Of all the fancy technologies I track that can provide video to the living room — the Apple TV, the Netflix/Roku box, and so many more — there is one surprising one that is making a stealth rise to power: The PC.
Unfortunately for Microsoft, I don’t mean the Microsoft Media Center experience with its 10-foot UI (that’s geek talk for a user interface that lets you sit on the couch and operate it via a remote control). No, that Media Center never caught on. I’m convinced the majority of people who own Media Center PCs don’t even know it.
What I’m talking about is a surprising rise in the number of people who tell us in surveys that they are connecting their PCs to their TVs at least occasionally. The number is now at one-fifth of online people who have something (cable box, DVR, etc.) connected to their TVs.
I think the factor pushing all of this is the mass of flat panel HDTV buying that has occured. These screens all have VGA inputs on them, it makes connecting the PC much, much easier than it used to be (moment of sympathy for those of us who have actually connected our PCs to our TVs via s-video cable).
And just what do people do with this connection? After playing video games, the thing they do most is watch online video. Online TV shows, is my hunch, but I didn’t ask that in the survey.