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Computer Channel

There was once a website called Prate, the organ of Jemma Hostetler, that playfully described itself as a "computer channel."

(Pretty sure she never did station idents, though.)

Lots of people have long been working towards various goals collected under the header of "the internet taking over the television." To the point where the line between the two is soon going to be very blurred.

People have been making tv for the internet for a long time — from Rocketboom, The Guild and Boing Boing Video to videobloggers and lifecasting channels. People have been making information services for the tv for even longer, since the days of Minitel and Ceefax.

Apple TV is already working. Google is developing Android software for televisions. Lots of people consider the tv to be just a big screen in your room that needs repurposing. Which is interesting to me for a few reasons, not the least of which being that I betcha more people timeshift their tv viewing on a computer screen than they do on a DVR hooked to a tv screen.

Are tv manufacturers really going to be an endangered species that need propping up with internet-company OS grafts?

Published in knock john


  1. For sports and effects feature films, “bigger is better” will still apply. But at the least, TVs could find themselves with less features (broadcast reception, whatever) and be reduced to monitors hooked-up to the home central computer.

  2. As long as you can easily move video from your tv to your computer and visa versa fairly easily, which we already can using a number of different gadgets I don’t see TVs dying out. I could be missing part of the equation though.

  3. KentL KentL

    “Are tv manufacturers really going to be an endangered species that need propping up with internet-company OS grafts?”

    Nope. A lot of the companies that manufacture TVs are the same as the companies that manufacture computer monitors, and they are moving in this direction with every new model. The nice big flat screen I bought last year has an ethernet port and inputs that support computer outputs (VGA and HDMI), and it’s not like that was top of the line. Hell, even my old tube TVs have s-video input that works with my laptop. I can stream Netflix or Hulu to them with ease. The lines between TV manufacturer and computer monitor manufacturer is pretty blurry at this point.

  4. Mark Cuban just did a post about this:

    I watch so little TV, that when I do, it’s on my PC screen now, not a dedicated device. But then, I grew up with lo-res non-cable ghostly monochrome TV. But still, I have to agree with xkcd about HDTV:

    For me, the need for TV rises only when it’s a live news event, something the Net really can’t yet do.

  5. TVs have always been dumb screens getting their information from elsewhere. This is just a new layer of interaction. First came the knob. Then knobs. Then the remote with 4 buttons. Then 8. Now a computer.

    I still want to throw the fucking thing out the window, but the Mrs. demands it remain.

  6. Gridlock Gridlock

    Quote me on this – AppleTV to be relaunched running iPhone OS (that OS needs a new name..) complete with App store and DVR features (maybe). Et voila, an “app console” under your TV to go with your iPhone, iPad..

    Pippin may well have the last laugh..

  7. joel joel

    It’s the biggest canvas that most people have so you might as well paint on it.

    For the equivalent of what a household paid for a television in the 50s you can have a display in your living room more than 2 meters across. you can have a projector big enough that it will fill the largest wall you own.

    The big display is the modern equivalent of the framework that holds the stained glass in a gothic cathedral or the ceiling holding the fresco program in Renaissance basilica.

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