OK, so I know this comes on the heels of another post where I leveraged Star Wars to offer criticism on the Switch Wars, but being that yesterday was May 4th, the official Star Wars birthday I just had to write something else.
Star Wars and AV have a long history as well, and anyone who has been around the industry long enough has most likely leveraged a scene or two from the space epic in their theater demos.
With that, I wanted to layout our AV galaxy in relatable Star Wars terms, in honor of Star Wars’ Birthday!
Luke Skywalker – Of course I have to start with the hero, and likewise I am assigning his character to the AV Integrator. He has raw talent but has a bit of an identity crisis at time and gets a little whiny on the subject of “power converters”. Likeable and willing to learn, he is the one who will fight the actual battle. He still relies a little too heavily on his light saber (products and install), and hasn’t yet figured out that the real power and value of “The Force” (integration) lies in his mind (advice, design and programming).
Princess Leia – She is the client. She puts out a message in the Galaxy that she is in need of some help. She knows of the alternative being offered by the Evil Empire, but she has heard rumors of a special breed of heroes with extraordinary abilities, that may be able to help her rebel against them.
Obi Wan Kenobi – Obi Wan’s reputation precedes him, and Leia reaches out to find him or someone of his kind. He used to fight these battles personally, and he had both great success and a few failures in doing so. He has since ceased wielding the power of “The Force” and took up refuge as a hermit in the desert. His knowledge is valid, but is sometimes a bit outdated, but he knows where the veterans hang out and is there to offer advice and help Luke create a plan for success. He is the AV Consultant.
Han Solo – Han is reliable and he knows how to get the job done. He is Analog HD (RGB and YPbPr). He still relishes in his glory days, telling everyone how he once got data from point A to point B in 12 parsecs, although people seem to be less familiar than he would like. He’s even been known to use his savvy to smuggle digital signals into analog Star Systems and has even shot an HDCP Bounty Hunter in a fit of HD Fury.
Chewbacca – He is Han’s Analog sidekick. Sure, he’s a little primitive, but in a hairy situation he can be your best friend. Sometimes going primal and using brute force is the only way to get the job done, which is why Han keeps him around just in case. He is Composite Video.
C3PO – This droid is all about protocols. He is DVI-D. He is an upgrade from his predecessor and is tied to binary transmissions. He can be very useful at times, with his communication ability (EDID). He is, however, very touchy as well and the galactic rumor is that he prefers to “associate” only with his own kind. Sometimes he is invaluable and other times Analog has to pick up his scattered pieces and carry him out on his back.
R2D2 – Old reliable. R2D2 is that piece of integration gear you can’t do with out. He sometimes takes the form of an EDID Emulator, aCat5e Balun or that favorite mini coax compression tool that is no longer available, but actually works. To the outsider he doesn’t look like much, and seems hardly valuable. However, when your engine is on fire or you are trapped in a Star Destroyer’s trash compactor, just at that moment that panic starts to set in, you hear a trio of beeps and whistles in your mind. You say, “R2? Is that you?” and everything seems to work out alright.
Yoda – Yoda comes from a strange land and talks a little funny. He is the Specialty AV Gear Manufacturer. Obi Wan (the consultant, remember?) sends you out to learn something new for your mission. You land in an indecipherable swamp and are approached by the backward talking troll who promptly steals your favorite flashlight. After a few days of him riding you around through an obstacle course, you find him actually endearing, and he imparts some new knowledge to you, allowing you to levitate your ship, the next time it gets “bogged” down.
Lando Calrissian – Lando loves one thing… himself. He sees Leia and thinks of himself as the one to sweep her off her feet. He used to be good friends with Han and Chewie (Analog), but they haven’t hung out in a while. He seems to try to play both sides and ends up inadvertently handing Han over to Jabba the Hutt. To his credit, he sees his mistake later and does help free him back up, but leaves him partially blind for a time in the process. He thinks he is the cat’s meow, but he forgets that he’s relevant in less than a third of the plot lines. He is the control system manufacturer.
Jawas – These little nomadic imps cross the galaxy with a truck full of junk, trying to pass it off at whatever profit they can muster. You’ll be lucky to find them again when their product falls to pieces, as it surely will. They are the Trunk-Slammers of the galaxy.
Jabba the Hutt – This glutton is HDMI. He is a bandwidth hog, born out of greed and paranoia, and judging by his amorphous, ever-changing shape, he hardly ever works out. He has employed an army of HDCP Bounty Hunters to ensure that Han Solo (Analog HD) is delivered to him in carbonite, to be admired as a trophy on his wall. He chains Leia and makes her a slave to him. (Hopefully life imitates art and the customer kills strangles Jabba to gain their freedom again someday).
The Evil Empire – This is the legion of forces driving commoditization and promoting convenience over quality. For us this can be everything from Amazon to AAC files. Anyone who tells the consumer that if they compromise quality, they can bypass the AV industry should be seen as the potential enemy.
The Death Star – This is the physical tool of commoditization utilized by the Evil Empire, the Box Store. Its yellow and blue exterior is a tractor beam, drawing consumers in to buy products that will be installed by the swarm of Storm Trooper know nothings in black and white Tie-Fighters coming in and out of this abomination. The nice part is that we have the blueprints and know the weaknesses.
Lord Vader – Darth Vader is a composite. He is a former hero with good intentions who once led the revolution against the “blue-blooded” clones of the world. He is a shadow of his former self, but still has an extreme grasp on power and the potential for redemption. He opened new worlds of products to the universe while simultaneously killing audio quality for a whole generation. The verdict is still out so let’s hope that just like in the movies, he leans back toward hero. He is Apple.
Who did I miss? Who did I get wrong? Chime in below in the comments section and I’ll either give you a nod, employ a Jedi mind trick, or if all else fails, throw you to the wall with a force push!