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Tech: It’s all about entertainment (except when it’s not)

Despite its ability to disrupt the world, technology remains a tool of escape.

2020 was the year the world lost its grip on reality. The crazies thought 5G caused Covid. They burned 5G masts and posted messy ramblings (from their 4G phones); QAnon conspiracy theorists have chattered about Satanic pedophiles harvesting blood from children in tunnels under America; Donald Trump has become the cheerleader for all this misinformation.

Social networks have traditionally profited from these untruths and propaganda, while pushing users into empty tunnels of their own puff, further dividing the world. It took a pandemic and an out-of-control president to finally put Facebook and Twitter in some kind of line, with both platforms cracking down, in some way, on hate speech and misinformation. Lies spread faster than the truth, so social media moderation is a game of Whac-A-Mole.

Under-25s have flocked to TikTok, a made-in-China platform, to post dance videos and watch silly trends like the boarding up of breakfast cereals and the electrocution of household sockets. Yeah, that’s where you can stick your Ice Bucket Challenge, Grandpa.

Short videos have provided respite from elections, pandemics and institutionalized racism, but so has home entertainment, with streaming services – Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apple TV and our own networks such as RTE (the Toy Show n’ wasn’t he awesome?) and TG4 – providing good reasons to stay home and avoid the plague.

Sky, which created one of the biggest television shows in Chernobyl history, has added more than 40 high dynamic range films to its Sky Q service for Christmas. Sky Q has also refined its voice search, so you can find personalized recommendations while gorging on Harry Potter. Sky Go has added more access to Master’s Golf, EFL and Nations League matches. Get Sky Q, Netflix and Sky TV for €30 per month on a 12 month contract via sky.com/ie/tv

Despite its potential ability to disrupt the world, technology remains – more than anything else – a tool of escape. The launch of next-generation 4K consoles – PS5 and Xbox Series X/S – is a dream come true. 2020 closed the door to the last generation with notable titles such as The Last of Us Part II, Ghost of Tsushima and FIFA 2021. With Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Watch Dogs: Legion and the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077 in store for the next generation, there are more worlds to disappear into in 2021.

Between streaming and gaming, it’s a good time to invest in an outrageously massive TV. Sony’s OLED BRAVIA 4K HDR A9 and LG’s CX bring real-world visuals to your living room. Don’t forget your friends, though: 5G’s lightning-fast speeds have bolstered phones like the Google Pixel 5, iPhone 12 Pro, and Samsung Galaxy S11. Sorry, conspiracy theorists.

Artists in 2020 swapped the live stage for streaming gigs; and gadgets provided the link between them and their fans. Three.ie offers a selection of Chrimbo goodies, such as the Huawei FreeBuds Pro, Huawei Wireless Earbuds and JLab GO Air True Wireless Earbuds. Three.ie is also selling the ION Air LP record player for a low price of €99. Misinformation divides, but technology, like music, has the power to connect. To you…

Read the full year-end article The Whole Hog in the Hot Press Annual 2021 – available now: