New technology is constantly changing the entertainment landscape. Last decade, this looked like the rise of streaming, which transformed how most people watch films and TV.
Now, innovations like artificial intelligence, the internet of things and big data analysis are having an impact across the economy — and especially in entertainment.
Over the past year, as the COVID-19 pandemic forced us indoors, the entertainment industry used this new technology to adapt. This is how tech has changed both how media is made and delivered to consumers.
How Digitalization Changed Entertainment
The most significant shift of the past few decades has been digitalization — a pivot away from analog technology to digital solutions. Software and digital storage have both become central to how most entertainment is developed and shared.
Streaming is the obvious example — as internet infrastructure improved, the entertainment industry was able to begin delivering content directly to consumers over the web. Over the past few years, the growth of streaming has exploded.
The possibilities of digitalization also allowed for greater content personalization. By gathering data on user preferences and interests, it became possible to deliver content and ads personalized to each user’s particular wants.
Personalization is behind the recommendation algorithms that use the previous films and TV you’ve watched to recommend new content. It also helps companies to deliver ads that are more relevant to a person’s interests.
Now that digitalization has become the norm, cutting-edge technology is helping the entertainment industry to transform again. Like before, data and digital solutions will be key — but how they are being used is quite different.
AI Is Helping Studios to Develop New Movies
In 2020, major studio Warner Bros. announced that it was partnering with Cinelytic, a company that had created an AI algorithm for predicting the success of a movie based on factors like actors, budget and brand.
The studio plans to use the algorithm as part of its research process, which the company undergoes when deciding which movies to produce. While the algorithm can’t measure the visual appeal of a movie or the quality of a script, it could help the studio understand how likely certain movie ideas are to succeed.
Movies and live theatrical productions are more expensive than ever to make. Almost every aspect of a new film, show or musical, from labor to equipment to post-production, requires a major investment and careful consideration.
Cutting corners can also create trouble. When setting up audiovisual and lights systems, for example, non-professional or DIY rigging is often a major safety hazard, and any money saved with cheaper rigging is likely to be lost when accidents happen.
The growing cost of making entertainment is likely why studios want to invest more in projects they think will succeed. In the future, algorithms like these could have a major impact on how projects are green-lighted — potentially transforming how movies are made.
Virtual Reality for Films and Television
Virtual reality (VR) technology uses headsets, handheld controllers and immersive audio to transport users into wholly virtual environments. The technology, which emerged in research, is starting to become more common in video games — and soon could make the leap to the broader consumer electronics market.
The high cost of VR headsets and gear means that the systems may not become a common living room fixture soon, however. Instead, VR centers, theme parks and arcades may rent out the devices, allowing consumers to experience VR entertainment and games without investing in a headset of their own.
Another related technology that may change the industry is augmented reality (AR), which has already had a major impact on social media and video games. This technology uses advanced algorithms to modify real-world images.
For example, an AR filter may place virtual objects in a real-world environment or modify the appearance of an image from a smartphone camera.
Many Instagram filters use AR technology to change how users look. AR is also essential to a number of popular mobile games, like Pokemon GO.
4K and Display Technology Beyond OLEDs
Home entertainment technology is also getting a big upgrade in the form of larger, higher-definition screens. Television screens with 4K resolution are becoming increasingly common. In response, entertainment companies are putting more resources towards developing 4K and ultra-high definition (UHD) content. This content provides more detail than ever.
In the near future, even higher definition televisions — like 8K UHD — may provide further options for consumers.
At the same time, the display industry may be on the verge of moving on from OLED technology, which powers most high-end televisions currently on the market. OLED tech provided an upgrade from LCD screens, offering greater contrast and wider viewing angles than were possible.
OLED has its own limitations that have encouraged display manufacturers to find an alternative. The technology can only manage around half the peak brightness of LCDs. Images can also burn into OLED screens if they are left visible for too long.
MicroLEDs and QD-OLEDs offer improved contrast, color control and longevity. New television and screens that use this display tech could provide both higher quality images and longer hardware lifespans.
Cutting-Edge Tech Will Change How Entertainment Is Made
The entertainment industry is being constantly changed by new tech. In the near future, innovations like AI, VR/AR and microLEDs will transform the industry even more.
This new technology will provide higher-definition pictures and new forms of immersive experiences that people can experience from their living rooms. At the same time, AI and advanced analytics tech will help studios streamline the development of new content.