Install Latest Version of the Adobe Flash Player? But It's the Last Play of the Game!!!
Globally, we spend about 25 times more time watching TV than using a computer. Little wonder, then, that companies like Intel have been striving for years to make the PC the fulcrum of the digital living room or at the very least, to make it look like a TV. But the idea of a living room PC just never quite caught on. Seems TV viewers–shocker!–like the TV viewing experience and don’t much want to see it compromised by a browser, keyboard and whatnot. So in August 2008, Intel (INTC) took a different tack, releasing the Media Processor CE 3100, a purpose-built System on Chips (SoCs), designed to bring the Internet to the TV without undermining the latter’s unique attributes. With hardware-based decoding for broadcast TV and DVD playback and software-based decoding for Internet content, the CE 3100 offered, in the words of Intel, a “richer and more seamless Web-based and video viewing experience.”
Great, another Web-connected TV platform, right? Bet stock quotes and weather reports will look amazing on that Plasma HDTV we’ve got in the living room….
A predictable and understandable response to the CE 3100 when it was first announced, but things have changed a bit since then. Working with Adobe, Intel has optimized the chip to run Flash. Which means consumers will soon be able to stream Flash video to their TVs without a separate set-top box or a PC. And once that happens, YouTube, Netflix and online TV providers like Hulu will almost certainly go mainstream.
And that means the digital living room may have finally arrived. As Forrester Research analyst Paul Jackson noted last summer: “If you look at these things what they boil down to is–is it compelling to use? Am I as a consumer going to sit on my couch with my very expensive TV and think ‘Wow, I really want to go and look at the weather.’ As we have seen, a lot of people are doing that with their laptop on their knee during the Olympics or the Superbowl, which is inconvenient and involves just one person. So getting to the stage where you can bring some of that functionality to the TV without it being disruptive to the viewing experience is what has been missing to date.”