Why are game console/​TV com­pan­ies not im­ple­ment­ing this?

At the week­end a friend vis­ited me. We have not seen since each oth­er since a long time. As we stud­ied both com­puter sci­ence, parts of our dis­cus­sion where off course tech­no­logy re­lated. Parts of the dis­cus­sion where about cur­rent TV’s and game con­soles (he par­ti­cip­ated in the design of the PS3 CPU, so he is well aware about the tech­nic­al lim­it­a­tions of the hard­ware the cur­rent game con­soles use).

Dur­ing our dis­cus­sion we talked about the soft­ware lim­it­a­tions of such hard­ware.

Cur­rent TV’s come for ex­ample with some pre­defined in­ter­net chan­nels, but not with a real web browser. We think that people which keep a TV for 10 years or longer (like for ex­ample our par­ents and prob­ably both of us too) this will res­ult in a loss of fea­tures after some years, be­cause those chan­nels will get less at­ten­tion of case to ex­ist at all. There is also no way to switch to al­tern­at­ives then, ex­cept by buy­ing a new TV (we ex­pect that there will be no firm­ware up­date in such a case). With a real web browser this would not be an is­sue (it may be more easy to enter URL’s with a real key­board than with a re­mote con­trol, but let us do small steps here). Game con­soles are a bit bet­ter in this re­gard, but there we have the prob­lem that some web­sites are too much memory hungry (they do not in­clude the user agent of the game con­sole browsers in the same class as smart phones or tab­let PCs… from the size as­pect they are not, but from the memory and com­put­ing power as­pect they are more sim­il­ar).

I would ex­pect that the TV sta­tions do not want to have TVs with really good browsers, be­cause then you may not need a TV sta­tion any­more. But this is what users would use if it would be there.

An­oth­er de­fi­cit is that there is not a mail pro­gram in game con­soles and TV’s. For writ­ing mails you need a real key­board, but for a quick check if there is mail (e.g. X un­read mails, or maybe even dis­play­ing the sub­ject line of the emails) or maybe to just read without an­swer­ing a solu­tion without a key­board con­nec­ted would already be enough.

I ex­pect that con­sole man­u­fac­tur­ers do not want to spend money for some­thing people are not will­ing to give much money for, re­spect­ively for some­thing where they can not make money with (an email ser­vice from the con­sole com­pany would be an­oth­er mail ser­vice ad­di­tion­al to the one for the PC and maybe ad­di­tion­al to the one of the smart phone… people do not need 10 email ac­counts, one is enough).

An­oth­er over­looked fea­ture is some kind of VoIP+Video fea­ture (at least for the game con­soles which have op­tion­ally a cam­era, but IMO this is also pos­sible for the next gen­er­a­tion of TV’s with build-​in web­cams). At least the of­fer­ings from Sony and Mi­crosoft are power­ful enough to come with some kind of video con­fer­en­cing soft­ware. It does not mat­ter much if this is Skype or the Google ver­sion of this, or some oth­er wide­spread one (MS surely wants to use their own stuff), it just has to be one which is in wide­spread use to be ad­op­ted by the people.This does not need to be in HD, even a small video would already be much more than what is avail­able ATM.

Ba­sic­ally I gave the an­swer to my ques­tion (the title of this post­ing) my­self (ex­cept for the video con­fer­en­cing stuff)… but on the oth­er hand this would be some­thing which could set a product apart from oth­ers. For the PS3 this may be now one of the things which could show up in the Homebrew scene, now that the se­cur­ity of the PS3 is com­prom­ised. For the Wii at least the email part could be eas­ily done. The rest… would have to catch up in case some­thing like this shows up for the PS3 and is used ex­tens­ively.

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