A year ago, I put out some predictions for 2020. Of course no one could have predicted what 2020 would really be like, but looking back I have to say I’m pretty impressed by how well I do. I mean usually I do pretty bad at this sort of thing. So let’s look at it one by one.
Prediction: One major streaming service will come close to failing, but won’t.
I was pretty close here. I said AppleTV+ might come close to failing. Apple doesn’t release subscriber numbers and besides, their numbers are skewed by the fact that they give the service away to anyone who gets a new phone. But AppleTV+ certainly became a “who is that again” service pretty quickly. I haven’t opened the app in months and when my free service is up I doubt I’ll keep it.
On the other hand, Quibi came and went, and I gotta tell ya, in a year when a lot of people had nothing to do but stream, it’s pretty hard to fail. Yet Quibi managed the seemingly impossible feat anyway.
Prediction: HBO Max is going to totally slay it this year.
HBO Max made a huge impact in 2020 with a slate of movies and original programs you won’t find anywhere else. They’re still killing it with the super-successful The Flight Attendant and the recent release of Wonder Woman 1984. AT&T announced that all their major releases will premiere on HBO Max on the same day as they go into theatres, at least for the next 12 months. So I think it’s safe to say that HBO Max is looking good.
Prediction: 4K over the air still isn’t gonna happen.
Totally knocked this out of the park. There are practically no TVs with built-in ATSC 3.0 tuners today. There is no commercially-available converter box that people can afford. The number of test stations is far less than anticipated. I would say that 4K OTA is probably less certain now than it was in 2019.
Prediction: DIRECTV Commercial is going to really shine.
This ended up being true, but you have to look a little broader than I thought. After all, bars and restaurants haven’t spent a lot of money on TV service in 2020. However, RVs and boats have been a runaway hit this year. Many of them have been commercial accounts and that means I was right.
Prediction: Cheap TVs take a pause
I’ll call this true since really you haven’t seen any real change in TVs this year. Prices have dropped a little bit but not enough to cause people to take notice.
Prediction: The 5G monster roars— quickly
This was an easy one to guess. Apple’s iPhone 12 and Samsung’s Galaxy G20 support blazing-fast 5G and they’re widely available. Of course people aren’t spending as much time on the road and that’s dimmed some enthusiasm for 5G. It’s clear that it will be there when we want it though.
Prediction: The end of standard definition on satellite
What can I say. I whiffed this one. I did think that we’d be further along in shutting down SD in 2020, especially since DIRECTV said all the SD would be gone in 2019. But let’s be honest, because 4K on satellite isn’t a thing, there’s plenty of capacity on the satellites. So there’s no rush. Standard definition isn’t anyone’s idea of excitement but it’s nice to know that you can get a large number of channels on a single satellite.
Come back next year…
2021 will actually be year 15 for The Solid Signal Blog and year 9 for my stewardship of it. Our whole team will be working hard to give you the best content and of course we are incredibly grateful that you’ve taken a few minutes to read. Be sure to visit us at the end of December ’21 to see if my predictions came true!