Feeds

eBay comes to cable TV

All the thrills of QVC, if you're in Austin

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Comment The consumer electronics and computer industries could have saved themselves many billions of dollars if they'd remembered why people watch TV. Panicked by apocalyptic warnings of attention-deficit computer types, they threw their energies into making TV more "interactive" - with predictable for program quality and usability.

But the dream dies hard. Last week the BBC announced that it would allow bored computer owners to "remix" its news. Bill Gates insists that the future of TV is a split screen, with the broadcast program on one side and a page of classified Google ads on another. And former US Vice President Al Gore has announced his backing for a youth-orientated cable channel which, he promises, will flash a random sequence of Google search results at the viewer every thirty minutes.

Quite why anyone, young or old, would welcome an interruption to their favorite program from a blizzard of Viagra spam, weblog trackbacks and empty catalog pages wasn't explained.

What's wrong with these people? Must we make doses of Ritalin or Xanax mandatory for the directors and chief executives of US computer companies, and HTML coders?

However, there are a few TV formats that do lend themselves to interactivity, and the auction is just one. Time Warner will today allow its cable customers to participate in eBay auctions using a standard remote control - no other hardware is necessary. The trial is limited to Austin, Texas, and users must initiate the bid on their computer. But the progress of the auction can be followed, and further bids can be made. It isn't clear yet whether scammed auctioners will be able to appeal to eBay from the comfort of the sofa, but that's the next logical upgrade.

Time Warner says it will monitor the trial, which was done without eBays' direct involvement. It isn't quite "convergence", but then who cares? The less the internet and TV converge, the healthier they both are. ®

Related stories

Gates: PC will replace TV, TV will become a giant Google
'Clicks and bricks' trick tempts window shoppers
High Definition and the future of viewing
Interactive urinal cake aimed at ravers, C&W fans

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Bono apologises for iTunes album dump
Megalomania, generosity and FEAR of irrelevance drove group to Apple deal
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.