High technology

Televisions become interactive

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Jonar Nader speaks about computers taking over from TV, and what TV manufacturers are doing about it. How interactive TV will allow real-time, online, on-demand, multi-lingual viewing. To listen to an excerpt from the radio broadcast, please click on the green play button below.

Here is a transcript of the audio file.

Host: technology experts suggest that TV might change dramatically from next year by adding a hard disk to it, for example, and some computer chips, television broadcasters will get closer, they say, to interactive television. What will it mean, and is it fact or fantasy?

Jonar Nader: The TV manufacturers used to be the big companies, and they still are, but they are a little bit disgruntled because the computer keeps beating them as the biggest seller each Christmas now. In the last 2 years computers have been selling more than TVs and they are thinking we are going to be left behind, especially now that the computer is being used as a web TV, where people can even watch things from their computer. The point is that these TV people are not going to take this lying down. They thought, why don’t we put a hard disk drive in a TV and keep the TV a TV, but as you are watching your favourite show, it actually records it onto a hard disc so that you can rewind, slow down, pause, take a photo etc. The chip can be used for you to give them feedback. You can turn a dial and say I think this commercial stinks, or yep this is very funny. They might even put a camera on the TV that doesn’t necessarily show things in focus but just general movement, like an infrared detector to see how many times you walk past the TV set etc. That way, the TV can become a little more interactive, say in the next 2 to 3 years. Beyond that, interactive TV means, I want to watch Lucille Ball in Japanese in this dialect now, and pause this photo for me, and so it becomes online in real time such that you can watch whatever you like. That will come when we have really super high bandwidths, and you will certainly need humongously big computers at the TV station end to cope with that kind of interactivity.

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