News and commentary about the Great Frontiers

ISS007-E-10807 (21 July 2003) --- This view of Earth's horizon as the sunsets over the Pacific Ocean was taken by an Expedition 7 crewmember onboard the International Space Station (ISS). Anvil tops of thunderclouds are also visible. Credit: Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center

Image Credit: ISS007-E-10807 (21 July 2003) – Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center

The Frontier of Entertainment


There is nothing left on television for me to watch now that the powers that be have canceled two of my favorite series (“Angel” and “Wonderfalls”) and the potentially interesting series “Century City”. I look forward to the day when the Internet becomes the “Grid” [defunct link], a hybrid of the Internet, supercomputers, and cable television. The Grid will offer millions of entertainment “channels”, such as television series, movies, music, music videos, books, images, games, multimedia, and virtual reality. I visualize this future Grid as an easily-accessible library of all human content available 24-7 in at least 5.1 channel audio and high-definition video on devices ranging from cellphones and PDAs to wall-sized screens and billboards. Renting any movie at any time will be as simple as a voice request and instant debit from our bank accounts. Our personal music playlists, library of books, and digital photo albums will follow us wherever we are on Earth and beyond. Great works of art will be digitized and these high-quality reproductions will be available for the first time world-wide.

Two main obstacles stand in the way: telecommunication’s last-mile problem and the media conglomerates’ reluctance to change. I expect both obstacles to be overcome by 2012, with homes and businesses regularly connecting to the Grid at speeds in excess of 100 mbps, and independent producers of content competing on an even playing field with today’s big media conglomerates. Check out AtomFilms’ “Hi-Def” service [defunct link] and the various online music sellers like Apple’s iTunes and RealNetworks’ RealPlayer Music Store [defunct link] for an early preview of what is to come.

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