Back to the Future in Technology Development

By: John Kaduwanema



If, like most people, you managed to make time to watch Back to the Future during Saturday afternoon this weekend, you would have thoroughly enjoyed the romp through one of the best films ever made. If you were also watching it for the umpteenth time, you might also have picked up on bits that you missed the first X number of times you watched the movie. I know I did, for example, when the De Lorean is first presented by Dr. Brown, its rear number plate reads 'OUTATIME', quite a fitting personalization. Marty McFly also fastens a hairdryer to his waist when he visits his father in the night as Darth Vadar. Biff also says to George McFly at the start of the film, "If I turn in my reports in your handwriting, I'll get fired". For those who work in offices in today's environment, can you imagine saying that now?
At the time, Back to the Future was showcasing exactly how far the world had advanced in terms of technology. Marty's clock radio is umber retro in today's eyes, as it's lacking a digital display, the video camera they use to film Einstein's time travelling exploits would never fit into a handbag for a night out, personal cassette players have been replaced by iPods and the TVs have most certainly changed a bit too. In fact, the only thing that hasn't 'advanced' from the film would probably be the Flux Capacitor (it's what makes time travel possible!). I can certainly say that I've lived through many of the changes in the film, for example, I can't imagine which part of the TV I'd slap to get the picture working now that they're flat panels and I went up through the gears from a cassette walkman to a CD player, stopping briefly with a MiniDisc player before settling upon an iPod. Watching the film again, it was at times hilarious to think back to what technology was like in the 80s, and perhaps even more so with a classic movie that actively promotes technology.
I'd like to ask you all to take a trip down memory lane and share any technological changes that we've lived through. A case in point is the world's first Blue-ray all in one home cinema system as the price of a cinema ticket increases exponentially, it's little wonder that home cinema systems are popping up more and more in the living room. Whilst the concept of experiencing your favorite films rather than just watching them has been around for some time, you can feast your eyes upon Samsung's Blu-ray 7.1 home cinema system - the world's first high definition theatre system.
The HD-BD2R is a phenomenal piece of engineering. Not only does it provide flawless high definition viewing as well as a spine tingly experience, but it looks superb as well. I really like the design, especially the playing unit itself. Samsung's TVs have always been held in very high regard when talking about aesthetics, and this home cinema system certainly doesn't disappoint. The sound pumped through the 7.1 audio channels at a total of 1100W is frighteningly sharp, which is little surprise as it supports the latest Dolby technology. The unit itself also has BD-J technology, which provides users with a wealth of additional entertainment. Without going into too much detail, this provides extra features such as picture in picture displays and bonus features. This is truly the future of home cinema viewing. It's simply brilliant and extremely hard to describe. Just know that it's quite brilliant and that this is the first of undoubtedly many Blu-ray all in one home cinema systems.
Perhaps when one contrasts these two systems of modern technology one can reflect on how far we have come and how far we might go. It seems that the possibilities are endless. Manufacturers are constantly going backwards and forwards, improving or removing what was before as well as planning for what can be. With such progress the tech boffins should have plenty to mull over.


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