Bryan Caplan  

EW's "New Classics" of Entertainment Technology

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The latest issue of Entertainment Weekly (I'm as big a fan as Tyler Cowen and Seth Roberts) has a great story on the last 25 years' best 25 innovations in entertainment technology. You need to subscribe for the full story, but here's EW's list.

The greatest insight in the article: Business models are technology. Napster's #2, Youtube's #5, and Myspace #11. Netflix (#16) and Amazon (#19) make the list too, though it's absurd to leave them out of the top 10.

Reviewing this list tempts me to declare the last quarter century of entertainment innovation the all-time best. Sure, you could say that the introduction of television was a bigger deal. But that objection defines technology too narrowly. It took decades to actually get a lot of high-quality shows on t.v. Until then, this now-amazing innovation was just an idiot box.

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COMMENTS (4 to date)
Matt writes:

Where are video games on that list?

ed writes:

Why is the DVD player number 1? I don't see it as being a that big an advance over VHS.

Jeff writes:

Playstation 2 is on there, but Atari or the Original NES is not? I would think that the original mass-marketed game console would qualify as a more importation innovation than subsequent improvements on the original concept.

Or did Atari come out more than 25 years ago? Jesus, am I that old?

Vincent Clement writes:

Matt: The list is about gadgets and innovations with the biggest effect on pop culture since 1983. VHS came out in 1976.

Not that big an advance? You mean not having to wait while the tape rewinds? You mean not having the tape wear out? You mean not having to adjust the tape head to improve picture quality?

DVD players quickly dropped in price making it possible for almost everyone to own one (or two). It also made it possible to release TV shows onto a format where users can select the episode to watch.

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