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October 13, 2015

More proof that computers won't replace televisions

by Bob Sassone, posted Aug 8th 2006 4:04PM

ViivHaving a computer/TV setup seems like a dream come true, especially for couch potatoes and geeks. You can watch TV, download music and movies, surf the web, and check e-mail from the comfort of your couch, using a remote to control the megasystem that's in one area of your house. So how come we haven't really seen that happen yet?

Slate has an interesting piece today that talks about computer/TV products that never came to be, or came to be and then quickly died (like the Viiv):

"My theory is that PC-TV hybrid products like Viiv aim for a sweet spot that doesn't exist. Very savvy consumers will hack together these setups themselves. The less savvy will just keep their TVs and computers separate. And the folks in the middle? If they're around, nobody has found them yet."

Hmmm...I consider myself in the middle. I'm a bit savvy, but I still want to keep my computers and TV separate. Not because I wouldn't necessarily want to have a computer/TV mix if a perfect setup could be created. It's more because I don't really see a need to have my computer on my TV, or vice versa. And I don't want to play games on my cellphone or watch a TV on my refrigerator or take notes on a Blackberry.

What do you think?

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Sean Brinkley

I keep looking for hooks on the back of my TV and I just can't find any.

August 08 2006 at 11:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Akbar Fazil

I have regular cable run through my tivo to my tv.
I have a PC with my own designed media center on it also hooked up to my tv. I use it to store my massive DVD collection (ripped to huge hard drives) play my music, HD over the air signal and any avi file.

But then ive been running a computer hooked up to my TV for about 8 years now so I am in the very savvy category. I agree that most products put out there never quite do what I want in this setup.

August 08 2006 at 6:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bob Mc

I have the equipment to make it happen today; I just don't see the point. Maybe someday they'll be linked when it becomes convenient, but until someone (Apple) makes that product, I can wait.

August 08 2006 at 5:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"you're obviously someone who doesn't timeshift your viewing habits, or watch non-US programs."

That may be the case. The question is how many do? Most people who do use DVRs instead of homemade solutions. I think you're in the "very savvy" camp, dude.

August 08 2006 at 4:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

you're obviously someone who doesn't timeshift your viewing habits, or watch non-US programs.

i've got a laptop with all the viewing i could want hooked to display on a television. it's networked and can have media shifted to it from other sources. it can play any file in varying resolutions and it's all commercial free.

the system needs tweaking yet, but it really isn't all that hard to setup or maintain. for someone who has spent years watching media either on a small computer screen or burnt on an .avi playing DVD player, this set up is something i've been waiting for.

i don't use it to surf, check e-mail or any other traditional computer activities. it's basically used as a reciever/cable box/vcr replacement.

August 08 2006 at 4:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

When I look at my cable service's program guide on my TV I find myself wanting to be able to click on it to get more information. But I think this may be the only convergence application I want right now.

August 08 2006 at 4:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The vaunted "convergence" of television and computer is just a fevered dream of marketers desperately looking for "the next thing."
Watching television is a very passive activity -- thus, the term "couch potato." One sits and lets the information be pushed to them.
Using a computer, surfing the net, playing games: these are all active. The user actively searches for or requests information.
The only thing that these activities have in common is a display device. The fundamental methods of interacting with the device are different, necessitating different UIs and ways of controlling the system.
And as if that wasn't enough, I think that people want to be passive when watching television; they just won't want this convergence.

August 08 2006 at 4:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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