In the past, society has treated television, computing, graphic design, radio, games machines, music production, telephones, animation, calculators, e-mail, the Web, photography, film and video as separate technologies. Now that these applications all use digital methods, today’s digital media systems can integrate them using the same hardware. A PC can serve as an interactive television, a voicemail system, a music system, a games machine, and so on. Similarly, the same software can be used on a variety of platforms.
For example, computer games producers now develop multimedia games that can be played on-line on the Internet, or on a television, games machine or telephone, as well as in the normal way on a standalone computer.
The term for the coming together of these hardware and software technologies is convergence. Convergence is possible because of the growth, capacity, and speed of computer components, high-speed communications, and digitising techniques for all the media.
DVD is a storage medium that is replacing the videotape, audiotape, computer diskettes and CDs.
In the same way, televisions, radios, computer monitors and screens, and visual displays on telephones, games machines and calculators, will eventually converge into one technology. Research shows that Digital Media involvement through video gaming and movie watching has meant there has been a steady increase in levels of obesity in many of the western countries.
For example, in America levels of obesity are at an all time high, this is mainly due to the lack of exercise by the American populace.
Youngsters not only in America but also in the majority of westernised countries, have totally differing lifestyles to those just 10 years ago. Nowadays youths play video games for hours and days on end, not wanting to play football in the park or join clubs such as the scouts or cubs. Health risks are imminent from playing video games for hours and with very little exercise.
Repetitive Strain Injury is likely due to the constant movement in one direction; eyesight deficiencies are probable due to the glare and closeness, which you sit from the screen and back strain is also feasible due to posture instability. These are all negative cultural impacts of what Digital Media has done in “our” age. Crime is another sector that has been widely affected by Digital Media in both positive and negative fashions. The government and police have huge databases, with images of criminals and fingerprint recognition images, which are a huge aid in collating evidence and combating criminals.
The downside to this positive impact is the crimes that Digital Media has created such as Identity theft and fraudulent activities. Impact of digital media on statistics, weather forecasting (not that we can do much still to predict disasters like the recent Tsunami) and entertainment means we can now study whilst on the move, we can watch films whilst we have a meal, we can watch the news happening in a country we are just about to land in.
The speed of transfer of information has transformed communication between people at work (e-mails), people at play (instant replays of contentious sporting moments), people at prayer (flat screen displays of Pope’s blessings to the faithful etc. ), people at leisure (the whole gamut of films, digital broadcasts of TV programmes, interactive participation in TV add-ons, the continuing evolution of games media (X-box, PS3, etc. etc.)
Those detractors from digital media forms are like believers that the earth is flat- they are in denial concerning the unstoppable progress of human inventions. Culturally we maintain our classical art examples whilst embracing new technology to create artistic masterpieces in Adobe Photoshop – it is just not recognised as legitimate yet. Oscars for screensavers, the Booker Prize for databases and web pages, the Grammy’s for download quality MP3’s Kazaa!! The future’s orange? No, the future’s digital…