The Analog Divide

Let’s face it, radio as we know it is on its last legs.  Portable media is giving people what they want; access to the music they want, when they want it.

Satellite radio was the last ditch effort to save a dying format.  When HD Radio is finally enforced as the standard for broadcasting, I honestly think radio as we know it will be silent forever.

Unlike TV, there won’t be converters to add to existing radios.  They will become relics of a former generation dead before their time much like the portable TV’s and the VCR.

Technology is progressing so fast that people don’t realize the convinces they are losing.  No longer can you create portable, reusable recordings and easily use them elsewhere. 

Cassette tapes allowed us to record audio from radio, LP, microphone, CD or other cassettes and easily play them elsewhere.  I say easy because you can literally pop out a tape from one device and play it in another. You could even loan your recording to someone for them to playback. Can you do that with your MP3 player?

VCR’s allowed us to record a video and use it the same way cassette did for audio. Can you DVR, iPod, iPhone or other media device do that?

In the digital world there are many different formats for audio and video. MP3, OGG, MPC, AIFF, AU, MIDI, WAV, WMA, ACC RA, MPEG, AVI, MKV, MOV, QT, WMV, FLAC, FLV, MP4, ASF, SWV and countless others.  And if you think that list is long, just wait a few more months because there will be others.  Some devices support a mix of them but not all.

In the analog world there was CD (though this really is digital), VHS cassette and audio cassette.  Each had its own player and could play and media of its type that was inserted into it with no need to check the specs or compatibility.

Don’t get me wrong, I love technology. It’s my chosen profession. I just see what’s going on around me more for the have nots and how they are affected.  Suddenly the days of $40 for a low-end TV and $200 for a high-end have been replaced with $200 for a low-end TV; $10-$20 for a portable  to play your existing music vs. $100 (plus the cost of a computer or laptop not to mention internet access) to play new media formats; and we can’t discuss the cost of DVR’s because you can’t buy them, only rent them.

I see the have nots suffer just to have modern convinces while the cost of living goes up. When changes like these come around it is good to educate yourself on the costs long term.  We probably won’t have another change like these soon but when we do, you’ve been enlightened.

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