The growth of cloud computing, better connectivity and improved broadband technology has changed the way we consume media. But what are the big differences? We take a nostalgic look back to the way we use to watch, listen and surf…
Recent advancements in cloud computing, 4G technology and ultra-fast broadband have revolutionised the way we do business. We can work remotely from just about anywhere, access servers from handheld devices and dial-in to video meetings with colleagues around the globe.
And they’ve also changed the way we do things outside of work. We’re increasingly using these technologies for leisure purposes. You can stream movies direct from websites, use WiFi to send music all around your house, or play online games on your smartphones.
Online TV and movie company Netflix recently signed a deal with Comcast the biggest internet service provider in the US, to increase the speed and quality of its online streaming service. So more and more of us, it seems, are leaving the old ways behind and moving into the digital age…
The DVD collection is in the bin
Remember the days when you had to load a DVD into a machine to watch a movie (let alone the dreaded VHS)? Shelves around the land were stocked with DVD collections, taking up valuable space and costing a pretty penny too. But who needs DVDs when you can simply download the latest films from online retailers like iTunes? The movies are with you in seconds and can be stored on your computer or hard drive, then streamed direct to your TV.
There’s actually no need to even own your movies anymore. Most pay-for TV subscription services, like Sky, Virgin Media and BT, allow you to live-stream movies direct to your telly on a pay-as-you-go basis, via your high speed broadband connection. Recent business failures, like the demise of Blockbuster are a clear indicator of how our viewing habits have changed.
And if that’s too much hard work, you can always sign up to a subscription TV and Movie service, like Netflix or Amazon’s new Prime Instant Video. They’re even beginning to change the game by producing their own original programming to draw viewers away from traditional media sources.
The CD collection is gathering dust
Listening to music has also changed. We no longer load CDs into our stereos, we have all our tunes saved as MP3s on our hard drive. Buying music is far easier too. You just log onto iTunes, Amazon or a number of other retail sites, click a button and that new album is stored in your digital music collection in seconds.
And that music is no longer restricted to the device on which you’re playing it. Technology from companies like SONOS allow you stream music from your computer, tablet or smartphone direct to your speakers. They can wirelessly stream it all around the house – so carefully placed speakers mean you only ever need that one device.
You don’t even need to be in the house, as advances in data storage mean you can keep your own personal music collection in the cloud. Then simply use a number of digital services, like Amazon’s cloud player, to stream tunes to your device wherever there’s a strong enough 3G, 4G or Wifi connection.
And you don’t even need to own your music. Simply log on to music streaming services like Spotify or Rdio and you can simply stream the music for free or a subscription charge. And if you’re old school, why not stream the radio direct to your mobile, tablet or PC?
You don’t need to wait all day for a web page to load
Remember the bad old days of dial-up? Thanks to advances in broadband technology, faster internet speeds have radically changed the way we surf the web. Everything runs a lot faster. And there’s no more cable tying your computer to the wall, you’re free to move around. With Wifi hotspots appearing as far and wide as the local Costa Coffee to the bus that takes you there, you can get online pretty much wherever you are.
In fact, there’s no real need for a computer anymore. With tablets and smartphones becoming bigger, better and faster all the time, many of us are now using our handheld devices as our main source of getting online. And thanks to increased 4G coverage, we can surf the web wherever we go.