The best and the brightest of upcoming trends

The End of cable? | Highlights | Tech trends

In addition to over-the-top, here are four other entertainment tech trends you need to watch

The Cloud
Forget owning a disk or even downloading your content. You’ll buy a license and your content will stream everywhere, to everything from a smartphone to a wall-sized flatscreen. DECE’s UltraViolet is one step toward the Cloud. Apple’s going its own way, as usual, but then, it hasn’t said what its huge new North Carolina data center is for. Stay tuned, er, logged in.

Social Media
While most consumers are still focused on Facebook and its cousins as a conduit for finding old friends, they have the potential to revolutionize the ways content is marketed, distributed and consumed. They’re accruing deep data on individual preferences, and could use that data for marketing and highly personalized recommendations. iPad magazine app Flipbook is already leveraging social media for personalized reading.

Mobile 3D
Toshiba’s glasses-free TVs and Nintendo’s 3DS are bringing autostereo (3D without glasses) to consumers. All today’s practical autostereo screens are small, suitable for laptops, tablets and phones. That’s expected to drive acceptance of — and demand for — 3D content — especially mobile content. It will also put the pressure on movies and bigscreens to find a way to ditch the glasses.

Augmented Reality
Still far away, but coming. Augmented Reality mixes computer-generated information with the real world. Early apps are very practical and earnest, but AR gaming is coming on the 3DS. It could turn the entire world into a set for interactive entertainment. It’s a natural complement for location-based apps and geocaching.

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