TV’s reign over home entertainment may be at an end if this years IFA electronics fair, taking place in Berlin, is a sign of things to come – with PCs at the forefront of the charge to overtake broadcast media as the primary use for TVs themselves.
While TVs themselves are once again the centre of attention with companies fighting to show off what they believe is the next big thing, PC vendors such as HP and Fujitsu-Siemens are showing off the latest hardware that turns the TV from being a conduit for what broadcasters want you to experience into something that displays what you want to see.
Microsoft’s XP-based Media Centre and Vista are leading the charge with its new Media Server expected to boost sales – both HP and Fujitsu-Siemens are both expected to be displaying hardware based upon the operating systems.
Gartner analyst Mike McGuire doesn’t believe that the transformation will happen straight away though. "Glass, in the form of TVs, is going to be huge again," said McGuire. "I don’t see the TV losing the space in the living room just yet."
McGuire did however say that as analogue hardware is replaced by digital equipment, PCs would eventually begin to gain ground in being a conduit through which content was controlled.
He said that the move would take around three to four years, however, once today’s young adults became the influential spenders, homes would move away from being TV-centric.
However, PCs will not be alone at the event, with consoles, which in recent years have increasingly looked like beating PCs to the finish and telecoms companies also vying for control over the TV.
Makers of video games consoles are also vying for their devices to take a central place in the living room while the portable versions are gaining new features.
"If you’re a young adult who grew up playing on a PlayStation it’s easier conceptually to add on features, it’s a kind of logical extension if those subsystems perform well," he said. "They’re a kind of Trojan Horse into the living room."