Sunday, March 11, 2007
deliver and enjoy television. This marriage of computer technology and television technology is
something that the general public has resisted for a long time, but if the recent surge in popularity of
devices that combine the two is any indication, the consumer apathy of the past was largely because the technology of the past wasn't well enough developed to be convenient. Now, as people have become more computer literate and computer technology has become more user friendly, the two have finally met in the middle in such a way as to make television technology that uses computers attractive to everyone. One of the most popular types of computer enhanced television electronics are portable media devices. These are essentially the next generation of MP3 players that have been enhanced to play video and
display digital photographs either on their built in color LCD screens or over connected full sized TV
screens in addition to their ability to play digital audio files. Some of these portable media devices (also
called portable video devices) can even function as digital video recorders which can record video from
other devices. One can even be connected to digital cameras to function as a camcorder and be used
to surf the Internet via a Wi-Fi connection.
Video gaming platforms were perhaps the first devices to combine computer technology with TV
technology, but the ones that are available this holiday season are a far cry from those that were
available almost thirty years ago when they first came out. The leading portable video gaming platforms are the Xbox 360 from Microsoft, the Wii from Nintendo, and the Play Station 3 from Sony. While the Nintendo Wii (pronounced "we") has some novel features like wireless controllers that can be used to control virtual tennis rackets, golf clubs, and the like; the Play Station 3 and the Xbox 360 are the ones that really stand out. Both the Xbox 360 and the Play Station 3 use high definition digital video disc technology in HD-DVD and Blu-ray formats respectively and can function as high definition digital
video disc players. The Sony Play Station 3 really stands out in the overall scheme of things because of
its realistic graphics that some people have trouble distinguishing from images that aren't computer
There are also a lot of devices on the market that blur the lines between computers and TV's in much
more direct ways. These devices are all digital video recorders of one sort or another. The most fully
functional and expensive ones are the ones that blur the lines the most. They tend to be based on major computer operating systems like Windows XP or versions of Linux and have massive hard drives that can store hundreds of hours of video, handle high definition video as well as normal video, and even
burn recorded video onto DVD's. One of the Linux versions doesn't need a subscription to function
and will even detect and tag commercial breaks while it records television programming so that it can
then skip over the commercials when playing the video back for the user.
All of these different products show that computer technology has finally reached a level of maturity that allows it to be combined with television technology in a way that's satisfactory to consumers.