Top regional executive speculates on the end of the home computer

Advances in broadband technology could soon mean the end of the home computer. A top regional computer executive says people in the UK are already surfing through their TV screens.

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By  David Cass Published  June 4, 2002

The Middle East is particularly well placed to develop into a non-computer society because of the high penetration of digital pay TV in the region. That’s the view of HP executive Charles Ashman, who says, “I now have friends in the UK who are no longer buying PCs. They are doing their email and internet transactions like banking and shopping, via a set-top box in their living rooms.”

These are the benefits of broadband connectivity, which enables all current communications and internet functions to be carried out via the television screen. Showtime said as much when launching its new set-top box in London last autumn.

Ashman told delegates to the ITP e-government roadshows in Riyadh and Amman that the idea will catch on because it does away with the untidy ‘computer corner’ in the living or dining room. He says, “I can even foresee the day when we all have set-top cameras, just like the current webcams, so that we can chat with our friends via the set-top box in the living room.

The concept could take off in the Gulf region because of the high penetration of Pay TV here. Saudi Arabia is the region’s leader with 150,000 households connected. The UAE is next with around 80,000 and the other GCC countries are not far behind.

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