New Media Technologies. AS Media: Audiences and Institutions. New Media Technology. The speed of development of technology in the past two years has been astounding and it seems hard to imagine a time when MP3’s, DVD’s, Playstation 2’s and mobile phones didn’t exist.
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AS Media: Audiences and Institutions
The speed of development of technology in the past two years has been astounding and it seems hard to imagine a time when MP3’s, DVD’s, Playstation 2’s and mobile phones didn’t exist.
The Media in particular is one area that has been greatly changed through the development of such technologies.
For this unit of work, you will study a variety of New Media Technologies, gaining an understanding of :
that produce both hardware and software
who consume them
You will also undertake a case study, looking at one particular area of NMT.
Task: Brainstorm all the New Media Technologies that you can think of.
Big Screen Technology
Task 2: Discuss which items of NMT you have access to and consider how often you use them in your everyday life. Record your discussion in a chart like the one below.
Technology though, is about more than the development of hardware and software. According to “The Media Students Book” technology is about “methods, means and skills”. It is about how we make use of our knowledge in order to produce something valuable.
People who make use of their knowledge and are pro-technology are known as Technophiles. They welcome change and make the most of technological developments.
However, some people feel unhappy with technological developments and try to ignore its implications. These people are called Technophobes.
Whether you are a Technophobe or a Technophile, there is no escaping the fast development of technology in society today.
With so many advancements, it is worth looking at where it all began…
Recent developments in technology have meant that a large number of family homes have access to a personal computer. Computers have become more user friendly and their speed and capacity has more than doubled in the last two years.
Many home computers are now multi media allowing the user to access to the internet, play music/DVD’s, edit films and manipulate images.
Task Three: Find out how many people in the class have access to a PC at home. What multi-media facilities do people have?
PC’s today would have cost hundreds of pounds ten years ago, however, today they are relatively cheap.
These developments in technology along with the development of the internet, mean that we can all be media producers, we can work from home or run our own e business
The Internet is a computer network that provides access to the world wide web. The internet was originally developed during the cold war as a communication network without a central mainframe. This made it difficult to destroy in the event of an attack.
The Internet eventually moved out of the military arena and in 1986 the NSFNET (National Science Foundation Network) was developed
The NSFNET linked together five university host computers which offered other universities and colleges the chance to access their superior speed and capacity.
By 1988, there were 60,000 host computers on the internet, between 1990 and 2001 the number of host computers had risen from 130,000 to 20 million and this number continues to rise.
Frank Webster in “Theories of the Information Society” (1995) suggested that the internet would become so important that it would be seen as equal to our electrical supply.
With well over 60 million people with web addresses, we are now in the position to decide whether Webster’s theories are true.
Task four: Think about internet use by answering the following questions:
One criticism of the internet that has always existed in the past has been the speed at which information can be accessed. Most people connect to the internet via a telephone line and a modem. The bandwidth of a phone line is low and therefore retrieval of information is slow.
In the last few years we have seen the development of Broadband technology which allows information to at a much faster rate.
An example ofInternet bandwidth:
The development of the internet has been extremely important for Media Studies and can be seen as a tool for both the audience and the industry.
H. Rheingold in “The Virtual Community: Finding Connection in the Computerised World” (1994) suggested that:
“Computer mediated communication might become the next great escape medium, in the tradition of radio or soap operas”
Task Four: In groups, think of four ways in which the internet has changed the media industry.
the film industry
the newspaper industry
the music industry
A major bonus of the internet for music lovers are sites which allow the user to download music. Using MP3 software (Motion Picture Experts Group, Audio Layer 3) an internet user can convert a song from a CD into a computer file and post it on the net.
Another user can then download the track and play it. This can mean that the transfer of songs between consumers can be free, therefore causing problems for the music industry.
Some artists do not consider MP3 technology as a threat and welcome it’s development. However, other artists have objected to sites such as Napster, whose owner, Shawn Fanning, was sued by Metallica for illegal copying.
It has been suggested by some critics that MP3 technology is a threat to the continuation of the music industry. However, others argue that MP3’s and their associated websites will lead to greater exposure of artists, especially new bands, who will be able to post their tracks on the internet.
Mobile phones are of interest within media studies because of their developing multi media capability. They can speed up certain processes because of their portability and access to the internet.
Currently, the most common way to access sites on the internet is through WAP, however, the development of 3G mobile phones will see phone screens increase in size and quality making it possible to add audio and video capabilities
WAP stands for Wireless Application Protocol, this is important enabling technology which allows access to the internet. WAP technology varies, depending on the service provider and handset. It is available on some 2G phones which are more secure than their 1G predecessor. 2G phones are digital, they offer broader coverage and have better sound quality.
Task Six: Find out how many people in the class have WAP on their phones. How many people know how to use it? How many people find it useful?
3G mobile phones have a wider bandwidth than all previous mobile phones. With this wider bandwidth, the user will virtually always be connected to the internet and will be able to benefit from video conferencing and multi-media streaming. Through various terrestrial and satellite connections, the user will benefit from VHE (Virtual Home Environment) no matter where he or she is in the world.
This means the user will be able to access digital information such as music, photos, video and television. There will also be opportunities for shopping and banking on line.
This means that 3G mobile phones are an excellent example of:
Convergence: The integration of previously separate technologies and activities into a single digital experience.
It is predicted that there are over one billion mobile users in the world. This could be a drawback for the 3G phone as research suggests that the market for mobiles is nearing saturation point.
Companies that produce mobile phones will need to merge in order to remain in business, especially since the 3G phone isn’t expected to make a profit until 2013
3G phones also present another problem in that service providers do not know how much to charge for the exciting new services they can provide, especially if those services are under used
The games market is said to be worth around £17 billion and is generally split between games available for PC’s and those which are played through games consoles.
Games consoles have the largest share of this market with over a third of UK homes owning either a Playstation, N64, Dreamcast, Playstation 2, Game Cube or X Box
Games Consoles are another good example of Convergence as they have the potential to provide a central control mechanism for other types of entertainment systems.
The Playstation 2 was one of the first games consoles to extend it’s capabilities to do more than just play games, based on a DVD drive, the PS2 can play films and music as well as games.
Both PC’s and Games Consoles now allow the user to play games on the internet. The Sega Dreamcast was one of the first consoles to feature this facility.
Playing games on the internet allows the consumer to play against other players around the world and access a wider variety of games. Broadband internet has meant that users can now access these sites quickly, however, if you have an older computer, your game play will still be limited.
Two major criticisms have been made about the variety of consoles and games we now see.
Firstly, with all the consoles available, it is difficult to decide which to choose. None of the games for each system are compatible with each other and so your game play may be limited if you choose the wrong one.
Secondly, games are often criticised for their violence and have been blamed for copycat crime.
Digital Television makes use of already existing means of reception to carry signals. However, because digital information can be compressed, homes can be provided with more channels and other services than ever before.
So in addition to the free to air channels (BBC1, BBC2, ITV and Channel 4) we are used to, we now have access to a wide range of specialist channels
Digital television can be delivered to our homes in three ways:
DTT: Digital Terrestrial Television picked up through a set top box
DST: Digital Satellite Television received by a small satellite dish and decoded by a set top box
DCT: Digital Cable Television carried along underground cables and connected to subscriber TV sets
The development of Digital TV has meant more competition for the free to air channels, with the establishment of specialist channels which narrowcast to their audience
Narrowcast: When a TV channel targets a smaller group of viewers who are connected by a shared interest in a particular topic genre. Sometimes referred to as a niche audience
Digital TV also offers other services such as e mail, shopping and banking facilities, as well as pay-per-view (one off events such as sports or concerts) and near-video-on-demand (film channels which allow you to order a film which is shown throughout the day so that you can choose the time at which you watch it)
In the near future, analogue transmission will no longer be available and all households will have digital TV. It is expected that this will happen between 2006 and 2010, although this may have to be extended as the government must be satisfied that certain criteria have been fulfilled.
The quality of digital TV offers the audience a better sharpness and definition in picture quality than ever before. Programmes are also less likely to be interrupted by interference and this is one way of promoting the service
Another persuasive factor is that Digital TV offers the consumer more choice than ever before. In the future viewers will decide for themselves what they watch and at what time they watch it. Thus empowering viewers to create their own schedule
Digital TV also allows some interactivity. Whilst watching a football match for example, a viewer can choose from a variety of camera angles, replays and highlights. This again allows the viewer to customise their viewing .
It is also likely that NVOD will become VOD which will allow films, and later other programmes, to be shown when the viewer demands it.
While we have seen the development of Digital TV, we have also see the arrival of Digital Radio.
In the same way as Digital TV has allowed better quality and more choice, so has digital radio. In recent years we have seen stations such as: 1 Extra and Asian Network.
Task Seven: List all the differences you can think of between Video’s and DVD’s. Record your ideas in a chart like this:
DVD’s (or Digital Versatile Disc) are one of the newest formats for watching film. DVD players use a laser to read microscopic pits on the disc gathering information and reproducing it on screen.
DVD’s work in the same way as CD’s. However, because moving images take up lots of space, MPEG technology was needed in order to compress the information.
DVD’s again offer the viewer more choice and flexibility. A DVD disc will not only contain the film itself but scene analysis, director’s notes, storyboards and more.
DVD’s also allow the viewer to change camera angles and select scenes at a faster pace.
At the moment, the only criticism of DVD’s are that they are not recordable. However, over the past year we have seen the development of rewritable DVD’s, even though they are still costly.
Computer Generated Images can now be seen in many films. This process often begins with the design of a skeletal image which is then fleshed out. One of the first films to use CGI extensively was Toy Story, however, because of advancements in this technology, the quality of CGI continues to improve and it is used more and more often.
Modern big-screen technology is perhaps best represented by the IMAX cinema. The BFI IMAX uses Britain’s biggest screen. It is more than 20metres high and 26 metres wide. The projector weighs two tonnes and the sound comes from 44 speakers positioned around the auditorium.
It is said that the big-screen experience ‘saturates the senses’, it is up to you to decide whether this is a positive or negative experience.