Thursday, December 22, 2011

Media Consumption: Clean, Simple Designs & New Technology

There are several different ways one can consume media today. Our television watching experience has become more diversified. However, one of my favorite experiences is watching movies at a drive-in. For an entire list of drive-in theaters in the United States you can check out a great site called Drive-ins and Drive-in Movies. 

Technology is expanding and shrinking at once. The more advanced the technology, the smaller in size it becomes. The best example is the smart phone.  

Now, this all relates to how we consume media because we seem to find it fascinating to watch and read everything on a screen that is the size of a tablet or smart phone. The fact that high technology has shrunk shows the need for lighter and less cumbersome designs. This is why I feel certain products have done better than others.

Simple, easy to use and user friendly designs seem to have an easier ability to sell itself than more complex designs where the product comes with a training manual that makes “War and Peace” look like a quick read, a short entertainment novel you take with you to the beach. All products seem to follow this common thread of what users want. Take the car industry where Toyota’s are one of the most popular vehicles not just because of their reliability, but because of the Toyota design. The Chicago Tribune wrote a recent article relating to Toyota's Camry 2012 design. In the article you can find words like: "edgier," "minimal," and that, "Toyota's designers got it right when they added covers to the Camry's multiple storage compartments, making it easy for the car's interior to look clean and clutter-free." The designs of most Toyota’s are simple, modern, and clean; I own a Prius and it is the one thing that I enjoy about it. To start the car, you push a button. To get to a place, you use the navigator and it takes you anywhere you need. If you are being robbed or attacked, you can push a panic button on the roof of the car and it calls the cops for you. The car let’s the cops know where you are located. I know because I accidentally pushed the button once and two cop cars showed up within minutes.

Most blue-ray players now come with Netflix, Hulu Plus and other video viewing applications which allows you to hook up your blue ray player, sign in to your Hulu plus account, Netflix, Blockbuster online, YouTube, and others. We can also go to our apple store on our iPhone’s or other smart phones, buy or download a free video application widget. In yesterday's CNN online "technology" article The 10 biggest stories of 2011 in mobile tech stated it best:  

This year's U.S. debut of Spotify -- along with new and updated mobile streaming music and video services from Facebook, Amazon, Google, Apple, Netflix, Hulu and video chat/calling services like Google Plus hangouts -- are helping to fuel the demand for streaming mobile media. And behind the scenes,  technology from companies like MobiTV are helping streaming video consumers seamlessly shift their viewing experience from one device to another.

The iPhone's still do not play flash movies. When I tried accessing a video from my Amazon video library, it wouldn’t play on my iPhone because it doesn’t run flash. I tried buying or putting flash capabilities on my iPhone but it still wouldn’t play. Other than this minor annoyance, our society today has evolved into numerous methods of television and film consumption. However, I think that like some of the new blue-ray players, easy access and simple designs is what most consumers are looking for today. 

Though, just as technology has evolved so has our theater watching experience. I love drive-in theaters during the summer months and for the grueling cold winters, treating yourself to an IMAX film will not be something you regret. 

My most recent IMAX experience was "Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol," worth the $36 for 2 adults. Yes, this is expensive, but do not prejudge the "weirdo scientologist" because Tom Cruise does not disappoint in this film. From beginning until the end, the flow of the action and the film left me on the edge of my seat. 

The way we watch film, television shows today varies. We have much more ways to consume media today than we did 10 years ago or even 5 years ago. Pick your devise, venue, technology tool, it makes no difference because the theater experience is up to the audience. As long as we're viewing a captivating film, television show, web series then the tool is only a small fraction. Though I must admit, the tools are clean and simple designs.

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