It’s almost the year 2017 (why do I think that phrase should be followed by the words: a space odyssey?) and you may think you are totally onboard with all the latest in electronics and technology trends that are happening right this minute. After all, you have so much stuff you bought in the past couple of years and it’s all over your house, so much so that they know you by name down at the local Best Buy. But wait just a second. You’ve spent a small fortune on that stuff, haven’t you? And painfully, I have to tell you, it may not all be around and useful that much longer. You may think it was all money well spent, but here’s a wakeup call: there are dying technologies out there.
Technology is changing every second and overlapping itself again and again. It is all very confusing. The companies that have brought it all to you are really good at advertising, promoting, and tempting you. They want to convince you that everything is a must have and you are completely out of the loop if you don’t buy right now! Many folks are still quite happy with what they have, even the 20th century tech (yes, it’s still around). But, there are about 83 million millennials who think that 20th century tech was a “B movie” and they demand more!
So what can you do about it? Well if you are stuck right now with a load of “terminal tech”, you may still have a way out. Here’s my checklist of things you can change and things you shouldn’t buy anymore because they are dying on the shelf. You can easily change these up and make better choices. Consider following the suggestions as part of your plan to make technology work better for you and save some of your money at the same time. Here are some strategies:
7 Dying Technologies
1. Cable TV is over
Believe it when I tell you that the heyday of cable TV ended years ago and it will continue to decline every year. Over the past five years, cable subscriptions have been falling even as the price of service has continually gone up. The cable companies are so desperately fighting with each other to win your loyalty that they are making their startup deals insane with low prices bundles and gift cards giveaways when you sign up with a contract. But just wait for the renewal or pay up if you want out! Breaking a contract may break your bank account.
Many cord-cutting consumers have already learned that the alternatives are better and work for them. You can learn too. Services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Sling TV have taken share away from cable and offer shows, movies, and original content at a fraction of their prices. You can also connect through the internet and stream lots of cable shows, games as well as live programming and sports. This works best for those who don’t mind watching shows after they have aired on broadcast TV and who don’t need to see every live event as it happens. My advice to you is to check out the savings when you are ready to leave your cable company for dead and start watching the shows you want and only those shows. Do you really need the 473 channels that cable is offering?
2. Landlines, R.I.P.
Landlines have been around since Alexander Graham Bell. But in 2016, nearly half of all households are without traditional landlines and that number continues to grow. Wireless is the new landline. Abandoning your landline will save you money every month and your wireless phone is totally portable. You don’t have to sacrifice with wireless either. You can use Skype or FaceTime and connect to family and friends around the world for free and it will work on almost any smartphone you might have at hand.
Or try voice over IP (VOIP) services like Vonage, Ooma, and Magic Jack which connect to your computer and have a low monthly cost compared to a landline. Some customers have hung onto their landlines because of the security they feel in case weather or disasters halt wireless services. You can’t avoid that, but having a back-up charger should help to maintain your wireless charge in an emergency.
3. GPS devices are going, going, gone
Just a few years ago in 2010, 40 million GPS units were sold across the United States. This item was a must have and sales were flourishing. The cost of a unit ranged from $70-$300, but that has all changed. Now you can download an app for little or no cost on your smartphone. In addition, many autos now come with GPS pre-installed so buying a unit is absurd and a waste of money, if you can even find them around to buy. By the way, don’t rent them when you rent a car at $29.95 per day, just bring your smartphone and it will do the job for free.
4. DVD and Blu-ray players bye-bye
Sales of players and DVD rentals are sinking like a stone and that means they will be useless like your VCR became in the past. Don’t buy one even if it’s at $9.99 or less! U.S. sales of DVD’s and Blu-ray discs dropped 12% in 2015 as they are being replaced by the streaming of movies on the net and through services like Netflix. You can also use your Xbox One or PlayStation 4 to watch your DVD’s.
5. Drop it like it’s hot: Your 2-year wireless contract
There are more problems here that you can ever imagine. You can’t change your phone when you want to and you can’t read or understand all the fine print that may bite you in the a$$! Prices quoted at the store often wind up being more monthly than you expected. That free or discounted phone will cost you in the long run. Alternatives are from a no-contract company like Metro PCS, Boost, Consumer Cellular, Cricket Wireless, or Republic Wireless who will charge you more upfront for the phone, but their plans will be at half or less than that of the big 2-year contract dealers like an AT&T. Check out big box stores like Walmart and Best Buy too as they offer no-contract deals as well at great prices.
6. The demise of the PC and even laptops?
Yup, the tablet is the new king of computers because they do everything the laptop and PC does and they’re cheaper. The majority of personal users (not for business) use their computers for games, internet access, and music. The tablet does that all and more and it’s totally portable to boot plus it comes in several sizes. Some people may still prefer the bigger screens you get on those other devices, but for an awful lot of people, the PC is no longer PC (politically correct that is!).
7. The digital camera bites the dust
Remember when you just had to have the latest digital point and shoot? Where is that right about now? At the bottom of your closet in its original box? According to Camera & Imaging Products Association (CIPA), worldwide production of digital cameras has dropped from 114 million in 2011 to only 35 million in 2015. The consumer now has switched to a larger DSLR (digital single-lens reflex camera) while many others are completely happy with using their smartphones for all the picture taking. If you don’t believe me, just stand outside in a crowd and watch the action. If that’s not enough, there is the GoPro. No longer necessary to actually pose for a picture, just take GoPro with you and attach it to yourself to get a full-on action photo of anything from sky jumping to roller skating.
Ironic, isn’t it? The newest tech items from this century are dying faster than you can say fax machine! It’s not a new thing that technology advances and you as the consumer feels the need to run out and buy the latest thing to hit the market. I bought an LED watch back in 1975 from Texas Instruments…where the hell is that watch today?
Think carefully before you buy anything technological these days. Check around and read about the newest items and when they will be out. Waiting until next year might mean you won’t feel as if you missed the boat when you buy your new giant screen TV (which has seen an evolution from LCD and plasma to Ultra HD 4K and even 5K and who knows what else).
So what have you purchased and now wish you had just waited a bit longer? What are you going to do to save money when you replace your existing tech with newer and better? Can you think of any other items that were born in the 21st century but may not be around much longer?