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Monday, January 10, 2005

The TV Is Not A PC

( Via Doc Searls) We recently covered Russell Beattieā€™s view that very soon anything you're able to record on your TiVo will be playable on your Windows Mobile device, the new MSN Video Downloads service (among others) will allow you to see television and movies, and the variety of integrated music stores will allow you to buy and play music. Phillip Swann writes that this integration shall never happen as people associate Television for a set purpose which can never be change just by expected technological advances. Swann elaborates :

1. Many PC-TV officials think of the PC as an entertainment device. Unlike most people, they enjoy being on the PC and do not associate it with work. By bringing PC features to the TV, they believe they are simply spreading the joy to another device. Let the multi-tasking begin!

2. Many PC-based companies have concluded that PC sales are flat and will remain flat. Consequently, they are trying to open up a new category for their PC software and related products. If they can persuade Americans to think of their TV as a PC, their revenue will keep climbing.

However, it's not going to happen, no matter how much money is spent in the effort. Americans believe the TV is for entertainment and the PC is for work. New TV features that enhance the viewing experience, such as Digital Video Recorders, High-Definition TV, Video on Demand, Internet TV (the kind that streams Net-based video to the television, expanding programming choices) and some Interactive TV features (and, yes, just some), will succeed. Companies that focus on those features will also succeed.But the effort to force viewers to perform PC tasks on the TV will crash faster than a new edition of a buggy PC software. I have to agree with Swann's arguments.
Doc Searls adds,"There's a subtle point here, that has to do with how most people understand TVs and PCs. Years ago, when "interactive TV" trials were busy failing, a Sony executive said something like "the only thing most TV viewers want to interact with is the refrigerator." That was Swann's point, essentially. No matter how much intelligence, integration, management or connectedness one adds to television (or anything), you don't change what it's originally for. I beleive the sceptisim gets compounded by Microsoft's poor track record in designing, rolling and supporting products. Also we have always found in the consumer electronics industry some of the bundlings consistently failing to live upto expectations upon launch (e.g Mobile + PDA integration when launched). Afterall a TV is a TV, a PC is a PC.

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Sadagopan's Weblog on Emerging Technologies, Trends,Thoughts, Ideas & Cyberworld
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