Computer — TV convergence

CNN has a poll on computers and TVs (scroll down to see it):

As you can see, I voted for “10 years.” At the moment, I’m one of the tech-pessimists. More people said less than 10 years, and a surprising 9 percent said “it already is.”

I think this may have something to do with definitions. When my son Jimmy was 1 year old, the doctor asked us how many words he knew. We said, “zero,” even though he could say “da-da” and “na-na.” Problem was, he didn’t use them consistently. He did seem to call me “da-da,” but he also said that when his mom gave him a banana. “Da-da” didn’t mean “daddy,” it meant “anything good.” So by my definition, Jimmy didn’t know the word “daddy.”

Similarly, one could argue that my computer already is my TV. After all, my TV is hooked up to a computer — a TiVo. This is a full-fledged computer all right, running Linux and equipped with a 40-gig hard drive. But “my computer” isn’t “my TV” yet, because the computer that runs my TV doesn’t perform any computing functions besides recording and playing TV shows. “My computer” is an iBook, which I use to write, surf the internet, pay my bills, and compute my taxes. Honestly, other than perhaps basic Web surfing, I doubt I’ll be using my TV to do any of that even 10 years from now.

Why not? A better question would be simply “why?” I don’t need a 48-inch monitor and surround sound to pay my taxes, and I don’t need to be able to put my TV into a shoulder bag to take to Starbucks. Convergence can be cool, but sometimes it’s just a waste of time and effort.

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