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Wednesday, 12 December, 2001, 08:43 GMT
Digital power in your hands
BBC Go Digital's Jon Wurtzel casts a wry eye over developments in the world of technology

Imagine being able to control your computer from your sofa, turning it into an all-round digital entertainment centre.

For around US$50, the Keyspan Digital Media Remote Control is a device that enables you to tirelessly operate your computer from 10 metres away, free from the keyboard or mouse.

With a click of a button, you can watch DVDs or listen to any music files on your computer, which is great for people with large MP3 collections.

Though it has been available for over a year, this remote control points to an interesting question.

How are advances in digital technology changing the way we use and experience different media?


The internet is still celebrated as an active medium, one that stimulates user interaction and response.

With the increasing popularity of internet radio, as well as listening to music and watching video online, however, the internet now promotes more passive experiences.

Controlling your TV

The Keyspan Digital Media Remote Control
Control your computer from 10 metres away
Now, the growth and development of interactive TV is signalling new developments.

TV traditionally prompts a passive user experience. One watches its seemingly hypnotic effects, often with barely any activity.

But the emerging field of interactive TV offers a change in the couch potato experience.

Here, the user actively participates in their television viewing, deciding not only what they want to see, but potentially decide what camera position to watch, and also call up on screen all sorts of textual and visual information.

Active experiences

Consequently, we are at an interesting and uncertain moment in the development of television and the internet-enabled computer and the relationships they promise and foster with us.

The computer experience is being developed as a more passive medium, while the TV is being developed to have more active components.

It remains unclear how this will all play out.

What kinds of media content and user experiences will grab and hold the public's attention? And what will be viable from business perspectives? Tell us what you think.

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You can hear Jon on Go Digital, which is webcast on BBC News Online every Monday at 1500 GMT. Or you can listen to the programme on BBC World Service radio on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
See also:

01 Oct 01 | dot life
Turning on to interaction
17 Aug 00 | Business
Digital TV use spreading
04 Dec 01 | TV and Radio
Designing TV for granny
07 Nov 01 | New Media
BBCi heralds new interactive era
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