thanks for reading!