Predictions for 2016 (bookmark this article for December)

It’s probably foolish to make predictions for what will happen in 2016. Oh, I could go with easy stuff like “there will be a new iPhone” but what’s the fun in that? I’m going to go out on a limb with five predictions that might shock you. Let’s meet up back here at the end of the year and we can laugh about what I got right or wrong.

1. Net Neutrality will be struck down by the Supreme Court.
Politics isn’t a gentlemanly game, folks. The original net neutrality rules from 2010 were struck down and I have a feeling the Supreme Court will strike down the current ones too, even though they are much much more reasonable. There’s a loophole or something that wasn’t considered, I guarantee it, and the pro-business Supreme Court will eliminate this protection. I don’t think this fight is over, but it’s going to swing back to a pro-ISP perspective in 2016.

2. Who runs the world (SSDs. Sorry girls.)
This will be the year that most PCs switch over to SSDs instead of traditional hard drives. Solid-state drives are fast, silent, and in ’16 they’ll be cheap enough that your average computer will have one. It’s possible we’ll see a short period where people get PCs with a 250GB SSD and a 250GB hard drive, but it won’t be long before the standard configuration for a PC will be all solid-state.

3. The bottom falls out of the router business.
It’s been several years since anyone really “needed” a router as fast as the ones that are sold today, but the past year has seen a crop of 802.11ac-based routers promising gigabit-level wireless performance and more than double the traditional 30-50′ range. I think that prices will drop incredibly in the coming year because early adopters already have their new toys and most people just don’t buy a router unless they’re angry at the cable company.

4. Amazon, Apple, and Google make nice-nice.
Right now the streaming device business is dominated by three content providers who put out their own hardware so you can use their services. I think in ’16 there will be at least one streaming device that will pull from Amazon Video, Google Play Video, and iTunes Video. I expect it to be an AppleTV box sold at amazon.com among other places.

5. There will be precisely four live 4K channels.
For those hoping the revolution will come in ’16, I’m going to have to disagree with you. I think that you’ll see a 4K channel from Disney/ABC/ESPN, one from NBC/Universal, one from Viacom, and one from Time Warner/TBS/CNN/HBO. The fourth one… I’m not sure but I think it will be a boutique channel like HDNet was in the early 2000s. DIRECTV and DISH will carry all of them, but not too many people will be watching.

So there you have it. I think that there’s enough there for people to disagree with, and I’ll probably look pretty silly in about 11 months, but hey folks, at least I’m willing to put myself out there. What about you? What are your predictions?