The race to control the living room in the digital age has often centered on some kind of uberdevice, whether it be a souped-up TV, game console or something else that combines all manner of technology and interactivity. But one of the more promising efforts in this elusive market may not involve a single device at all yet still secure a natural place in the room: a high-tech coffee table.
Don't laugh: Research has shown that many people routinely bring their laptops into the living room specifically to enhance their TV experience, not just to check email. Studios encourage this by offering multiple ways to experience their programming online through related games, behind-the-scenes stories and other companion content. Savvy home builders, aware of this trend, are designing built-in computer stations for family rooms.
An interesting note about the invention is that it comes from Hewlett-Packard, a company that has been criticized often for its lack of innovation. Perhaps HP can remake itself as the market leader in digital furniture--stranger things have happened.
Blog community response:
"Here at Casa McW, the point of coffee tables is to have someplace to put your feet, the mail, and various beverages. Nonetheless, it would be ever-so-keen to be able to gather around to play games or look at a map, watch a movie or just browse the Web, etc."
--when i drop dead
"The exact same thing can be done for a grand, and be much more flexible. Picture something like those leather blotters people used to keep on their desks. It's a big flexible or foldable plastic sheet that you can place on any desk or table. You can hook it up to any PC with a USB or BT connection, although it does nothing on its own."
"I want to create a certain experience, and now, sitting in front of my computer, I can. I've got a two-screen scene going here, my TV and my laptop. And it's working for me."