Ever wondered how households five years in the future will be? There is an imminent onset of new technology. New technology has been penetrating very rapidly in recent times, like the iPod spread as rapidly as the walkman in a shorter span of time. What is coming our way is:
Television: Really smart televisions. Notice the picture getting sharper in the past decade? The resolutions on the verge of coming in are four times of what they are now. There are already television sets available in the market that can emit light from the sides based on the lighting on screen (google Philips LCDs). The next generation of televisions will have inbuilt multimedia disc players, that's for DVDs, CDs, USB drives and maybe even Blu-Ray discs. The cablewallah will be just one of the ways to get access to television, consumers will probably use a personalized mix of signal sources, from set tops to pay-per views. A little ahead of that, the internet will probably be connected to all televisions. HDMI interconnectivity is like the USB for the next decade, its gonna let any source of multimedia connect with any point of output. You probably won't need to take all the trouble anyway, because television could just be available from a proxied hyperlink in a dodgy website, right on your computer.
Mobile Phones: Television Programs have still some time to wait before they are broadcasted to your mobile phones – the technology already exists, but a network supporting that kind of connectivity has to be put into place first. It is already possible to send video messages across GPRS. Leading networks will probably be able to kick in more support for the new users first, after which interconnectivity hell will break loose. The best thing about this is that you can probably take around a small personal file, that will let you take around all the personalized settings of your PC wherever you go, and operate it from any interface, like the mobile phone, or the comp, or the cyber café around the corner. Everything from savegames, to passwords, to expensive serial protected programs like photoshop can be taken around in that file. Infact, if you have a USB drive, you can already do this, just head over to http://www.nu2.nu/pebuilder/ and use the software to install a copy of windows (and other things you want) onto a suitable USB drive.
P2P: Of course, the pathways of music piracy will be well ahead of those who are trying to curb it. Here is the good news: the next generation of peer sharing clients will not be illegal. After Napster, and Freenet and Supernova, came DC++, which is already more or less legal, just being abused. There will be no need to abuse the P2P clients of tomorrow, because of the rapid spread of peer-production. The same concepts that are already running wiki projects, will invade into other creations as well. Softwares, maybe even Operating Systems, Multimedia formats, music files, films, and a hell load of other things will be produced after online collaboration, and distributed with such rapidity, that the major labels and production houses will shift a considerable load of their output into the internet. Their shit will probably have advertisements, but those that come from the people will be free.
Gaming: Your console worried will be over because of the personal file thing. You can take your save games across consoles, no sweat. They will probably be different game play and different rewards across consoles, and probably the option of continuing different games in different controls, but the next games will take Massive Online Multiplayers to the next level. Multiplayer gaming will be where the difference will be felt the most. Avatars will get increasingly individualized and customized, and say Need for Speed will be able to let you race a virtual replica of your real car in a virtual location near your own against other players in your location. Or GTA will have a massive storyline evolving because of players thrashing about their own cities in different ways.
What next: Then skynet takes over and sends homicidal robots back in time.