Home Platform

WSJ writes about the home platform war which surfaced at the Consumer Electronics Show:

At the heart of the dispute is whether the personal computer or the television will be the entertainment hub of the future – and the focus of a new wave of product development.

Making the products that are the fulcrum for the move to new forms of entertainment digital video and music downloaded from the Internet can mean the difference between growth and stagnation. It is not surprising that PC makers Dell, Intel and Microsoft see a powerful role for the computer. Barrett argues that the PC is an interactive device allowing material to be created and tailored for use, as opposed to a television, which is largely limited to a passive display. As consumers adopt wireless, broadband connections to the Internet, “I think we are increasing the importance of the PC,” he said during a speech.

It is the computer that is leading the way to online gaming, and not the game console, Dell pointed out at the show. However, Sony’s Ando sees the broadband connection to the home leading to the television, not the PC.

“The television is being reborn as an always-on interactive device,” he told show attendees during an address. Other devices in the home, from PCs and game machines to digital cameras, will become subordinate, feeding the TV content for display.

The same battle will play itself out in countries like India. My belief is that it will be an affordability issue: the TV is always purchased before the computer. For homes which cannot afford the PC, the TV becomes the first platform. From a technology standpoint, the PC can do much more, but then one has to spend more too.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.