The Digital Living Room: Seamless electronic entertainment or a user nightmare?

12 Jan 2006|Leigh Marinner

We recently had a party and were piping the music from my husband’s PC through his new Bose sound system. A friend tried to make a phone call from the room, but was stymied by how to turn down the music. There’s no obvious volume controls if Windows Media Player isn’t open on the desktop. I have several friends who don’t watch DVDs any more unless their kids are home (usually a long shot) because if the home theater was left on some non-standard setting, it’s too hard to figure out how to play the movie.

All this digital entertainment at our fingertips is great, but there is a large segment of the user population that just wants an on/off button, volume up/down key, and a Play Movie key. Some new cell phones have figured this out and come with a Save and Delete key for voicemail so you don’t have to remember which number to push on this system. Where is the iPod approach to the digital living room? Will it be the Google PC? With buttons for Get Email, Get Info, Look at Photos, Play Games, Watch Movie, Watch TV, Listen to Music?

He who has the most features at CES doesn’t necessarily win.

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