Spring cleaning is something that can be cathartic – a figurative and literal freshening up and opening the windows to let the sunshine in. We did just that at MicroVision recently- but of course as high tech developers, we were cleaning out old electronics and equipment from our labs as much as dust and dirt from our desktops. With a service coming to take away all those hard to recycle electronics, we were invited to bring in items from home. I took advantage of the opportunity to get rid of an outdated TV, and yes, you are reading correctly, VCR, that we still had in a spare room at home that would otherwise be collecting dust for another year’s spring cleaning!
As my husband was hauling this very heavy CRT TV from the car and I was pulling out the VCR, I thought back to the late 80s when my parents gave it to me as a birthday gift. I was in graduate school and didn’t have a lot of time for TV, so having this latest model “sleek and small” VCR in my studio apartment in DC to record the shows I did really enjoy was very much appreciated. Their generous gift was actually that of time. The VCR was the first step in being able to control what we watch and when beyond the schedule dictated by network programmers. Not to mention the joy of fast forwarding past commercials.
Now fast forward past the developments that followed the VCR to today’s emerging TV Everywhere culture where a graduate student with limited time for TV viewing has the option of accessing programming on a smartphone carried in her purse wirelessly paired to a projector no bigger than a smartphone for anytime, anywhere viewing. To her, TV doesn’t mean the device sitting in a living room but refers to the content she watches. In fact, a recent study* by IAB found that 65 percent of females aged 18-34 are using smartphones to watch digital video. With two small devices she can watch HD video on demand: everything from small snippets of information and entertainment on YouTube to full length movies and TV shows from Netflix, HBO, network TV and more. And she isn’t constrained to a home-based environment anchored by the TV set– she can catch up on Orange is the New Black on a break between classes or show a YouTube video that ties in with a group project at a friend’s house. And when a big project or exams are over and she has the luxury of a little time and a need to totally relax, she can binge watch the latest House of Cards season. And she doesn’t have to have a TV set or a cable box to do any of these things. She can adjust her screen size to the environment at hand – from the smallest screen of her smartphone to a 100” plus screen from the pico projector on a wall or ceiling. She is totally in control.
When I was in graduate school I couldn’t have envisioned that my beloved VCR could morph into a pico projector and smartphone with digital video apps, but I did appreciate the freedom to watch TV when I wanted. That freedom has grown exponentially, and with MicroVision’s PicoP® display technology all the benefits of mobility are complemented with a screen the size of the biggest TV sets that can go with you anywhere. It’s pretty exciting to be working at MicroVision and contributing to this revolution in how we manage our viewing habits to truly have TV on our own terms.
*For more insights on digital video viewing see the full IAB Original Digital Video Consumer Study, April 2015