Volume 6, # 2 September 2001
Category: Computers and Software
A Personal Historical Perspective
Here in 2000, everyone is touting "Convergence" as something new and exciting...yeah, right.
In 1989 I predicted the convergence of the common PC, TV (television), radio (AM/FM stereo) and phone (telephone). I envisioned myself using a computer that had the ability to watch television, listen to the radio, talk on the phone and control, monitor and manage other electric appliances in my home.
Correct my if I am wrong, but as far as I am aware, I was the only one at the time that foresaw this.
Add the TV database system I mentioned along with Smart home LAN's, and what Compaq showed at Comdex this fall brings us closer to the reality I imagined. My timeline for this was the year 2000. It is surprising just how quickly this is coming to pass and already several technologies exist that promise this marriage.
No one at the time even imagine this possibility, even though it seemed a logical next step, I mean it just makes sense, and why not? Perhaps in 1989 the basic hardware/software was there but the internet as an alternate pathway or gateway was not yet available to the public and maybe this is why convergence has come to the fore so recently.
TV+PC?? or PC+TV??
Today a huge battle is raising and many from each side are claiming their side will prevail. Actually neither will and both will...read on please.
Intel and Microsoft want the PC to be the integrator of the TV and PC. Television manufacturers and cable companies want the TV to be the integrator of the PC and the TV. As you read this both is happening and as new products are developed and improved we should see the differentiation fading.
As early as 1992, WinTV, a card for the PC allowed me to use Windows 3.1 to view television broadcasts through my PC. I could change channels and even cut and paste pictures from the television window.
Today, InterCast, a subsidiary of Intel has taken the concept a step further with a new Windows '95 interface and when Windows '98 comes out, it will part of the operating system, with a TV guide and all. Also, WaveTop provides similar capabilities.
The Future of TV/PC PC/TV
Today, WEBTV has made an impact, albeit minor so far. But Microsoft was so impressed that it bought the company. A new version of WEBTV will allow the viewer to concurrently access the WEB and watch TV at the same time, a capability only available to those with PC TV cards...
So when someone brings up and discusses about when the idea of "convergence" was first suggested, tell them that the concept was originated by ahhhh what's his name?? hint