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4/27/2007
06:50 PM
Thomas Claburn
Thomas Claburn
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Dear Microsoft: Enough With The Interactive TV

Dear Microsoft, Thank you for your concern about the lack of interactivity in my television. I realize that your researchers have only my best interests at heart, but please tell them that interactivity isn't necessary. TV is passive entertainment and I'm fine with that. If I want to interact, I'll do so using the computer in my home office, or maybe, if I'm feeling decadent, from my laptop while watching TV.

Dear Microsoft, Thank you for your concern about the lack of interactivity in my television. I realize that your researchers have only my best interests at heart, but please tell them that interactivity isn't necessary. TV is passive entertainment and I'm fine with that. If I want to interact, I'll do so using the computer in my home office, or maybe, if I'm feeling decadent, from my laptop while watching TV.I mention this because I saw your patent application "In-program content telescoping," which looks to me like an effort to add hyperlinks to video content. The idea seems to be that this would somehow improve TV watching.

Well, it wouldn't. TV needs interactivity like paintings need flavoring. Sure, it might have some novelty value but ultimately it would ruin the experience. (Imagine all those people in the Louvre licking the Mona Lisa. It's not very appealing.)

Besides, TV already is plenty interactive. That's what the remote control is for.

I know this may come as something of a disappointment. Perhaps the researchers working on interactive TV could be re-assigned to help engineer the paperless office. That whole effort seems to be taking a lot longer than it should.

Sincerely, Thomas Claburn

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