I Want My MTV-PC!!

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As mentioned here, These machines will use Athlon XP processors, which is good news for AMD. They will also cost about $1,800, which is not-so-good.

Given who they are, it’s surprising they don’t mention what video you get for your $1,800.

The target market is apparently college dorm kids. This group actually represents quite a challenge to the PC industry, for two reasons:.

They don’t have room. Dorm kids don’t have a lot of room to play with in their rooms (most kids in general don’t, either). They want TV. They want a computer. They don’t really have room for one big video display, much less two. They’d rather have one entertainment center than two. So the PC initially looks like it can kill two birds with one stone, except . . . .

They don’t have money. The children (or the younger brothers and sisters) of these dorm kids will not understand this problem at all. They’ll have 42-inch or bigger cheap flat-screens that they’ll just hang up on the wall. What’s the big deal?

The dorm kids of today can get something close to that. For about $5,500. All they need to do is wait for a 95% price drop.

In the meantime, they have the choice of spending somewhat twice as much as they’d like for a bulky CRT taking up major room that is barely adequate for TV watching, spending eight times too much for an LCD equivalent, or settle for a tiny screen inadequate for TV viewing.

I grant you, this isn’t exactly telethon or benefit concert material, but those dorm kids represent the cutting edge of consumer demand. What they want now is what you’re going to want later.

If the PC is to become the one-point entertainment center (which I think is inevitable), it’s going to have to be as good as a regular entertainment center, and be relatively cheap. (Easy to use would be a nice-to-have, especially when Joe SixPack starts thinking about getting one himself, but for college kids, current systems are tolerable).

This is why I think the MYV-PC is going to flop. They got the right idea, but it’s an idea before its time. The necessary technologies aren’t advanced and/or cheap enough.

We’ve explained the obvious cost problems with video. Not so obvious are the computing cost problems. For this kind of system, the video should represent most of the system’s cost, with the computing a cost afterthought, not the other way around.

You need at least a 25-inch HDTV flat-screen. You need reasonably decent audio. You need at least the computing equivalent of the MTV-PC costing a small fraction of what it costs today. And you need it to cost around $1,000.

If you build this, they will come. The builder will rule. How soon? I’d say three-five years, which is three-five years too late for MTV-PC, The First Season.

Email Ed

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