Co-Evolution: TV and Broadband Technology

Post by neil | December 14, 2011 | Broadband, TV | Comment

The convergence of the personal computer and the television is nearly complete. It took a while, and it would seem puzzling to the casual observer why the two technologies remained incompatible for so long. When the first PCs started to become commonplace, they used the same cathode ray tube displays as TVs from that time.

A switch occurred when computers were the first to use flat-panel LCDs for monitors, followed by televisions. This was mainly because consumers had become accustomed to large rear projection TVs, and the cost to switch to LCD technology for large TVs was rather steep. Early 40″ and larger LCD televisions could cost upwards of $5000. At the same time, computer users were seeking more display real estate for monitors. The weight of a large cathode ray computer monitor would have been a major obstacle, as computers are frequently moved and shipping costs would have been prohibitively high.

With the widespread distribution and adoption of broadband Internet, it was a fairly rapid transition to PCs that could connect to televisions and televisions that included connections for video data from computers. Further advancements in broadband technology, such as speeds that only a few short years ago were inconceivable, have put the necessary bandwidth for streaming large video files over the Internet into the hands of millions of viewers. High speed broadband means high definition content can be downloaded in minutes.

Consumers have benefited vastly from all the advancements in broadband technology, so much so that even computer companies that once limited their offering to PCs and peripherals now routinely offer large screen LCD televisions that can easily function as computer monitors. Looking at Dell TV deals is more than adequate proof that the computer, once confined to the office, is now at home in the living rooms and home theater systems of millions of people.

The complete convergence of the TV and the computer is probably yet to be seen, but the fact is that the two technologies are no longer as incompatible as they were initially.

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