The average consumer is not ready for a fully populated PC in the living
Discussion and Proposed Solution
The average consumer (mass market buyer) is not ready for
a fully populated PC in the living room!
- At work they typically have an IT department / person to take care
of problems like not being able to find lost files or programs, and
- They typically depend upon a “knowledgeable” friend or
relative to assist with the same issues on their home computer
- Their home desktop is “icon heavy” – i.e. they
are afraid to delete un-needed shortcuts on their desktop for fear
of ruining something, or deleting something they didn’t intend
- They already have a full complement of entertainment equipment in
place. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Hi-fi gear
- Stereo speakers with subwoofer
- Dreaming about a surround sound system
- Surround sound system
- Most likely purchased as an all- in-one system, i.e. receiver
“matched” with speakers manufactured by a single
- CD player
- Multiple video players:
- DVD and VHS player
- May or may not be connected to the hi-fi system
- NOTE: All hi-fi equipment is most likely from a single source
and single manufacturer.
- Large screen TV
- NOT necessarily widescreen
- NOT necessarily HDTV “ready or otherwise”
- NOT necessarily with a computer input
- Cable / satellite / DSL / terrestrial TV service
- May include a DVR / PVR
- May or my not be connected to the hi-fi system
- NOTE: Most entertainment equipment has not been moved since the
day it was set up
This is NOT to say that the present designs of PCs – media PCs or
otherwise – do not have faults of their own in their desirability
to be moved to the living room!
- They have a generic rather than targeted UI
- This is very similar to the UI that they have at work and on their
home computer which they work at.
- It is too flexible – e.g. you can do spreadsheets on it –
but who wants to do that in the living room?
- It’s too expensive!
- They already have a home computer
- They already have “entertainment equipment” in the
- It’s too complex to use!
- Too many steps to “simply listen to CDs”
…we NEED and WANT a conduit for providers of hardware, services
and software! This includes but is not limited to such current and future
consumer buzz features as VoIP, MP3 collections, video phone, IPTV / eTV
/ iTV, etc…
…how do we “wedge” into the living room a PC for which
there is no apparent need or desire, and is “feared” by the
It is our opinion that the form factor and operation of the Living Room
PC must change to make it extremely easy for the average consumer to operate,
and to protect them from “typical” PC errors and bad habits
developed on “normal” PCs, while at the same time offering
all the expandability, functions and features of the standard PC.
An OEM would need to start with a readily available PC platform, but
add the following:
1. Dual OS mode capability:
a. Allow the consumer to access ONLY necessary functions – TV
tuner, transport controls, volume, playback device selection, etc.:
i. Preferably utilizing hard buttons on the unit itself
and a remote control that is compatible with standard CE remotes.
ii. Does not require a mouse and keyboard
1. Has a dedicated display (CE-style) so that a computer monitor
is not necessary to use these features.
2. Does not require the remote to function. All control functions
accessible via dedicated buttons, knobs etc. on the unit itself.
b. Allow the consumer to access “advanced” features and
functions – i.e. standard PC operation:
i. ONLY via a “Super User Mode” which is not accessed
via a single button but hidden, behind a combination of buttons
ii. Requires a mouse and keyboard
iii. This mode cannot “accidentally” be accessed, nor
can the computer boot to this mode under normal operation.
1. User can boot to this mode only via the DVD device, with a special
DVD, meant to set up and troubleshoot the device
2. MUST be designed from the CE market standpoint – NOT from the
computer market standpoint:
i. Vertical vs. horizontal orientation
1. MUST have standard CE orientation, dimensions, wiring, connectors
a. Must be mountable in standard IAE rack.
ii. Standard RCA or digital connectors for I/O of other CE devices
1. MINI JACKS of any kind should not exist on the LRPC!
2. Proprietary computer market connectors must be positioned only
on the rear plane, and must be clearly marked
3. Shared computer and CE market connectors MAY be positioned on
the front of the unit (USB, 1394)
iii. Required knobs, buttons and labeling using CE terminology, positioning
and orientation ON the unit itself
iv. CE colors (black, platinum) must be offered
v. ALL labeling of buttons, knobs, and connectors must use standard
CE market nomenclature.
b. Data I/O:
i. A bootable DVD device should be standard on all LRPCs
ii. All other data I/O to be handled via standard connectors on the
rear of the unit.
c. Fan noise / heat dissipation:
i. The typical PC fan is too noisy to be housed in the living room.
ii. Design must take into consideration that the consumer WILL place
the LRPC on top of, or underneath other CE devices which can and will
suffocate any “standard” PC design venting.
iii. LRPC noise should be equivalent to a standard high end receiver.
i. The LRPC must be expandable from both the standard PC standpoint
and from the CE install market standpoint.
1. The LRPC must be able to access, control, and be controlled
by CE devices.
2. The LRPC must be able to “fit” into a multi-room
audio/video distribution system using industry standard methodologies.