I don’t mind telling you that I’m totally baffled by what’s going on these days. We’ve been following and reporting on the evolution of home entertainment systems since 1996 and the direction has been consistant – bigger screens, better resolution, better and more dimensional sound. Just in the last few years there has been an explosion in the flat panel TV market with prices plummeting so that everyone can afford the best possible picture. HD channels have blossomed. We can all enjoy movie theater quality entertainment in the comfort of our homes.

Along the way, the internet has flourished to provide us with more information than we can possible need as well as entertainment formats of every possible genre. All of this can and will be streamed to you on demand.

Seems to me the world is almost perfect. So tell me — why the heck do people want to watch all this stuff on a 3″ telephone screen while they are walking to the mall and texting friends about the cool crack in the sidewalk they just walked over? Things have gone very wrong.

I saw a blurb on the news the other night where they interviewed a couple of freshman college kids about what they were buying for back to school. “How about a new laptop so I can keep up with my friends and watch TV in the dorm.” Sheesh. And then just last night I see that only 17% percent of these college kids passed their ACT college-admission tests. I’ll say it again – Things have gone very wrong.

Could the two things be related? I’ll leave that up to you to decide. I should just stick to the first bit — perfect quality entertainment — dumbed down to a tiny screen and channeled into ears via two tiny annoying earbuds — or even worse — a pair of laptop speakers.

Don’t get me wrong. I think smartphones, ipads and laptops are incredible advances in our lifestyles. I just don’t get why people want to use them for entertainment and why product developers and marketers are focusing on that.

And now we are finding out that the video stream that will feed that big screen theater room won’t be capable of the high resolutions we have struggled so hard to achieve with blue-ray and hdtv. Come to think of it, why would Apple worry about high resolution streaming anyway. They want you to watch it on their tiny screens.

Am I just getting skeptical in my old age — Probably!

I can hardly wait for 3D telephones — just imagine seeing an ad for iTunes in 3D — perhaps we’ll be able to text in 3D too — way cool! How about 3D teleconferencing with surround sound.

Wait a minute — slow down here Bob. What was your point?


So please designers and marketers, don’t focus on them and therefore limit our future to having fairly good products that do everything. We still want really good products that do specific tasks perfectly.

Broadcasters (soon to be renamed Streamers) need to stay with the program too. Yes, mobile stuff is great — but way more people will keep their jobs if you keep producing high quality programming and feeding it to home entertainment systems at the best possible resolutions.