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Saturday, January 22, 2005

Convergence : New Approach & Fresh Business Perpsectives Needed.

We recently covered The TV Is Not A PC .The CSMonitor writes, Convergence - It's been the mantra of the electronics industry since the 1990s- But despite words of support from nearly every quarter, it remains elusive. Electronic devices that ought to be able to talk to each other stay stubbornly silent - or turn consumers into hardworking digital diplomats before they intercommunicate.
Video coming into your home via a television ought to be transferrable to a PC or any portable video device. Photos should travel easily and directly from camera to TV or printer then back to the computer or online. Those handy little flash-drive storage devices, such as the memory cards in digital cameras, should work in any camera or computer, not just one brand. Phones should transfer easily between landline, cellular, or Internet-based calls. Consumers will "choose from a vast array of devices and services that work together seamlessly and suit the way they live," But even the leader of the digital world saw his media center lock up - twice - when he tried to demonstrate at the show how various "The next wave of home network consumers is increasingly eager to share content among devices in the home," says Ross Rubin, director of industry analysis for The NPD Group
. While PC users know all about finicky computer programs and fickle Internet connections, consumer products such as TVs and stereos, let alone refrigerators and toasters, are expected to work flawlessly and with a minimum of fuss. Today's DVDs have that kind of flexibility: They'll play on any brand of player (unless you burn them at home, in which case you may run into problems with incompatible formats). But the next generation, rather than being more compatible, is caught in battle between Blu-ray discs vs. HD-DVD. Another key convergence issue: How to let audio and video files travel freely between devices and still maintain digital rights and copyright protections for originators. Organisations like The Digital Living Network Alliance, , a consortium of consumer-electronics, computer, and mobile-phone companies, are trying to sort out the issues. One strategy is to allow products to use their own proprietary formats internally but insist that they have the ability to translate them into a common format for interconnection purposes - if copyright limits permit.
Om Malik writes,"Most companies are trying to impose the PC on the other two screens. But altering the form and function of these devices is just not going to work. Television has had more than half a century to hook us on blissful passivity. The remote control has made that passivity more clickable, but we still remain swallowed up in our Barcaloungers as we thumb our remotes. Then there's the movement to impose television on the cell phone ignoring the fact that wireless networks need content that's made specifically for mobile platforms".

My Take :The topic of convergence is again taking centerstage.. part of a seasonal cycle. The serious impediment to making this happen may not be technology but control on standards. There is an ongoing ward between Japanese and Korean companies about contolling 4g phone communication ( Read Nextgen wireless – Asia sets the standards )_standards. The whole focus in the industry seems to be keeping more control As techdirt points out,more adaptation of open systems, fresh business models are needed to take convergence forward.

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Sadagopan's Weblog on Emerging Technologies, Trends,Thoughts, Ideas & Cyberworld
"All views expressed are my personal views are not related in any way to my employer"