Is TV the New PC?

18 Comments

Earlier this morning, we received the latest report from Arnie Berman, technology strategist for Cowen & Company. He asked an interesting question, which I thought would be something we all should discuss.

This is what he wrote: “In the past, consumers replaced their PC’s every 3 years and their televisions roughly every decade. Is this trend poised to reverse? Hint: Yes.”

Do you agree? If yes, then who stands to benefit from this change in consumer behavior? In other words – the Intel of this ecosystem! Is it Corning, or Texas Instruments?

18 Comments

Umang

There is some convergence in their roles but there is divergence too:
I think the TV will evolve into the home theatre system – focussing only on a better audio-visual experience. I would hate to read email on a 65-inch screen sitting 7 feet away.
The PC will manage content for the TV (antenna/dvd player) and act like the remote control.

Mark Forman

Got me off of the Google Reader for the comments on this post. Very heady discussion on this one. Full disclosure-I’m writing on a G4 Mac(7 years old) which other than a little slow(by today’s standards) still purring along just fine.

re: all the conjecture expressed here I too believe that PC will drive the TV,and concur with M. Abel that once people switch to new TV’s they’re not gonna be replacing them as often as a pair of Nikes.

M. Abel

I think this shortening of the TV pruchase cycle is a transient phenomenon. TVs are making their greatest technology transformation since the adoption of color. However, ultimately, most people will find that they don’t need more than 1080p resolution and that the TV they have is large enough. In another 5 years when the bulk of people have transitioned to new HDTVs, we will see the cycle return to 10 odd years.

shadilac

I think a major reason people buy new computers so often is because they have horrible reliability. That’s been my experience so far, time and time again. I was happy with my Pentium, it died, I bought a P2. I was happy with my P2, it died, I bought a P4. I was happy with my P4, it died, I bought an AMD64. I’ve had it for 2 years (cross fingers) I’m happy with it so far, I can easily see myself going many more before speed becomes an issue. TV’s, on the other hand, last forever.

N.Cauldwell

This is really an issue of viewing distances and environments. The same hardware will power all your displays – how, where, and from what distance you consume the media, will be determined only by the display technology available. It’s highly unlikely that we’ll see the living room and the office/workspace converging any time soon (who wants to watch a movie at their desk?), so a PC/TV display divide will remain commonplace.

N. Venkatraman

No. There is an important distinction. Sales of PC is driven by Moore’s law and the growing number of software applications that are written to take advantage of the hardware power. PC and TV may be converging but I do not see any of the electronics companies becoming the equivalent of either Microsoft or Intel of the TV ecosystem. What we may see is that either Microsoft or Apple (or Google or Motorola or Cisco) becoming a dominant player in the convergenged space between TV and PC. I doubt that it will be traditional electronics companies but someone who can lock the key architectural control point in the emergent IPTV ecosystem.

Brian Laks

people are going to donate their archaic 20 inch computer monitors to the OLPC cause. It seems the rich or techno-freakish already use oversized hd tvs as computer monitors. I agree with guynamednate that the PC will serve as more of a central server for your home, which will accept the inputs (tv, phone, internet –all which should eventually come as one) and allow them to be directed to whatever compatible device you choose. In most automated homes / “houses of the future” this is the role it already serves.

Jeff O'Hara

It will be a cold day in hell if I have to replace my TV every 3 years. I would rather give up my TV.

dharh

For console gamers, the separate TV unit is likely going to stay. Unless that is everything heads to HDMI (meaning monitor connection, instead of DVI).

My scenario is this. I use a TV primarily for the few shows I record on DVR (which I would love to just drop cable and view on my PC) and my consoles. I have an older TV with no next gen consoles yet. New console will mean a new TV.

I have 2 PCs. One is a media TV, it handles all my music and IPTV stuff. It’s playing pretty consistently. The second is my work/gaming PC. I keep it bare minimum in terms of extra stuff running. I can compile or game on the PC while I watch IPTV/listen to music.

If I could combine my regular TV with my media PC I would. So far though its just not there for me yet.

Janne Toivoniemi

I think in 10 years we don’t talk about TV and PC anymore. There will be many devices which have access to the media (all of them little bit different access than other devices). The importance isn’t anymore in the device. The main point is the access to the media (a.k.a. content).

The dichotomy between TV and PC will be archaic. In the near future we will see the first signs of this. People won’t ask “Did you saw the latest episode of the Lost?”. They will ask “What version of the episode you watched? Screen, mobile, text-version or …” To think about the PC and TV is way too narrow.

sean percival

For some reason people keep trying to make the PC replace the TV when they should reverse this.

My cable box has a network port, hard drive and other goodies so looks like they are on the way.

Rajeev A. Kadam

I really think that the PC is the new TV. I should know, I stare at the numbers all day. If you take a look at the numbers, the month by month increase of television watched via PC keeps increasing. I would not be surprised if IPTV becomes the mainstay coupled with lower priced LCD monitors…it starts to make sense.

Rajeev Kadam
divinity Metrics

Chintan

Missing option: I just watch PC on my TV.

Recently, I got rid of my ridiculously costly Time Warner cable. I now subscribe to couple of streaming sites that show me TV shows – the quality is not that bad, besides I only need to shell out few bucks for what I really want to watch.

Nick Hawkins

I’m thinking that the TV replacement cycle might drop to 6-8 years, but to consider replacing an expensive TV every 3 years is kind of strange to me.

Sergio

I definitely think that the more interesting and charged question is ‘Is PC the New TV?’ I just don’t see a future other than any show at any time on your PC or your TV via PC.

guynamednate

An interesting idea, but there is no way in hell people will hang on to their PC’s for a decade.

I think the trend of replacing a TV every decade will reduce to every 5 years or so. If you bought a TV 5 years ago, it’s probably showing its age versus today’s LCD and Plasma displays. 5 Years from now, those same LCD’s and Plasmas will begin to look archaic compared to the ultra-thin, super high contrast, OLED TV’s that are beginning to appear this year (in a small and very expensive way).

As for PC’s, I think they will maintain a 3-5 year replacement cycle but more importantly, is the replacement cycle for cell-phones. Phones are going to be taking over more and more of the role PC’s currently have (and PC’s will begin to take on more of a “central server” role for all of your devices).

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