We’ve been hearing for two decades now about television/computer/Internet convergence. Televisions sets today are advanced digital products, and we connect computers and specialized set-top boxes to ’em, but they’re still primarily display devices.
In his biography of Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson writes that Jobs ““very much wanted to do for television sets what he had done for computers, music players, and phones: make them simple and elegant.”
Jobs told Isaacson that “I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud. No longer would users have to fiddle with complex remotes for DVD players and cable channels. It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.”
More on the Jobs/Apple vision of convergence here.
I’m imagining a media device that, like the Internet, swallows all other forms: television set, movie theatre, stereo, juke box, etc. But it would also be interactive, a window on the rest of the world. This isn’t exactly cutting edge – those who think about such things expected it before now.
Speaker: Lawrence Keyes, CEO, Microdesign
Continuing from Twitter tweets…
Talking about the DocBox, a set-top box for telemedicine. Currently seeing senior Tai Chi class taught over the DocBox, which is connected via DLS or cable of at least 384Kbs up and down. Sound is transmitted through the television set; DocBox has a built in microphone (controlled for classes centrally – microphones may be switched off for a class, can hold up your hand to speak.) Via split screen, the patients in a class can see each other.
Requires fixed IP address, “illegal” with some providers who use DHCP persistently.
It’s obvious how Fiber to the Home would help: better video and audio. Quality potentially good enough for diagnostic imaging. Electronic Health Record, video conferencing and monitoring expected. Anyone can be a provider: every patient can be a transmitter via symmetrical network, and network can be managed from anywhere.
See http://www.mxdesign.net for more info.
A citizen activist asked my opinion of adopting an online televsion platform for activist work. Example: CitizenSolutions.tv, “communicating what works for America.”
My response: if you’re asking me if I think a citizen’s group should adopt a web version of one-to-many broadcast technology and support efforts to turn the web into television, I have to say no.
I had a conversation not long ago about a diet with meat vs no meat, and the nutritionist I was talking to said that meat should be used as a condiment, not a main dish. That’s probably how you should approach video.
There’s a lot of interest in adding video to web sites, and we’ve worked on projects where it makes good sense to do that. I’ve also worked on activist projects where we used video effectively. You might use video to show irregularities at the polls (something we did in 2004 and others have done since – Video the Vote is a good example. You might also use video to show what mainstream media chooses to ignore – as Indymedia, for instance, has done.
There will inherently be more and more video and rich media online, but we have to think about the context we’re creating. I know there are ways to be interactive in and around video, but I’m still concerned that more video = more passive watching, less interaction. The web promised more: I’m remembering the tag line Paco Nathan came up with for our media company, FringeWare: “Because your television doesn’t love you anymore.”
(Disclosure: I actually do watch televsion, probably far more than I should.)
What do you think?