Web TV

Want to send email to your grandkids but don't own a computer? Web TV might be your answer. This is a box which sits on top of your present television and allows you to send (and receive) email and to surf the Web. The quality is not as high as on a computer but you don't have to learn how to use a computer either!

Only about 250,000 sets have been sold since WebTV's debut last year though. More senior citizens have bought computers (and learned how to use them) than WebTV's developers had counted on!

Right now, you can see both animation and brief movies on your computer if you have special software. Shockwave and Quicktime are the two most popular programs.

Soon television will be broadcast in digital format (as well as the traditional analog format). With High Definition Television (HDTV), both computers and specially equipped TVs could receive the same programs! In fact, someday you might watch some of your favorite action/adventure programs on your computer instead of your television!

Computers are already benefiting from coaxial cable modems (yes, that's right- using the same cable as your television!). The greatest problem right now for computers is that the speed of data transmission to and from your computer and the rest of the network is too slow. Currently most people are using modems hooked up to regular telephone lines or special ISDN data lines. Cable modems have the advantage of tremendously increased capacity which would mean that Web pages would load and display MUCH faster. This would greatly increase both surfing efficiency (that is, making the best use of one's time while on the Web) and actual productivity!

There may yet even come a time in which people will no longer buy computers and TVs separately but will use one integrated machine for whatever computing or viewing is needed at the time. Stay tuned for further developments on this one!

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Last Modified: 2/22/99