The iPhone turns 10 this year. Because of that device, everyone has a touchscreen smartphone and no one has to leave their house to access entertainment.
Here are six critical changes that have impacted home entertainment between 2007 and 2017:
Back in 2007, the final season of The Sopranos was playing on HBO. AMC aired the premiere season of Mad Men. David Duchovny started his post X-Files comeback in Californication on the Showtime network.
To see these shows, you had to subscribe to a cable or satellite television provider with one or more premium channel add-ons.
In 2007, the big telecoms (Comcast, DirecTV, Dish, etc) had 65 million cable subscribers and the average American paid $47/month for their TV service.
Shockingly, average cable bills have risen by 82% during the last decade. The average American now pays a stiff $86/month for their cable TV.
The cord-cutting phenomenon has reduced the number of pay-TV subscribers from 65 million to 52 million.
The absent 13 million (whom the cable companies dearly miss) have dropped cable in favor of a streaming service like Netflix, or cut the cord and dropped TV altogether.
Ten years ago, no one streamed TV or movies. Back then, Netflix’s main business was renting DVDs to 6 million subscribers. Netflix significantly changed their business model in 2007 by introducing streaming video on demand via the Internet.
Now Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon stream video for 176M+ subscribers.
Streaming video is mainstream now: we watch on our mobile devices, smart TVs, and laptops every day. Over half of us subscribe to one or more streaming services. Can you imagine your week without it?
Few people owned a smartphone in 2007. Phones had keyboards and could download web pages, but they were slow and difficult to use.
In 2007 I received a new Palm Treo 680. The night I got this phone, I had to pick someone up at the airport. Waiting in the arrivals area, I read a new email and decided to write a reply. Even with a full QWRTY keyboard, it took me about 5 minutes to do this one task.
That night in the airport, I thought it was pretty cool to write a fairly complex email message using a phone. By today’s standards, that 5 minutes was an unacceptable eternity! The Palm Treo was slow and the interface was finicky.
“Every once in a while, a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything,” said Steve Jobs during his Apple iPhone introduction speech.
He was right, the iPhone was revolutionary. Other devices could already play entertainment, make phone calls, and connect to the internet for web and email access. But the iPhone’s easy touchscreen interface was an especially beautiful invention that made tasks simpler and faster, and helped take humanity into the mobile device era.
In ten years, Apple has sold a billion iPhones and launched ten generations of product (iPhone 2G to iPhone 7).
Apple took the smartphone from a luxury, niche item and made it ubiquitous. Android joined the market with the HTC Dream in 2008. Since then, 1.4 billion Android phones have been sold.
The vast majority of us – 77% – now own a smartphone. Over half of us own a tablet too. Can you imagine how you would function during the day without these devices?
Cell Phone Service
Ten years ago, email and web usage on smartphones was just starting to explode into mainstream use. Data packages from wireless providers were afterthoughts compared to minutes of talk time and numbers of text messages.
Today, consumers fight their wireless providers to get unlimited data without throttling. Why is data such a big deal, but minutes are not?
While the number of text messages we send has increased to 32, the number of calls we make has fallen slightly to 6. However, the total time spent using apps on our devices has ballooned to 5 hours per day.
Where do these 5 hours go? After communication (texts, emails, and calls), the top five apps by usage are:
- YouTube: 40 minutes
- Facebook: 35 minutes
- Snapchat: 25 minutes
- Instagram: 15 minutes
- Twitter: 1 minute
Two of the apps in this list hadn’t yet been invented in 2007.
In the post-Napster era of 2007, internet technology was making a dent in music sales. The music industry hadn’t yet adapted to the customer’s desire for low-cost, instant-access music entertainment. CDs and vinyl still made up 80% of the music market, but overall revenues were falling because of internet piracy.
It would take the music industry 10 years to react to this trend and start to grow again.
After a decade of decline, the music industry has figured out how to live in the internet age and revenues are starting to grow. They’ve figured out how to monetize channels like YouTube and how to live with paid streaming services like Spotify and Pandora.
Digital purchases and streaming channels now make up half of the record industry’s revenue. Physical purchases (CDs and vinyl sales) only account for 30%.
This makes sense. For most of us, digital is fine. If you really support a special artist or you’re really in love with some amazing cover art, sure, buy the hard copy. But 9 times out of 10, looking up a track and playing from YouTube is all you want.
If you could go back to only being able to play from CDs, records and cassettes, would you?
Even back in 2007, consumers were hungry for better sound in their homes. We spent $10B on wired home audio products that year.
The home audio market has exploded over the last decade, and understandably so. We want to use our devices to play entertainment, but the speakers in our phones, tablets, laptops and TVs are pretty poor at reproducing sound.
Wireless is an extremely important feature. No one wants to leave their phone plugged into a dock or a wire in order to play music or video sound.
Three competing wireless audio platforms have emerged: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Levven Audio. Levven Audio, the newest of these, was developed specifically for wireless audio, not data. As a result, Levven Audio overcomes the limitations inherent with older Wi-Fi and Bluetooth protocols. We’re seeing the trend of faster, easier access to entertainment and better sound at home. Home entertainment technology will continue to become more integrated with our devices and homes. Levven Audio, wireless multi-room sound installed in the home, is one example of this trend.