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Just a Thought - TV/Cell Phone: No!

by - November 12th, 2004

There was a movie a while back that was so bad on so many levels that I could not bare to watch it, even after the DVD was given to me for free. Deep Blue Sea was the name of this stinker, and it was about some scientists who made a set of 25 foot great white sharks smart, and how the sharks got loose and ate the scientist.

Geez! What a bad movie! Samuel L. Jackson should apologize for having anything to do with that celluloid horror. (He was the only reason I took the movie to watch in the first place. I figured if Mr. Jackson was in it, it couldn't be too bad. WRONG!)

Even if it were possible, what scientist in his right mind would give a 2 ton eating machine smarts, and then go for a swim with the beast?

How could anyone possibly think that was a good idea?

Well, my friends, sometimes truth is stranger than fiction, because I read recently that our gadget industry is trying hard to marry TV to cell phones.

TV on your cell phone? Are they nuts?

What: Are we suppose to watch reruns of The Beverly Hillbillies on dinky 2" screens while waiting for a bus? Does news and sports have more impact if it's read to you by an anchor person the size of an ant?

What am I talking about? Check out this article from Reuters, titled Texas Instruments Chip Brings TV to Cellphones:

"TI's new Hollywood digital TV chip will combine the two biggest consumer electronics inventions of our time: the television and the cell phone," said Gilles Delfassy, senior vp and general manager of TI's wireless terminals business unit. "One by one, the industry's most exciting consumer electronics are being integrated into wireless handsets, allowing consumers to get their news and entertainment whenever and wherever they want."

These devices will be able to receive a live TV broadcast at 24-30 frames per second, acting as a combined TV tuner, signal demodulator and channel decoder. "With this new chip on the cell phone, users will enjoy digital, high-quality TV in real time," Delfassy said.

Don't ask Santa for one, though. TI expects to provide samples of the Hollywood chip to its commercial customers in 2006, so the first units won't go on sale until 2007.

Check out the full article at Reuters News.

Hey, I love gadgets just as much as the next geek, but TV on a cell phone strikes me as being about as useful as braces on an octopus.

Even if they double the screen size of the average cell phone, it still makes little sense to combine a phone with a TV. Cell phones are distracting enough without adding something else to divert your attention. And don't tell me that, given the opportunity, some idiot won't try to watch TV on his cell phone while driving: Now there's a bunch of accidents waiting to happen.

Even walking while watching TV is a recipe for disaster. To watch TV you need your eyes, and unless you have chameleon genes and can move your eyes independent of each other, you will likely miss that tree stump, pot hole, or curb and fall flat on your face, and if you are lucky, it won't happen in traffic.

Besides, making the screen big enough to watch TV comfortably also makes the phone too big to fit into your pocket. Belt clipping this monster may make it look like you are on life support.

And explain to me what, on TV, could possibly be so important that you have just got to have a TV with you 24/7. Information, like news and sports, are already available in many less distracting formats, and can get gotten on nearly all cell phones and PDAs today. Movies are a waste on tiny screens, and it would be darn near impossible to see who survives Survivor on a cell phone/TV.

It's an idea whose time should never come.

I don't know, maybe I'm looking at this wrong: maybe Texas Instruments and the folks coming up with the protocol for TV on cell phones have ulterior motives. Maybe they are hoping to purge the gene pool of Darwin Award candidates by offering these gadgets; it's a win-win for them: They help eliminate idiots, and earn a nice profit to boot! I just hope they've figure out a way to keep normal folks out of the way of these TV/phone users.

Hmm, maybe I can think of a few people to send a TV/cell phone to. OK, I take it back: Good idea guys. Keep up the good work.

is a writer who currently lives in Orlando, FL. He's been a Mac fan since Atari Computers folded, but has worked with computers of nearly every type for 20 years.

You can send your comments directly to me, or you can also post your comments below.

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