Thursday, January 01, 2009

GeekTonic Top 10 Media Gadget Predictions for 2009

It’s officially 2009 and time to make my Media Gadget Predictions for the New Year.  I’ve put on my future-seeing hat and gazed into the 3d future monitor to see what’s in store for everyone this year and thought I’d share my top predictions with you.  Predictions include those for Apple, Microsoft, HTPC devices in general and Blu-Ray.

Crystal Ball

       Photo by “circulating” cc license

Disclaimer:  These predictions are not intended to be used for actual expectations or choosing a company to buy stock from.  It’s entirely possible some of these came from last night’s amateur drinking night ;)  Lots of Tonic in there though so some of them will come true…

  1. Blu-Ray becomes the de facto standard as prices of players drop as low as $70 and Blu-Ray Media prices drop to $15 by years end.
  2. The first HTPC extender with a Blu-Ray drive arrives (or would that be Blu-Ray drive with HTPC extender) – possibly as soon as CES
  3. A Leading for-profit HTPC software company ends new sales of their HTPC software leaving the market to two or at most three viable HTPC software companies and a bunch of free-ware HTPC programs.
  4. Two of the freeware HTPC software programs will die and be abandoned.  The free-ware HTPC market will consolidate to two or three major forces (already has begun in 2008.)  I have my thoughts on which of those will die out in 2009, but will leave the names to your imagination…
  5. Apple will push the touch-screen platform further by releasing a iPod Touch mini (or nano) as well as a iMac Touch micro computer.
  6. Apple re-enters the living room (yeah they’ve basically abandoned it at the moment with the current AppleTV) with a new version of the AppleTV and calls it AppleMedia.  AppleMedia will bring 1080p, more online video and HD-PVR capability becoming a major force in the HTPC world in one fell swoop.
  7. Media companies continue the fight to eliminate analog outputs from all devices to remove their fear of the “analog hole”.  They fail in 2009, but make inroads to their goal.
  8. TV Networks begin to abandon the old “local TV station” model and push further to online delivery.  Hulu and other online video sites skyrocket in use and profitability as advertisers strive to find the consumer anywhere they can.
  9. SageTV announces two new hardware devices.  One is an extender/player, the other is a complete hardware-based Server/Player solution
  10. Microsoft cuts the budget for Media Center as HTPC interest wanes.  While Windows 7 is popular with current VMC users, number of consumers using Media Center stays relatively the same as with VMC.  Focus continues to shift towards the custom installers and highest-end customers.


Bottom line for HTPC market is this:  Home Theater PC’s as we know it will move even farther into the “enthusiast” demographic.  Software that serves that market will survive the tough economic conditions and competition from open-source and other freeware alternatives.  Those that simply stay the same and don’t evolve will have  a very tough go of it.

May your 2009 be the best ever.  Let me know your predictions, cheers or jeers (of the above predictions) in the comments.  Happy New Year!