I've been hearing a lot about Slingbox over the past few weeks. Sounds like something my four-year-old son would love and he might, but not for what you're thinking - there will be no rock slinging in my backyard. But because if we had one, he could bring his favorite TV shows with him next time we embark on a family vacation.
Until yesterday, Slingbox, which provides the ability to watch local channels or other programs recorded on your TiVo even if you're far, far away from home, required a laptop for viewing. But as David Pogue from The New York Times, among others reported, Slingbox has now gone mobile. That means anyone with a Windows Mobile cellphone or palmtop and high-speed Internet access can watch their home TV shows anywhere they can make a phone call.
Does this news mark another milestone in the great move towards personalization - the ability to have what we want anytime and anywhere we want it, including our TV shows? Or, does it solidify the fact that we're too preoccupied with the boob tube? Jennifer Anniston seems to agree with the latter. But, according to Nielsen Media Research, Americans don't concede her view. Recent studies show that an average U.S. home has the TV on for 7 hours, 40 minutes per day (doesn't anyone work?) and that more than 50% of U.S. households own three or more televisions. Wow. This notion is supported by the recent boom in flat-panel TV sales.
Whether or not it's true that we watch too much TV, you can bet consumer electronics companies and TV networks have just begun to scratch the surface in relation to what and where they'll hit us with new offerings. And, they'll be banking on the fact that it's all a matter of personal (even more and more personal) preference.