Friday, November 10, 2006
Over The Air HDTV Now Available On Your Laptop
There's been a lot of activity lately among computer manufacturers and software companies who are trying to tap into the similarities between computers and televisions. Most of the time computer manufacturers have been trying to develop computers that people will plug their TV's into. This could have a number of advantages like being able to watch video downloaded from the Internet on the living room television. It could also let people surf the web and get normal work done using a larger screen and from the comfort of their own couches.
This idea isn't really new. There have been adapters to enable a TV screen to be used as a computer screen around at least since the eighties, and manufacturers were producing systems specifically designed to use a television as a display as early as the the beginning of the nineties. Of course back then, with more limited content available on the Internet and far lower connection speeds, such a system would mostly have been used to play video games and do work form the comfort of the Barca Lounger or sofa.
Now with increased content on the Internet and the widespread use of broadband connections, you would think that there would be even more reason to integrate the TV and the home computer. Unfortunately, while there does seem to be a slow trend in that direction, surveys indicate that most people are pretty apathetic when it comes to getting video over the Internet.
Lately however, a Korean company has decided to approach this problem from a different angle. A new device called the OnAir GT which is manufactured by OnAir Solution of South Korea and marketed by AutumnWave is a High Definition receiver which can take high definition television signals transmitted over the air by local television stations or through an unencrypted cable connection and display it on a computer screen. The unit is small enough to be portable and designed for use with a laptop computer although it will work with a desktop computer as well. It connects using a USB 2.0 port and cable and can record programming on the computer's hard drive.
This approach to watching television on a computer could be more successful than past efforts for several reasons. For one thing, once the device has been bought it's essentially free to use because, unlike much of the video content on the Internet, over the air signals are free. It also doesn't have a lot of the frustrations associated with the Internet. That is, it makes programming available to everyone who has it regardless of what type of Internet service they have.
The device is mainly going to be marketed to college students and business travelers. The rational is that college students are more likely to watch video on devices other than TV's than most other audiences and they tend to live in cramped quarters without a lot of space for extra electronics. The OnAir GT is also expected to be popular among business travelers because it's important for them to stay informed and they also don't have room for a lot of bulky electronics.
The OnAir GT has actually been around for a while, but hasn't been marketed in earnest until now and is expected to appear in a variety of stores for the 2006 holiday season.