Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The PC as TV

One of the most hackneyd words of the past two decades has been convergence. I remember using it extensively in marketing materials for the British Interactive Multimedia Association in 1990.

But, as they say, it's difficult to see the future as it's rushing past you, and today convergence is a reality.

Perhaps a good analogy to what's happening to TV today is what happened to the record player (remember those ?) which morphed into the HiFi stack. Now, the TV (or the loverly new 60" LCD screen) comes with a wide range of boxes attached, from the cable or satellite STB to your PVR and DVD player.

Microsoft, in their quest to be the de facto OS for all things electronic set their sights on this market some time ago with their Media Centre Edition of Windows. This is an interface where you can view and record TV, access online channels and store and play your music library.

Surprisingly, this product has been on the market for over two years but is just finally gaining acceptance and is set to power a wide range of devices, from your home mediacentric PC to your cable or satellite service.

MCE hardware devices oftern look more like traditional satellite or cable set top boxes and sit comfortable under that great new flat screen in the living room.

The bottom line here is that the TV as we know and love it does not exist any more and is set to go the way of the VCR.

I'm often asked when Narrowstep's channels will be available on a TV set (some already are on the Sky TV satellite service in the UK), and my answer is 'why bother ?'. We live in an age where even IP enabled fridges can connect to channels on Narrowstep's telvOS platform. Now that's what I call convergence...

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