Monday, November 20, 2006
Newer Television Technology Needs to Focus on Younger Viewers
While most surveys conclude that American's are not interested in watching video on their computers, and computer manufacturers have failed in past attempts to merge computer and television technologies, other survey results give them reason to keep trying.
Although the technology to use a television screen as a computer monitor has been around for decades, TV tuners for computers have also been available for a long time, and now television shows are available for download off the Internet, the American public has shown very little interest in watching television on their computers or using their televisions as computer monitors. The evidence of this apathy comes from both historical failures of products that perform these functions and from surveys. One survey indicated that ninety percent of Americans don't watch online video on their computers, and seventy five percent say they never will. Of the people who will watch video on their computers most of them only watch short video clips that are part of news coverage or short amateur videos. A smaller percentage will watch full length television shows and movies, and an even smaller percentage will pay to download video off of the Internet.
Yet despite these abysmal statistics and past failures in the marketplace, computer manufacturers continue to produce new devices that are supposed to bring the home computer into the living room. For example, HP recently announced the introduction of it's new Media Vault product which will give access of a staggering 1.2 terabytes of multimedia entertainment to computers and televisions over a home network. Apple has a similar system in the works that's supposed to take advantage of a wireless connection to send online video content to a television. Intel is hawking it's new Viiv technology that's supposed to integrate computers and televisions, making it possible to surf the Internet from your TV and watch video footage stored on your computer's hard disk on your TV.
The reason that the electronics industry should still try to bring television and computer technologies together is because, according to a recent poll, younger Americans place less value on television as a source of entertainment than older Americans. For example, only 15 percent of Americans between the ages of 12 and 17 would pick television if they could have only one electronic device. The number of young adults between 18 and 24 who would choose television as their only electronic device is slightly higher at 17 percent. By contrast, almost 40 percent of both groups said a computer would be their one and only electronic device.
If this poll is any indication, television is likely to decrease in popularity among younger Americans as the years go by. The difference appears to be social. Most younger people enjoy the interactive quality of the Internet. For example, social websites like Myspace offer social interaction that younger people crave, and that's something that probably won't change as these people get older and more socially isolated by jobs and family obligations. For these reasons, it's imperative that television manufacturers shift their resources into television/computer combinations in order to offer a product that will appeal to a changing market.