Robert Johnson is known as the king of the Delta blues. One reason is that his small output was brilliant. The other, bigger reason is that the recordings that remain of his short life are among the earliest that sound good… most audio recordings from before 1936 sound antique and scratchy.
The Wizard of Oz is one of our great movies, and one of the oldest that people regularly watch today. One reason is that the production values of 1939 were just good enough to still feel professional today. The movies from just a few years earlier are jumpy, faded relics.
People can happily read a first-edition Agatha Christie mystery, but a book from 1700 is rarely read in the same way.
No one wants to see websites that were built in Geocities or pages from Prodigy today. But a blog like this one is still readable and fresh, even though it has a design that’s nearly a decade old.
When a medium hits sufficient resolution, future advances are nice, but they’re not essential. And once an industry realizes this, future investments in resolution begin to slow down. Of course, it’s difficult to tell if the resolution is sufficient until after the fact.
Right here, right now, we’re discovering a wide range of content that has a resolution that is crossing the line to sufficient. That’s going to lock in new forms of interaction and culture for a long time to come.