Commentary

TV Remotes Still Provide That Needed Break From Computers

Who wants to get away from working on a computer? Everyone -- that's who. Even college kids.

For many Americans, the computer is still about work -- mostly. Leisurely times still come mostly from that bigger box in the living room.

Students seem just like other human beings. "I work eight hours a day facing a computer. When I come home, the last thing I want to do is mess with another computer," Eric Yu, a college student in San Francisco, told The New York Times.

You believers who say kids only want to stick their faces in their laptops 24 hours a day might not be entirely correct. The CW may complain its targeted young viewers are watching their shows online. But what if they are just watching other TV networks and programmers instead?

Apple has Apple TV. Netflix has a new box that takes movies from the Internet to that big living room screen. Others, including Hewlett-Packard, want to make similar transitions with their own Internet-to-TV technologies.

Someday we might have just one box -- for any kind of entertainment. But one can imagine that a laptop in your office, home, or on the road will still be responsible for work. And for some young citizens, that can become a bore.

Now, think about those pesky monthly cable TV rates that continue to climb. Traditional cable TV business will be around for a long time -- as well as satellite and IPTV video distributors.

All this occurs even when longtime cable subscribers still only use -- at their maximum -- 10% of the hundreds of channels that are offered them. All this goes on when TV viewing -- even with some disruptions like the writers' strike -- has never been higher.

Seems, at any age, our leisure time is still focused not on a keyboard but a thin little remote. Evidence comes from cable bills that continue to rise -- $60, $70 or up to $100 a month -- even in the wake of higher gas and food prices.

Seems we can do without eating and making donuts -- but not without the Food Network and the Speed Channel
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