I remember when I held my first CD in my hands. The technology back then seemed almost magical. I held the hologram-like surface against a light and inspected its rainbow colours. This is the future I thought to myself. When the CD was first promoted to the public, its mechanical resilience and archival lifespan were big selling points. As everyone was soon to discover, the CD was more suitable as a drink coaster than a long-term digital storage device. Soon after that came Sony’s SACD or Super Audio CD, boasting a 2.8224 MHz sampling frequency compared to the CD’s meagre 44.1 kHz. Great! Who doesn’t want better audio quality in their living room? Audiophiles gladly went to the bank to take out a small fortune to buy the first ever SACD player. In Japan, at the same time, the MiniDisc player
had already been steaming ahead like a locomotive on jet fuel. I owned one of these devices in early 1998 (early adopter, as usual), and I soon realised what was coming next. Tethered to the earphones was a handy little controller that would display the song and artist name of the music playing at the moment. To me, it was obvious — in a matter of years the need for the bulky player would be history, and the music would be stored in a device that would look much like the headphone controller of a MiniDisc player. My mates laughed at this notion, but I laughed louder when the flash memory-based MP3 player arrived shortly thereafter.
4K – My eyes, My eyes!!
HD, Full HD and now 4K. I really don’t want to sound like some old geezer, complaining about new tech, but really, 4K makes my eyes hurt! My brain can’t even process the information. I feel like I’m in the matrix and someone just overclocked the processor beyond what my visual cortex can handle. Maybe one day I’ll find myself delighted to have a 4K TV set at home (prices are dropping rapidly), but how will the data be delivered? Blu-ray is capable of storing a full-length 4K film, but even if someone gave me a Blu-ray disc for free, I’d just put it under my lager.
I say broadband is getting old. I say Blu-ray is ancient history! I advocate human neural streaming! Grab your friend’s hand, and close your eyes! Unfortunately human neurons can only transfer data at speeds of up to 100 meters per second, but with a little bit of metalorganic bioengineering, I’m sure we’ll be able to boost it to levels required to watch 4K movies in our own heads.