Podcast Audio | Posted by Phil Leigh on January 29, 2009
After its recent disappointing earnings report, Microsoft should give serious consideration to stimulating demand for PCs by fostering the next “Killer Application” for the Win-tel platform. Such an application is likely to emerge this year as consumers discover flat panel TVs and laptop computers have a number of common connection sockets. Once attached, the laptop functions as a Media Controller for flat panel TVs thereby enabling consumers to watch Internet Video on their televisions.
In such a configuration the TV acts as a giant monitor for the laptop. The laptop’s built-in WiFi connects to a home network and thence to the Internet. Given a remote mouse and keyboard consumers can watch Internet Videos on their TVs in a comfortable lean-back viewing experience.
This is good news for Microsoft for several reasons.
First, the PC laptop is considerably less expensive than a comparable one from Apple. Thus, consumers seeking to buy a new laptop for the Media Controller application are more likely to choose a PC.
Second, Apple’s more competitively priced MacMini does not have HDMI sockets. This is a significant impediment because an HDMI cable provides high definition and transports both audio and video whereas two cables are required for the MacMini.
Third, a laptop PC provides unlimited Internet access whereas the Apple TV only permits consumers to purchase content from iTunes. Unlimited access enables users to visit any website including ones like www.hulu.com that provide popular TV shows and movies free to the viewer in an ad-supported business model.
Microsoft can encourage the adoption of the Media Controller application in a number of ways.
First, they should provide clear instructional videos online showing consumers how to connect the laptop to the flat panel TV. The videos should fully describe the entire process, including dual screen set-up. They should be abundantly available online and not merely at Microsoft’s website. For example, they should be featured on Microsoft’s own YouTube channel.
Second, versions of Windows from XP onward should be updated with downloads that make it easier for consumers to use the dual screen mode and set screen resolutions that are suitable for monitors the size of a TV screen.
Third, the Media Controller application should be heavily promoted and account for a significant proportion of Microsoft’s advertising budget.
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