My Living Room is now Smarter than I

In a cupboard at home I have two old DSTV decoders, which at the time I bought them seemed very advanced.  I also have a cassette deck, a laser disc player and piles of old VHS tapes, which I will get around to throwing out sometime.  The emerging generation would probably collapse in a fit of laughter and ridicule if they could see the number of CDs I have bought over the years, and they knew how infrequently I listen to them. And don’t get me started on my Betamax video tapes….  Ironically, I got rid of most of my vinyl records, and vinyl is making a comeback.

I would probably be able to retire by now if instead of buying books and magazines, tapes and records, discs and cassettes, I had instead put the cash into shares, the bank or even on the horses.

However, that is the past and just as I was excited and delighted by every purchase I made over the past decades, I couldn’t help but be tempted by some of the new black boxes which have recently been launched in South Africa.

One from Times Media promises a great library of films and TV show, while Altech’s new Node will not only offer an array of entertainment; it will also have all sorts of other facilities for turning my dumb house into a smart one.

The computer is becoming king in the world of entertainment, be it a normal-looking laptop, a tablet, a smartphone or one of these black boxes.

I have bad news for advertisers – I hardly ever watch TV shows live anymore.  It is more convenient to record them on my current DSTV box, and then watch them later, fast-forwarding through the adverts as I do so.

The real breakthrough will come once my home is connected to an efficient line along which data can be squirted, although at least one of the new boxes appears to use satellites to load the material, while offering other connectivity which does not rely on a fixed line.

A tech-savvy friend of mine has no subscription to any local TV services.  Instead he has devised a way of tapping into US sites where he can enjoy a vast choice of TV shows and films for a negligible fee.   He has a good data link, and that is the crucial factor.   He can’t watch SA Idols, or Big Brother Africa or the local version of Masterchef – which is arguably more of a benefit than a disadvantage.

So I have seen the future, and as the tech companies tie up with the content providers and the telecoms firms, this revolution will continue.

A report from PwC last week identified data as the big growth area in ZA telecommunications, and this came as no surprise to anyone.

What is certain is that the way we more affluent South Africans package and stream our home viewing will change a lot over the next few years.

What is also fairly certain that that whatever new black box I buy in the next year or so, a few years after that it will take its place alongside all the other boxes in the cupboard, as my house continues to become far smarter than I.

Tweets of the Day:

Fake Dispatch (@Fake_Dispatch):  Due to a mix-up during the clean-up of a big coffee and milk spill at Starbucks, the company’s newest size is served out of a mop bucket.

The QI Elves (@qikipedia):  I like coffee because it gives me the illusion that I might be awake. – LEWIS BLACK

Funny One Liners (@funnyoneliners):  My dog is like one of the family. And I’m not saying which one.

Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow):  What did the duck say when she bought lipstick at the department store? Put it on my bill. #ClassicJokeFriday

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