Some people have no sense of timing. For example, why do the TV and movie studios choose to fight the Writers Guild of America over pennies on a corporate scale, when they could be greeting a new golden age for filmed entertainment?

There's plenty of evidence of the potential for greatness in the entertainment industry. For example, the annual Consumer Electronics Show is winding down in Las Vegas, and the coverage is nearly unanimous: The television is one of the hottest gadgets on the market again. From OLED screens to 150-inch plasma sets and Wi-Fi-enabled TVs, the love buzz is all about the American living room.

Starting early next year, TV viewers will get digital signals or nothing at all, as the government's deadline to phase out analog broadcasts arrives. Digital flat-screen TV prices have plummeted as Hitachi, Sony (NYSE: SNE), Syntax-Brillian (Nasdaq: BRLC), and other manufacturers step up their production lines to meet the new demand. It's hard for me to name a neighbor who doesn't have high-def, or who still watches analog cable or over-the-air signals.

TiVo (Nasdaq: TIVO) is a household name, although most of us have copycat knockoffs. Either way, I can't remember the last time I missed a show I really wanted to watch; it's so easy to just record it and watch the next day. And there are plenty of new distribution channels available, some in high-def and some not. Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) wants you to download movies from its Unbox service, and Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) is looking beyond the DVD-by-mail model to set-top boxes and the like from dozens of partners. Getting a digital signal for big-screen TV is finally easy.

On top of all that, News Corp (NYSE: NWS) COO Peter Chernin has explained that the credit crisis is a good thing for the entertainment industry because it makes studios work harder on good ideas and dump the questionable ones. So even the financial markets are helping.

My editors might egg my house if I called this a perfect storm, but it is what it is. I can't think of another time in history when conditions were so ripe for making huge profits off entertainment-hungry consumers. All the elements are in place. Well, except for one: no new content, courtesy of writers on strike.

If I were the CEO of a media business such as Disney (NYSE: DIS) or Viacom, I would make darn sure my company didn't miss this massive opportunity. This is a bad time to filibuster over minutiae. It's time to sit down at the bargaining table, hammer out a deal, and get back to work.

There's money to mint, and you might as well spread the wealth fairly. There'll be plenty left over for shareholder returns and executive bonuses.

Further Foolishness:

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Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares in Disney and Netflix, but he holds no other position in companies discussed here. The writers have his full support because he knows that writing is hard work. You can check out Anders' holdings if you like. Foolish disclosure is handing out ramen noodles on the ABC picketing line.