If the launch of Apple's iPhone a few weeks ago proved anything, it was that many of us still have an insatiable thirst for sleek, shiny and high tech devices and are more than willing to pay top billing for them. Recent consumer spending patterns in the home entertainment/theater areas have only reinforced this trend, with sales of plasma TVs, set-top boxes and DVDs continuing to soar.
Yet, according to tech writer Mark Fleishmann, this age of high tech excess may soon be winding down. Why? Peak oil, as he sees it, would be the main culprit. Having already discussed this topic at length in the past, you'll no doubt already be familiar with most of the points he lays out: the price of oil has risen to $71 in the wake of increased demand and reduced supplies, it follows a classic bell curve (easy to extract oil as the curve goes up, at the top reach peak oil, harder to extract oil as curve descends), etc. This leads him to conclude that many of the high tech/high energy consumption devices we now take for granted will soon become very expensive and, for some, financially unfeasible to continue using. While this last point is certainly debatable (even assuming we reach peak oil soon, we haven't seen data/projections showing how fast energy costs are expected to rise), it is clear that we will soon be paying more for the privilege of watching our big, new plasma TVs unless we quickly adapt to this new energy regime.
So how might our entertainment systems and devices change within the next few years as a reflection of mounting energy costs? Here are some of Fleishmann's (rash) predictions (check out the full article for more details):
1. Manufacturing will go local.
2. New TV technology will keep the boobs tubing.
3. Surround receivers will get smarter...
4. ...And so will surround speakers.
5. Stereo will replace surround.
6. Compact systems will prosper.
And, of course:
7. The iPod will inherit the earth (which we think has already happened, but he says that a growing trend towards switching over to increasingly smaller, self-sufficient flash-memory music players will only help reinforce Apple's dominance).
Via ::Digital Trends: The Greening of Entertainment Tech (news website), ::The Scotsman: Hi-tech gadgets hit climate-change fight (newspaper)