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Web Informant Examines Digital Home Hubs from Apple, Sony, Microsoft

David Strom writing in his Web Informant newsletter evaluates digital home hubs from Apple and Sony, and also mentions the technologies announced by Microsoft at the Consumer Electronics Show a few weeks ago. Strom questions the notion that consumers would accept anything other than a TV-like device as the hub of digital entertainment in their homes:

The reason is simple: most of us already have a digital hub for our homes, and it is called a TV. Well that isn't being totally fair: we have home theater installations that involve TV, DVD, VCR, game console, cable box, receivers, speakers, and CD players. But the TV is the component that has more status and more face time than the others in most homes, let's face it. There isn't enough room in the living room, or home theater surround system, for a PC to poke its ugly head into this mix. And any successful innovation for a digital hub has to start with the TV, not the PC.

An announcement that Microsoft made earlier today about reorganization of its television-related units may indicate that it agrees with the notion that a digital entertainment hub must either be a television itself or a component that is commonly used in conjunction with a TV (like an Xbox?).

We would not be surprised if any of these three companies develop products that look like a combination between TiVo and Xbox in the foreseeable future. It is the inevitable outcome of TiVo's success in captivating early adopters with its personal video recording appliance.

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