Michael Dell reaches out to gamers (HDTV is where it’s at)

Over at the Direct2Dell blog there’s a video of Michael Dell who spoke with gamers at the Austin Game Conference. It’ll be interesting to watch the Apple announcements tomorrow. Apple has been gunning for Dell’s marketshare. But, the interview is interesting cause Michael explained some of Dell’s hopes for Vista and PC-based gaming and also explains what’s happening in the high-end of the consumer world.

I think Michael Dell is still missing the huge trend inside homes that’s hitting now: large-screen HDTV. He’s focusing too much on PC-based gaming and not enough on what happens to entertainment priorities when a new large-screen TV shows up.

More and more people are going to buy large-screen TVs for their homes (you only need to hang out at Best Buy and see where all the action is to realize that these things are selling like hotcakes). When the buying decision happens to put one of these suckers in your home, everything about your media usage changes.

Most people aren’t going to buy a new PC just to play games. Now, don’t take me wrong. PC gaming is still very important. It’s just not going to be where the industry sees massive growth. That’s going to come from the war between Xbox 360 and Sony’s Play Station 3. Why? HDTV.

Me and my friends are noticing that we are already budgeting out our discretionary spending for the next year. I’m far more likely to buy a new HD Tivo, like seen on TechMeme today, or a new Playstation or Xbox than I am to buy a new PC that can play the latest games. The unknown variable in that mix is Windows Vista. But, even there, my first Windows Vista purchase will be a HD media center, not a gaming machine (and that’s despite having a 12-year-old who loves playing video games. The Xbox is just a better place for families to game together than a PC.

Dell remains particularly clueless about HDTV. Look at its website. Quick, find me the words “HDTV.” I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple jumps into the HD world left alone by Dell tomorrow.

My HD media center will sit upstairs. Have a massive hard drive on it. And will be shared to my HDTV screen downstairs via the Xbox 360 (this is one of the coolest features of the 360, by the way). That’ll let me watch PC-based videos (I want to subscribe to ZeFrank and watch him, along with other videobloggers, on my 60-inch screen downstairs), and also get a great game experience with the Xbox. Plus my photos, my music, all will be stored on the huge hard drive upstairs and displayed through the Xbox 360′s extender capabilities. Where in this scenario is room for a killer gaming PC? I don’t see it.

Why? Cause the Xbox is gonna do the heavy game lifting and the Vista machine upstairs just needs a decent enough video card to display Vista’s glass interface, not to give me a great game framerate.

Translation: I don’t think Dell’s strategy of focusing on PC gaming is that exciting. Dell, please focus on HDTV, that requires you to put HDTV front and center on your Website — you have a couple of laptops that are better for HDTV than Apple’s offerings but you don’t even point that out. What does that demonstrate to me? That Dell is clueless about HDTV and the real trends that are going to hit the livingroom over the next 36 months.

If you don’t focus on HDTV, Apple will come in and take the home away from you. And Steve Jobs has a big stick in his hand: Disney content.

When Michael Dell starts really showing some leadership in the HDTV world wake me up. Thanks! Until then I’m saving up for the new HD Tivo.

Comments

  1. From the official Xbox 360 FAQs:

    “Q. Xbox 360 is supposed to be a digital media hub, Can it play Divx or Xvid content? My current DVD player can but what about 360?

    A. No, the Xbox 360 won’t be able to play MPEG-4 variants other than Windows Media.”

    What an amazing digital hub. This stubborness on Microsoft’s part is just plain embarrassing.

    Out of interest Robert, how do you watch these “PC-based videos” – does the 360 support Flash video or something?

  2. From the official Xbox 360 FAQs:

    “Q. Xbox 360 is supposed to be a digital media hub, Can it play Divx or Xvid content? My current DVD player can but what about 360?

    A. No, the Xbox 360 won’t be able to play MPEG-4 variants other than Windows Media.”

    What an amazing digital hub. This stubborness on Microsoft’s part is just plain embarrassing.

    Out of interest Robert, how do you watch these “PC-based videos” – does the 360 support Flash video or something?

  3. Tim – the Xbox 360 can’t play MPEG-4s (DRM maybe?), but I’m pretty sure it integrates w/ the XBOX 360 (which turns into a media extender).

    maybe you should buy one!!

  4. Tim – the Xbox 360 can’t play MPEG-4s (DRM maybe?), but I’m pretty sure it integrates w/ the XBOX 360 (which turns into a media extender).

    maybe you should buy one!!

  5. Tim: most of the videos I watch are available via a downloadable format, like Quicktime, Windows Media, or MPG. The Xbox will be able to play those via the extender capability (since it’s mostly just redisplaying what’s being rendered on the Media Center box that’ll sit elsewhere in the house).

  6. Tim: most of the videos I watch are available via a downloadable format, like Quicktime, Windows Media, or MPG. The Xbox will be able to play those via the extender capability (since it’s mostly just redisplaying what’s being rendered on the Media Center box that’ll sit elsewhere in the house).

  7. Oh, does the Media Center Extender just send the uncompressed video over the network then? I didn’t realise that. (I’m having a hard time believing that, to be honest.)

    I thought the 360 could only play movies that it had a signed codec for on the 360. Can you really just play Quicktime movies on a 360′s screen?

    I know you can play DivX (after a fashion) using some egregious hack involving transcoding to WMV on the fly, but that’s not quite what I mean.

    Ah – this link (http://www.hdbeat.com/2005/12/29/divx-quicktime-and-more-on-xbox-360/) seems to indicate that I’m right. Unless it’s mpeg or wmv, the 360 doesn’t want to know.

    Out of interest, how does that affect your plans for using the 360 as a media hub, Robert? I’m interested that an early adopter/video and AV geek like you wasn’t even aware of this limitation. More interesting is the fact that you just assumed this would work. I wonder how many other people will buy an Xbox 360 assuming this will work.

  8. Oh, does the Media Center Extender just send the uncompressed video over the network then? I didn’t realise that. (I’m having a hard time believing that, to be honest.)

    I thought the 360 could only play movies that it had a signed codec for on the 360. Can you really just play Quicktime movies on a 360′s screen?

    I know you can play DivX (after a fashion) using some egregious hack involving transcoding to WMV on the fly, but that’s not quite what I mean.

    Ah – this link (http://www.hdbeat.com/2005/12/29/divx-quicktime-and-more-on-xbox-360/) seems to indicate that I’m right. Unless it’s mpeg or wmv, the 360 doesn’t want to know.

    Out of interest, how does that affect your plans for using the 360 as a media hub, Robert? I’m interested that an early adopter/video and AV geek like you wasn’t even aware of this limitation. More interesting is the fact that you just assumed this would work. I wonder how many other people will buy an Xbox 360 assuming this will work.

  9. Tim: you’re right that the 360 alone can’t do it, but if you use the 360 as a media center extender, then I thought it could. Reading your link I see I was wrong. Darn. Gotta go bug the Xbox team about that.

  10. Tim: you’re right that the 360 alone can’t do it, but if you use the 360 as a media center extender, then I thought it could. Reading your link I see I was wrong. Darn. Gotta go bug the Xbox team about that.

  11. Tim, look up Transcode 360. It’s much nicer than an ‘egregious hack’. That link is almost a year old. This link isn’t much newer but is at least more up to date:http://www.hdbeat.com/2006/02/08/transcode-360-provides-divx-support-for-wmce/

    And Robert, do you really do your market analysis by standing in Best Buy to see what people are buying? No wonder you underestimate PC sales for games — people don’t go to Best Buy to get their gaming computers. HDTV is great, I have a couple, but they won’t completely displace HL2 (Counter-strike, TF2 coming) et al on my LCD and PC anytime soon.

    The nice thing about HD_TV_ is that it has much better picture quality than standard TV, but the resolutions it uses have been available on computers for a while. Widescreen support is there and getting better all the time for games. I actually prefer sitting a few feet away from a 21″ LCD for FPS’s than I do a few yards away from a bigger HDTV with a console.

    Consoles aren’t going to kill PC gaming anytime in the forseeable future. I just don’t see HDTV as the world changer you do. The TV world, maybe.

  12. Tim, look up Transcode 360. It’s much nicer than an ‘egregious hack’. That link is almost a year old. This link isn’t much newer but is at least more up to date:http://www.hdbeat.com/2006/02/08/transcode-360-provides-divx-support-for-wmce/

    And Robert, do you really do your market analysis by standing in Best Buy to see what people are buying? No wonder you underestimate PC sales for games — people don’t go to Best Buy to get their gaming computers. HDTV is great, I have a couple, but they won’t completely displace HL2 (Counter-strike, TF2 coming) et al on my LCD and PC anytime soon.

    The nice thing about HD_TV_ is that it has much better picture quality than standard TV, but the resolutions it uses have been available on computers for a while. Widescreen support is there and getting better all the time for games. I actually prefer sitting a few feet away from a 21″ LCD for FPS’s than I do a few yards away from a bigger HDTV with a console.

    Consoles aren’t going to kill PC gaming anytime in the forseeable future. I just don’t see HDTV as the world changer you do. The TV world, maybe.

  13. Going into debt is not discretionary spending. :p

    On another note, I don’t know many geeks who get a significant portion of their entertainment from the television anymore. The internet is much more entertaining.

    Not that geeks are the driving forces of the market…

    On yet another note, I’m not convinced that Dell should enter the HDTV market. Maybe it is a hot market, but there’s lots of hot markets. I don’t know that I see it being a necessary addition to their product line. I don’t know many people who are just begging to buy their HDTV from their PC manufacturer. I would think that strengthening their core product via expanding their appeal to gamers is an important move. If they have to move into other product niches, I think maybe something a bit more PC-centric is more appropriate than HDTV’s.

  14. Going into debt is not discretionary spending. :p

    On another note, I don’t know many geeks who get a significant portion of their entertainment from the television anymore. The internet is much more entertaining.

    Not that geeks are the driving forces of the market…

    On yet another note, I’m not convinced that Dell should enter the HDTV market. Maybe it is a hot market, but there’s lots of hot markets. I don’t know that I see it being a necessary addition to their product line. I don’t know many people who are just begging to buy their HDTV from their PC manufacturer. I would think that strengthening their core product via expanding their appeal to gamers is an important move. If they have to move into other product niches, I think maybe something a bit more PC-centric is more appropriate than HDTV’s.

  15. DJ – thanks for the link, but it’s still an egregious hack. Just slightly less so.

    My initial searches revealed the ‘make an asf file and use WME’ method, but Transcode 360 is still a nasty hack. It’s usable and possibly pleasant to use, but it’s still doing it the ‘wrong’ way (due to MS pigheadedness).

    Basically, we’re talking about compressed video – any way of playing it that involves transcoding is a nasty hack, imho. It’s like those people who said the compulsory Vista startup sound was no big deal for laptops because you just need to carry a headphone plug around with you to mute the speakers. How about engineering it right in the first place?

    A hack is a hack. The fact that it gets more pleasant to use doesn’t negate that fact. I bet the CPU/case fans on your MCE PC go like hell when the PC’s having to transcode video from DivX to WMV to send to the Xbox 360. That’s extra power consumption/noise, and some people care about that.

  16. DJ – thanks for the link, but it’s still an egregious hack. Just slightly less so.

    My initial searches revealed the ‘make an asf file and use WME’ method, but Transcode 360 is still a nasty hack. It’s usable and possibly pleasant to use, but it’s still doing it the ‘wrong’ way (due to MS pigheadedness).

    Basically, we’re talking about compressed video – any way of playing it that involves transcoding is a nasty hack, imho. It’s like those people who said the compulsory Vista startup sound was no big deal for laptops because you just need to carry a headphone plug around with you to mute the speakers. How about engineering it right in the first place?

    A hack is a hack. The fact that it gets more pleasant to use doesn’t negate that fact. I bet the CPU/case fans on your MCE PC go like hell when the PC’s having to transcode video from DivX to WMV to send to the Xbox 360. That’s extra power consumption/noise, and some people care about that.

  17. Robert, you’re absolutely right about the HDTV Media Center and the Extender functionality to multi room via XBox 360s will give them a huge advantage.

    It will also be interesting to see though how they deal with portability and remote viewing issues. TiVo’s new unit out today seems to lose on both of these fronts as their TiVoToGo and external hard drive functionality seem both to be stripped from the high def Series 3.

    Right now I can copy shows from my Media Center PC to my laptop and watch them on the road, and much more reliably and at much higher quality than Orb or Slingbox can stream them. I suspect that in the future this feature will be crippled on the HD capable machines due to paranoia from CableLabs about content getting off these machines. Right now I can also hook up external hard drives to my Media Center PC and store virtually unlimited hours of programming. My only limit is the space available to hook up 750 gig external via USB hubs.

    TiVo seems to have lost the ability to use external hard drives with this release.

    I’m still going with a Vista HD machine due to the XBoxes ability to stream HDTV throughout the house with dual HD CableCARDs, but I’ll be disappointed if I can’t copy the programming on to external drives to free up space and if my ability to watch my programming remotely on my laptop is crippled.

    By way of Apple’s rumored foray into the living room, unless they get HDTV down (and I doubt they will anytime soon) it will be hard to get people to pay up for low res TV quality in a new high def world. At CES earlier this year you could not escape HDTV. It is the future and for Apple to make a serious effort they will need to address this.

    See you later today at Lunch 2.0!

  18. Robert, you’re absolutely right about the HDTV Media Center and the Extender functionality to multi room via XBox 360s will give them a huge advantage.

    It will also be interesting to see though how they deal with portability and remote viewing issues. TiVo’s new unit out today seems to lose on both of these fronts as their TiVoToGo and external hard drive functionality seem both to be stripped from the high def Series 3.

    Right now I can copy shows from my Media Center PC to my laptop and watch them on the road, and much more reliably and at much higher quality than Orb or Slingbox can stream them. I suspect that in the future this feature will be crippled on the HD capable machines due to paranoia from CableLabs about content getting off these machines. Right now I can also hook up external hard drives to my Media Center PC and store virtually unlimited hours of programming. My only limit is the space available to hook up 750 gig external via USB hubs.

    TiVo seems to have lost the ability to use external hard drives with this release.

    I’m still going with a Vista HD machine due to the XBoxes ability to stream HDTV throughout the house with dual HD CableCARDs, but I’ll be disappointed if I can’t copy the programming on to external drives to free up space and if my ability to watch my programming remotely on my laptop is crippled.

    By way of Apple’s rumored foray into the living room, unless they get HDTV down (and I doubt they will anytime soon) it will be hard to get people to pay up for low res TV quality in a new high def world. At CES earlier this year you could not escape HDTV. It is the future and for Apple to make a serious effort they will need to address this.

    See you later today at Lunch 2.0!

  19. Lemme see if I get this straight. You hang out as Best Buy to do market analysis on the home entertainment industry? And your conclusion is people are buying HDTV’s to utlimately play video games on gaming consoles and will migrate away from PC based games? You REALLY think that’s where the gaming industry is moving, huh? Gotta clue for ya, in a NORMAL family they aren’t going to tolerate wasting their money on a 60″ monitor so they can watch Jr. play World of Warcraft when Dad wants to watch football, or Mom wants to watch Harpo, or the teenage daughter wants to watch the OC.

  20. Lemme see if I get this straight. You hang out as Best Buy to do market analysis on the home entertainment industry? And your conclusion is people are buying HDTV’s to utlimately play video games on gaming consoles and will migrate away from PC based games? You REALLY think that’s where the gaming industry is moving, huh? Gotta clue for ya, in a NORMAL family they aren’t going to tolerate wasting their money on a 60″ monitor so they can watch Jr. play World of Warcraft when Dad wants to watch football, or Mom wants to watch Harpo, or the teenage daughter wants to watch the OC.

  21. I guess I have a different definition of ‘hack’, or at least an ‘egregious hack’ (and I don’t even know what a ‘slightly less’ egregious hack means). After years of hacking tivo and xbox to support things that consumers should be able to do OOTB but can’t, I consider the Vista, Xbox 360, and Transcode 360 story a refreshing change. My expectations are tempered when it comes to media (not my desires, mind you, just my expectations).

  22. I guess I have a different definition of ‘hack’, or at least an ‘egregious hack’ (and I don’t even know what a ‘slightly less’ egregious hack means). After years of hacking tivo and xbox to support things that consumers should be able to do OOTB but can’t, I consider the Vista, Xbox 360, and Transcode 360 story a refreshing change. My expectations are tempered when it comes to media (not my desires, mind you, just my expectations).

  23. Dell sells HDTVs. Have done so since 2004. So, how are they not getting into the HDTV game if they are selling HDTVs? Just curious.

  24. Dell sells HDTVs. Have done so since 2004. So, how are they not getting into the HDTV game if they are selling HDTVs? Just curious.

  25. Dell is already THERE in HDTV, just it’s not enough of a cheap commodity market for their strategy to go wide. And PC gaming is closer to their core, I well say Dell knows what it is doing.

    And your underestimation of the PC and MMORPG market is a real blind spot. Consoles serve differing markets, and you need only to look worldwide, beyond your nose level view, PC gaming is KING in Asia. And maybe studying analyst reports and the CE numbers and trends, is far a better indicator, than gut feelings when at American Best Buy’s.

    But really your recipe be hoop jumping, extenders and hacks de jour (gee thanks Microsoft), just get a DVD player with MPEG4 and high-res support, or better yet, just use XBMC and a SAN. Making the 360 the center of your media universe is short-sighted at best, ignorant at worst. You know any regular people? Anyone from say, Iowa? Expand your network. ;)

  26. Dell is already THERE in HDTV, just it’s not enough of a cheap commodity market for their strategy to go wide. And PC gaming is closer to their core, I well say Dell knows what it is doing.

    And your underestimation of the PC and MMORPG market is a real blind spot. Consoles serve differing markets, and you need only to look worldwide, beyond your nose level view, PC gaming is KING in Asia. And maybe studying analyst reports and the CE numbers and trends, is far a better indicator, than gut feelings when at American Best Buy’s.

    But really your recipe be hoop jumping, extenders and hacks de jour (gee thanks Microsoft), just get a DVD player with MPEG4 and high-res support, or better yet, just use XBMC and a SAN. Making the 360 the center of your media universe is short-sighted at best, ignorant at worst. You know any regular people? Anyone from say, Iowa? Expand your network. ;)

  27. http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/category.aspx?c=us&category_id=5914&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs

    Dell has HDTVs, actually they seem to have some pretty good ones.

    While I can’t wait to get an HDTV, I can’t afford one now, and I’m not sure Plasma is the way to go. LCD and DLP, maybe.

    But if I’m going to spend that kind of money, I want a long warranty and fast service, and I’m not sure the industry has that yet.

    Dell is right, PC gaming is where the innovation for new PC’s is coming from, where the high end dollars are being spent, and where the fattest margins are located.

    Still they have to keep pushing the low end compters because that is where the volume is, and in a commodity business, volume is king.

  28. http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/category.aspx?c=us&category_id=5914&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs

    Dell has HDTVs, actually they seem to have some pretty good ones.

    While I can’t wait to get an HDTV, I can’t afford one now, and I’m not sure Plasma is the way to go. LCD and DLP, maybe.

    But if I’m going to spend that kind of money, I want a long warranty and fast service, and I’m not sure the industry has that yet.

    Dell is right, PC gaming is where the innovation for new PC’s is coming from, where the high end dollars are being spent, and where the fattest margins are located.

    Still they have to keep pushing the low end compters because that is where the volume is, and in a commodity business, volume is king.

  29. Can’t stream HD to XBMC — it doesn’t have the horsepower to decompress or the bandwidth for uncompressed. I have a couple of those, too. :) I also have DirecTV, another wrinkle until the Microsoft and DirecTV ‘association’ announced last January actually materializes. So, it’s the HR10-250 for TV, 360 for HD, and Xbox/XBMC for watching movies from my NAS. Sure would like one box for all of that, and the 360 has the best potential. Short-sighted and ignorant are easy words to throw around when you know less than half of the story.

  30. Can’t stream HD to XBMC — it doesn’t have the horsepower to decompress or the bandwidth for uncompressed. I have a couple of those, too. :) I also have DirecTV, another wrinkle until the Microsoft and DirecTV ‘association’ announced last January actually materializes. So, it’s the HR10-250 for TV, 360 for HD, and Xbox/XBMC for watching movies from my NAS. Sure would like one box for all of that, and the 360 has the best potential. Short-sighted and ignorant are easy words to throw around when you know less than half of the story.

  31. Also, the 360 would NEVER be the center of your media universe, even if you use it for what has been talked about so far.

    The media center PC is the center of the universe. We’re talking about using the 360 as an extension of that so we can get the media center experience where the 360 is (instead of where the MC PC is).

  32. Also, the 360 would NEVER be the center of your media universe, even if you use it for what has been talked about so far.

    The media center PC is the center of the universe. We’re talking about using the 360 as an extension of that so we can get the media center experience where the 360 is (instead of where the MC PC is).

  33. Christopher: I know a lot of regular people. But, no matter what I say my sample size is too small. Instead, look at Best Buy. They just announced sharply increased profits based on HD screens.

    Yes, PC gaming is very important. I said that. But it’s not where the growth will come from. Why is that? Cause it’s not gonna be much hotter next year than it was last year. HD, on the other hand, will be a LOT hotter next year than it was last year.

  34. Christopher: I know a lot of regular people. But, no matter what I say my sample size is too small. Instead, look at Best Buy. They just announced sharply increased profits based on HD screens.

    Yes, PC gaming is very important. I said that. But it’s not where the growth will come from. Why is that? Cause it’s not gonna be much hotter next year than it was last year. HD, on the other hand, will be a LOT hotter next year than it was last year.

  35. DJ: I visit a lot of “normal people’s” homes and the center of THEIR media universe is their TV set. That’s where everything rotates around. Laptops are changing that, a bit, but the TV is still where the family gathers to entertain itself.

    Therefore, things that hook directly to the TV will be at the center. Xbox. Playstation. Tivo.

    Media Centers are for the office away from the action. The smart thing is that Xbox 360 connects the media center into the TV. That’s why it’s cool.

  36. DJ: I visit a lot of “normal people’s” homes and the center of THEIR media universe is their TV set. That’s where everything rotates around. Laptops are changing that, a bit, but the TV is still where the family gathers to entertain itself.

    Therefore, things that hook directly to the TV will be at the center. Xbox. Playstation. Tivo.

    Media Centers are for the office away from the action. The smart thing is that Xbox 360 connects the media center into the TV. That’s why it’s cool.

  37. DELL’s already lost this battle. Fortune Magazine’s senior editor Peter Lewis concludes “you’ll get more for your money with Apple”.

    http://money.cnn.com/2006/09/11/magazines/fortune/New_Intel_24inApple.fortune/index.htm?section=money_latest

    The 24″ iMac is a true HD production environment – 1900×1200.

    Because DELL doesn’t make software (especially movie-making software), it is in much better shape competing with something like an xbox 360. Microsoft can’t cripple Windows gaming because that would eat into the lucrative “Vista Ultimate” market. DELL, however, can compete with xbox because it can leverage third-party suppliers to create better, faster, more capable hardware.

    So DELL is being pretty smart and the market is keeping Microsoft in check, at least for now. While I refuse to support Microsoft by purchasing an xbox, I do use a Windows PC for gaming. If Windows is no longer the best gaming platform, though, I won’t have to purchase anything from Microsoft at all!

  38. DELL’s already lost this battle. Fortune Magazine’s senior editor Peter Lewis concludes “you’ll get more for your money with Apple”.

    http://money.cnn.com/2006/09/11/magazines/fortune/New_Intel_24inApple.fortune/index.htm?section=money_latest

    The 24″ iMac is a true HD production environment – 1900×1200.

    Because DELL doesn’t make software (especially movie-making software), it is in much better shape competing with something like an xbox 360. Microsoft can’t cripple Windows gaming because that would eat into the lucrative “Vista Ultimate” market. DELL, however, can compete with xbox because it can leverage third-party suppliers to create better, faster, more capable hardware.

    So DELL is being pretty smart and the market is keeping Microsoft in check, at least for now. While I refuse to support Microsoft by purchasing an xbox, I do use a Windows PC for gaming. If Windows is no longer the best gaming platform, though, I won’t have to purchase anything from Microsoft at all!

  39. I work at Dell, and I know for certain that Michael Dell understands HDTV. I think the first phase for Dell (as it has been for any new technology) was to enter the market, promote standardization, and then push costs and prices lower until LCD and plasma screens become commidities. Once everyone can afford a big TV, then I’m sure you’ll see a slew of new products and services being offered that take advantage of those big screens. I just don’t think enough consumers have big TV’s yet.

  40. I work at Dell, and I know for certain that Michael Dell understands HDTV. I think the first phase for Dell (as it has been for any new technology) was to enter the market, promote standardization, and then push costs and prices lower until LCD and plasma screens become commidities. Once everyone can afford a big TV, then I’m sure you’ll see a slew of new products and services being offered that take advantage of those big screens. I just don’t think enough consumers have big TV’s yet.

  41. Robert, I understand why it’s cool (I have one). I was commening on Chris’s comment that it was ‘short-sighted’ or ‘ignorant’ to make the 360 the center of your media universe.

    Gathering around the TV to watch your media doesn’t make it ‘the center of your media universe.’ Maybe I’m thinking more in the physical sense, but that’s the context Chris was using.

    Consoles will continue to be portals and extenders and not centers of the universe for some time. Unless you have two or three 360′s, as another poster mentioned, it isn’t typically going to be hooked up to the family’s primary TV. The 360 has a 20GB hard drive. The center of MY media universe has 800+GB. The HD PVR’s available come with 250GB standard.

    We can argue semantics about what the center of the universe means forever. I was commenting on the fact that the 360 isn’t the primary piece of equipment for all things media. The #1 media is still TV, and without a Media Center PC, the 360 doesn’t give you TV content.

  42. Robert, I understand why it’s cool (I have one). I was commening on Chris’s comment that it was ‘short-sighted’ or ‘ignorant’ to make the 360 the center of your media universe.

    Gathering around the TV to watch your media doesn’t make it ‘the center of your media universe.’ Maybe I’m thinking more in the physical sense, but that’s the context Chris was using.

    Consoles will continue to be portals and extenders and not centers of the universe for some time. Unless you have two or three 360′s, as another poster mentioned, it isn’t typically going to be hooked up to the family’s primary TV. The 360 has a 20GB hard drive. The center of MY media universe has 800+GB. The HD PVR’s available come with 250GB standard.

    We can argue semantics about what the center of the universe means forever. I was commenting on the fact that the 360 isn’t the primary piece of equipment for all things media. The #1 media is still TV, and without a Media Center PC, the 360 doesn’t give you TV content.

  43. “I just don’t think enough consumers have big TV’s yet.”

    But John, Robert is quite positive that this is changing rapidly because of field marketing — standing in Best Buy and watching people buy HDTV’s. :)

  44. “I just don’t think enough consumers have big TV’s yet.”

    But John, Robert is quite positive that this is changing rapidly because of field marketing — standing in Best Buy and watching people buy HDTV’s. :)

  45. Sure would like one box for all of that

    Ditto, if wishes were horses. “Center”, “portal”, “extender”, boy lotta hair-splitting word-parsing going around. ;)

    I was commenting on the fact that the 360 isn’t the primary piece of equipment for all things media.

    Likewise.

  46. Sure would like one box for all of that

    Ditto, if wishes were horses. “Center”, “portal”, “extender”, boy lotta hair-splitting word-parsing going around. ;)

    I was commenting on the fact that the 360 isn’t the primary piece of equipment for all things media.

    Likewise.

  47. Scoble, Best Buy’s profits weren’t ENTIRELY based on sales of flat screens. Sure, they contributed, but it wasn’t the sole reason. And I would challenge your “I know a lot of regular people”. How many do you know that have a PC still running Windows 95, have dial up modems, don’t have a game console, use the computer maybe once or twice a week, have only basic cable, and an analog cell phone?

  48. Scoble, Best Buy’s profits weren’t ENTIRELY based on sales of flat screens. Sure, they contributed, but it wasn’t the sole reason. And I would challenge your “I know a lot of regular people”. How many do you know that have a PC still running Windows 95, have dial up modems, don’t have a game console, use the computer maybe once or twice a week, have only basic cable, and an analog cell phone?

  49. I’d trust a homeless guy on the corner to sell me a gaming laptop over Dell. I couldn’t play games on my Inspiron 9300 laptop due to a stuttering problem; any game, even old ones, showed video freezing every few
    seconds.

    I emailed Dell support, whose only response was to tell me to run the onboard diagnostics software. Since that passed, the only option given to me was to try their paid software support line. I didn’t want to do
    this since (a) I was certain it was a problem with the laptop and not with any particular software, since _all_ games were showing this behaviour, and (b) they couldn’t even tell me how much I was expected to pay.

    One particularly choice exchange between myself and the support person was the following:

    Dell Support: “I think the games are just not meant for this system.It may be a compatability issue as these systems are not meant for gaming. Dell have made a notebook specifically for gaming, called XPS notebooks.The inspirons shouldn’t really be used for gaming.”

    Me: “The specs of the machine on your web site specifically mention they can be used for gaming:

    http://www.dell.com/content/products/productdetails.aspx/inspn_9300?c=us&cs=22&l=en&s=dfh

    Can you explain why you think “the inspirons shouldn’t really be used for gaming if you actually market them as such?”

    Dell Support: “When I said this machine shouldn’t really be used for gaming, I meant if you were using this system for games only, it wouldn’t be
    appropriate.Obviously, this is your system and it is totally up to you how you wish to use this.”

    After 2 months of asking questions and searching various forums, I finally found a fix for this problem, involving a third-party utility that turns off the drive’s power-saving mode, which Dell switch on by default. The given fix indeed worked, and games are now totally stutter-free on the laptop. Thinking I was being helpful, I mailed the same Dell support person about this.

    Instead of getting a thank-you or acknowledgement that this information might be used to help other customers, I got the following email:

    —————————————————–8

  50. I’d trust a homeless guy on the corner to sell me a gaming laptop over Dell. I couldn’t play games on my Inspiron 9300 laptop due to a stuttering problem; any game, even old ones, showed video freezing every few
    seconds.

    I emailed Dell support, whose only response was to tell me to run the onboard diagnostics software. Since that passed, the only option given to me was to try their paid software support line. I didn’t want to do
    this since (a) I was certain it was a problem with the laptop and not with any particular software, since _all_ games were showing this behaviour, and (b) they couldn’t even tell me how much I was expected to pay.

    One particularly choice exchange between myself and the support person was the following:

    Dell Support: “I think the games are just not meant for this system.It may be a compatability issue as these systems are not meant for gaming. Dell have made a notebook specifically for gaming, called XPS notebooks.The inspirons shouldn’t really be used for gaming.”

    Me: “The specs of the machine on your web site specifically mention they can be used for gaming:

    http://www.dell.com/content/products/productdetails.aspx/inspn_9300?c=us&cs=22&l=en&s=dfh

    Can you explain why you think “the inspirons shouldn’t really be used for gaming if you actually market them as such?”

    Dell Support: “When I said this machine shouldn’t really be used for gaming, I meant if you were using this system for games only, it wouldn’t be
    appropriate.Obviously, this is your system and it is totally up to you how you wish to use this.”

    After 2 months of asking questions and searching various forums, I finally found a fix for this problem, involving a third-party utility that turns off the drive’s power-saving mode, which Dell switch on by default. The given fix indeed worked, and games are now totally stutter-free on the laptop. Thinking I was being helpful, I mailed the same Dell support person about this.

    Instead of getting a thank-you or acknowledgement that this information might be used to help other customers, I got the following email:

    —————————————————–8