Growing up, we pretty much missed the VCR generation. We didn't have a VCR unit; in fact, we only got a colour TV much later when almost everyone else we knew was already enjoying whatever little TV content was available on the two (if you were lucky; it was mostly just one ) TV networks in our area in colour.
We were certainly aware we were missing out - kids at school often talked about movies and cartoons they parents were getting for them, though we didn't matter much. We got books and comics and we were content with that, for the most part, but we still wanted to join the conversation, but we didn’t really know who that super giant super hero was, nor who this sword weird cartoon warrior came from.
Fast forward today, we have Netflix. Other luckier folks elsewhere in the world have access to even more such services (Amazon, Hulu). Sure, it took a long time to arrive, and the catalog is not comparable in size and variety to most other countries Netflix is also available at, but its a huge step forward.
We don’t have much time for anything nowadays, but when we can find an hour or two late in the night, we just open Netflix on the Apple TV(or any other device), and the content is there - streaming instantly in HD. We are currently addicted to Suits (highly recommended TV series), but we have found great films, many we didn’t know about but we trusted Netflix recommendations(its uncanny how good they are).
I don’t know how VR and AR will shape our video consumption experience in the years to come, but it stands to reason that a few years later we ‘ll think back to this generation and feel like we do now, when we recall the VCR years. Such is the power of technology, and we ‘d be fooling ourselves if we think we can predict the how and the when, but we should know that whatever we imagine will fall short, both in terms of the experience, and in our timeframe projection — it will arrive sooner rather than later.
What remained constant and will still be true in the years to come, is that content is king. The medium itself, resolution, distribution channels, those matter and technology shifts mean that the quality will always get better, access will always get faster, quality will always get higher - but that counts for nothing, if the content is not great. Conversely, if the content is great, it will stand the test of time and will be as enjoyable in the future as it has been in the past.