While 2006 may have ostensibly looked like the year of the social network, there were fundamental shifts in technology that should prove to relevant in years to come. So what’s in store for 2007?
- Flat Screen Television. The advent of the flat screen TV is upon us, and this is going to be the precursor to high-def TV. While high-definition DVD formats are currently duking it out, other media formats including your PVR, iPod and even USB thumb drive are going to provide ample content for your new flat screen TV. Best of all, the prices should start to hover at $500 for a large screen and descend from there.
- Microsoft .NET. The Microsoft technology for platform independent application development has matured considerably over the last year. While there is a .NET 3.0 version now available, the emergence of the Microsoft Robotics Studio and XNA will prove this as the primary development platform for many new applications. This certainly does not leave Linux users in the dust, in fact XNA may prove to be the engine that finally drives game development for the open source operating system.
- DVD Format Stalemate. The battle for the next generation DVD format has already started, but this year will bring a stalemate to these two formats. Vendors of DVD players will tend to support both Blue-Ray and HD-DVD formats, and so neither format will win this battle. As a result, consumers will be less inclined to update their libraries to either of the new DVD discs and will instead rely more heavily on iPod and PVR devices to bring hi-definition video content into the living room.
- Year of Storage. The real story in 2007 will be hard drives and other storage technologies. Disks are going to become fairly standard at 1TB, and RAID enabled external storage bricks in 1TB, 2TB and 4TB segments will become mainstream. Users are accumulating quite a bit of media on disk for iPods and other set-top boxes.
Generally speaking, this will be the year that you upgrade your hard drives and add storage to computers at home. Many users will be upgrading to take advantage of hard drives with an embedded flash cache that optimizes performance, and everyone will be buying new external drives with network connectivity to take advantage of 1TB storage capacities.
The real story will most likely be the death of Blu-Ray and HD-DVD. I expect Blu-Ray may survive as a storage and archival media format for the PC but HD-DVD will have very limited value beyond home theater.