The times, they are a-changing, and the way we enjoy all kinds of media is changing with it. In particular, it’s all getting connected to the internet. We download games instead of buying physical copies, we stream music for free, and we pick catalogs of different movies and TV shows instead of switching channels. We have more control over what we get and when we get it. But what are we sacrificing in return?
Are traditional options getting the boot?
Many people see the qualities of digital TV, music, books, and such as superior. But there are plenty of people who like doing things the old way. They prefer having networks constantly pushing out new shows rather than having to wait for them. Or they simply prefer the feel of a physical book. But there are real concerns that new media is killing the old. Or, perhaps even worse for people who enjoy the new options, the prices of books and cable packages are going to keep going up to compete with the newer kids on the block.
Options growing and shrinking at the same time
The freedom of choice might not be the best thing for the consumer in the end. Let’s taking streaming TV as an example. There are multiple services all providing different suites of titles to choose from. You might not be able to get all the shows you want in one place. Or even in one country. VPNs like those shown at Secure Thoughts might help you bypass the geographical limits on what shows are available in what country. However, the fact is that your choices are going to always be hamstrung by what package you want. Few people are going to shell out for two different streaming services.
How much of your stuff do you actually own?
When you stream TV and movies, you don’t own any of the media you pay for. But even worse, when you pay for it digitally, you still don’t own them. You own the rights to use them, but those rights can always depending on how a service evolves. Even worse, if a service closes down, you could be saying goodbye to those movies and games you bought online forever.
Media ages faster than ever
That last point is particularly worrying given how often media tends to evolve. Whereas CDs are still relevant and a way to play music no matter what device you have, the games you bought online on the PS3 aren’t compatible with the PS4. Chances are that the PS4 games you bought digitally won’t be compatible with the PS5, whenever it happens. Old hardware that relies on digital media to keep all the titles you spent your cash on is getting harder to find and to maintain. This means that you will, at some point and maybe not too far off, lose those games forever.
Digital media is still a fairly new phenomenon and many of these kinks might get sorted out over time. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not worth knowing the concerns and factoring that into whether you jump into the world of wholly digital consumerism.