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Analyze That: PC-TV Convergence

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There are two key factors to consider: technology and consumer behavior. First, on the technology front, it is true that some consumers have been readily collecting the digital living room nuts and bolts. What's also true is very little has happened to make all of these devices work easily and smoothly together, in a way that makes any piece of content—be itUGC, IP-sourced, or traditional media—accessible on any device at the consumer's will. This is certainly the case for internet content delivered to a PC. Yes, you can buy even more boxes for your home, and figure out how to hook them together so you can "sling" this content on the big screen. If you overcome these hurdles, however, most PC-based content is formatted for a small screen (YouTube isn't formatted for a full-screen laptop, let alone my 46" HDTV). So you can spend a pile of Jeffersons, spend a few hours hooking things up, and wind up watching remarkably ugly content. And if you are the typical consumer, you likely have very slow internet access, adding another wrinkle. Second, consumer behavior around PC-based entertainment is evolving. The primary consumer for this content, regardless of source, tends to be 30 years old or younger, and happily watching it on a laptop in the privacy of his or her bedroom or dorm. The big living room TV is becoming a place primarily to play videogames or watch content the family shares. The demographic watching PC-based content has little desire to move it to the big screen. Taken together, these two factors limit the PC-to-TV leap.

IdaRose Sylvester
Senior research analyst, semiconductors group, IDC

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