For a long time I’ve thought that I was unlikely to ever put a PC in my family room next to the TV, because a PC was so unfriendly. And the PC really hasn’t gotten a lot better.
But I read this article — Easy as a TV — and my recent experience adding HDTV, a PVR, a new DVD player, and a media receiver to my family room is starting to warm me up to the idea of a PC in the room.
While a PC is still a pain in the ass to use, the aggregate user interface of my home-theatre receiver, dvd player, pvr, media receiver, game box, etc is WAAAY worse than any PC experience. The inconsistent terminology across devices, modality, crappy remotes, etc — I can’t imagine how regular human beings ever make all this stuff work. I could drop in a PC and wipe out the need for a dvd player, pvr, media receiver, game box, etc. And a nicely done integrated PC could have a much more consistent UI across all these. I think the real challenge here is for the CE industry to realize that they are on the brink of being wiped out by general purpose computing platforms, and getting their act together quick to simplify the experience for traditional CE equipment. Or the battle will be over.