Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now


Good News: Affordable Tech

Tech costs continue to drop

Don’t you just love technology?

I grew up with a love for electricity and electronics from the very beginning—even as a four-year-old, I was playing with batteries, wires and light bulbs. Using the microphones and earphones from old dial telephones, plus some wires and batteries, I figured out how to make a full-duplex phone system by the time I was 10.

One of the things I love the most about technology is how quickly the cost drops on popular stuff. If you think the price is too high, wait a few months and it just might be at the price you want.

This sort of rapid price decrease is mostly for electronic items, and it can sometimes get confusing when an electronic item needs to be paired with a non-electronic item. As the cost of the electronic item drops, the non-electronic item’s price stays the same, which can bring about a situation where it seems like the tail is wagging the dog.

An excellent example is the price of professional video cameras, as compared to the lenses required for the camera’s operation. In 1995, an excellent camera that would be used by a TV station (including the docking recorder) would cost $30,000, and the necessary lens cost around $15,000.

You can now buy an excellent broadcast-quality camera for less than $10,000, but the cost of lenses has gone up, not down. Of course, today’s lenses are better in many ways than a lens from 20 years ago. However, so are the cameras, and they cost considerably less than they did 20 years ago. And today’s cameras record on tiny memory cards that consume virtually no power and add no weight.

Adding all that up, electronic equipment today costs less, weighs less, uses less power and works MUCH better than it did just a few years ago. If there ever was a textbook case of win-win for the video creator, this is it.


These thoughts came to mind when I saw an ad today for a local computer store that is selling 1 TB internal hard drives for $40 and 3 TB hard drives for $85. These are mainstream hard drives from a well-known manufacturer, not the cheapest technology from a questionable source. There’s even an external (USB3) 5 TB hard drive for $130.

That’s just the cost of hard drives. Everything related to computer hardware is much less expensive and much more capable than it was 10 years ago, and the same is true for the gear used to make television images.

Have you seen the cost and capabilities of security cameras today? It’s quite possible to get a security camera that will make HD images—even at night using infrared technology—for $200. If you want pan/tilt/zoom capability with connection provided through a single Cat-5 cable, the cost goes up to perhaps $600.

On the production side, you can get professional cameras, monitors, recorders, servers, switchers and editing systems today that far surpass the quality and capabilities of those products from 20 years ago, and it will all cost 1/5 of what it did in the “good old days.”

I know we’re all busy and getting as much work done as we can, but sometimes you have to take a moment to enjoy the wonder of technology. After all, we’d all be doing something else if it wasn’t for this stuff.