The Playstation 4 & Future of Home Theater
Back in the 90's, the average consumer was required to rewind entire tapes when they wanted to start a movie over. For the first half of the decade, if they wanted the news they would have to either watch CNN or wait for the nightly news on one of the broadcast networks. There was no Netflix DVD service, much less a giant online library consumers could access whenever they felt like it. Consumer gaming systems were still only 2 dimensional (until the very end of the decade). Much of the talk today about new media deals specifically with cell phones, tablets and personal computers. The Home Theater is changing rapidly too though. High-Definition televisions have become so cheap that they're virtually the only option when purchasing a new television. Along with the upgrade in quality of content, the delivery method has become more and more convenient. Now for $50, jyou can purchase a Roku box that will stream 720p HD over the air to your TV from over 750 channels, including Netflix, Hulu+, TWIT and Amazon Prime.
The next generation of home theater seems just around the corner though. With the Playstation 4's introduction two months ago, more processing power than ever is being moved into a piece of equipment that the average consumer can purchase and plug into their TV. According to the verge, the PS4 will have "8GB of fast, unified, GDDR5 memory that both the CPU and GPU can call upon." Mark Cerny, the PS4's lead architect says "If [a PC] had 8 gigabytes of memory on it, the CPU or GPU could only share about 1 percent of that memory on any given frame. That's simply a limit imposed by the speed of the PCIe. So, yes, there is substantial benefit to having a unified architecture on PS4..."
In addition to the strides being made on gaming consoles, Amazon is planning to release it's own set-top box to compete with the Roku box and Apple TV. Prices continue their downward fall, and it seems that picture quality and content availability will continue improving. The next step in this process will probably be an upgrade to 4k resolution, which appears to be within the next five years.