Convergence Gets Closer

It is clear that web access is becoming more ubiquitous.

You would be hard-pressed to find a screen today that does not have Internet access. It’s not just the PC and the phone — online content appears in elevators, in the back of taxis and at your airplane seat. Some companies have even tried (albeit unsuccessfully) to get the Internet displayed on a refrigerator door.

More importantly, it appears that the long awaited web/tv convergence may arrive sooner rather than later. The delay in assuring convergence is largely because the industry believes consumers just aren’t interested.

Sony’s stance is that consumers don’t want an Internet-like experience with their TVs, and we’re really not focused on bringing anything other than Internet video or widgets to our sets right now,” said Greg Belloni, a spokesman for Sony.

Seems to me that the world is littered with failures brought on by the conventional wisdom of those who believe firmly that “consumers don’t want” something. I suppose that it is possiible they have just missed the rise of alternative web based providers like Hulu.


And, as is usually the case, competitors arise who will address the missing piece.

The other possibility is that some entirely new competitor will emerge — someone like Gordon Campbell. Mr. Campbell, 64, was Intel’s first chief corporate marketing officer. He later designed semiconductors and has since done pioneering work on chips for the iPod and 3-D video games. He calls the opportunity to make browser-centric chips for televisions “the biggest opportunity of any of them.”

His current company, Personal Web Systems, is poised this quarter to ship its first product, a $150 adapter that will attach to televisions to make them fully Internet-enabled. Mr. Campbell says his company is reducing the technology included in the TV adapter device into a single stamp-size semiconductor that would embed full Internet access in TVs in more developed markets.

Seems to me that Campbell or someone like him will take advantage of the myopia of the industry.