Wednesday, October 29, 2003


The Long Last Gasp of Tube-Based TV  

The Long Last Gasp of Tube-Based TV: "The Long Last Gasp of Tube-Based TV

Published: October 29, 2003

UNKIRK, Md. - America's love affair with all things big has moved from supersize French fries and sport utility vehicles to large flat-panel, wide-screen, HDTV-compatible televisions, the kind that can hang on a wall. While comparatively few are bought today - because of their high cost - sales are expected to explode this decade as prices plunge.
Old-style sets are on their way out, a trend that is bound to be accelerated even further by Sony's decision to end production of traditional cathode ray tubes in Japan to focus exclusively on newer display technologies. [World Business, Section W.] "

I'm sure that this will further push along the beginning avalanche of convergnce. The TV set and the computer monitor, never that far apart technologically, will become one. I'm not sure there will be a loser in this, unless it's the people (like me) who can't really afford this major an upgrade. Major? Sure! The average household is likely to have at least two TV's and likely more like three or four, if there are kids involved. Then add in a couple of computer monitors. Now, imagine taking all of them and chucking them in the trash.

Ugly? You bet! Not likely to happen in MY house, where there are more like 5 TV's. There are tremendous benefits, I think. You have a definite better picture to gain and the cost benefit of not having the manufacturing cost differential between TV and monitor. Add in less heat generated than with the old CRT technology and less power consumed. If you multiply 6 CRT's per house times the estimated 100 MILLION homes involved and you start seeing some real consequences in power consumption, nationwide.

Convergence, though, is what it's all about. The choice it opens up when the computer can be used as a front end for a vastly wider entertainment experience. I think that the victims here (besides the old CRT technology and manufacturers) will be set-top boxes, game consoles, video rental outlets, and record stores. Hmm? The last two? Yes. Video of choice on demand will be the killer app. Add to that the current boom in music downloads and it starts to make RealNetworks' Rhapsody service look a little less loony. I'm sure that's what they're banking on. Game consoles will fade as people actually bring the PC out of the dark corners of the house into the living room. Then you'll see real multi-tasking, multi-USER PC's bloom. The PC will run the entertainment hub of the home while still allowing dad to get on with surfing or doing the bills (or the family web site). You may see remote systems throughout the house for access in other areas, but the main Heavy Iron will be in the living room with the family big-screen video. Home networking will be taken for granted, so that the entertainment can be accessed by family members no matter what room they're in.

Given all that, Microsoft's moves with Windows Longhorn and its Aero UI don't seem far-fetched, it seems like Microsoft, for one, realizes that this is all headed our way and they're trying very hard to get ready for it. The OS is going to be the home quarterback for all of that.

Let's hope that they can truly build security and the ultimate in spam (both e-mail and visual) protection into the thing or we may never forgive them. I predict that there will have to be some kind of resolution of the whole privacy/advertising issue before convergence takes over. Convergence won't leave us anywhere to hide from advertising and there had better be a way for people to control it or The People will take it out on the politicians. Congress be warned!

More later....

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