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Readers sound off on convergence poll

A majority of CNET News.com readers say they are prepared to buy a single device that will deliver voice, Net access, and TV programming.

A majority of CNET News.com readers say they are prepared to buy a single device that will deliver voice, Internet access, and television programming.

However, most are not willing to pay too much for it.

Of the 1,032 respondents to News.com's poll, 769 said they would be willing to buy the device, compared to 263 who said they wouldn't. However, 38 percent, or 304 respondents, said they would pay less than $500 for the device.

As for those who would spend more, 22 percent or 171 said they would pay $500 to $749; 17 percent or 132 would pay $750 to $999; and 16 percent or 124 said they would spend $1,000 to $1,999. The big spenders--7 percent or 62 respondents--said they would shell out $2,000 or more.

Many respondents who said they would buy the device touted convenience and consolidation as key.

"I have three computers, all networked, TV and TV cards in the PCs, cell phones, and pagers. The whole house is a mess," wrote one respondent. "Nobody could appreciate better than me integration and unification of communication technologies."

"Currently I have a TV/FM tuner card in my computer, DVD drive and decoder card, with a 19-inch monitor," wrote Marc Murphy. "The VCR, cable TV converter, and a camcorder are all hooked into my CPU. I would love to be able to have all those devices integrated into a single design."

Those who didn't want a converged device cited a variety of potential problems.

"I would not buy such a device because I don't want to use them at the same time, nor in the same place," noted Dana Dawson. "If my TV is also my Internet browser, then everyone has to agree to do one or the other at the same time, and in the same room. This never happens."

Dawson's concern about managing a single device in a home with several users was echoed by Hang Li.

"If that device was in use, no other [family] member can use it," Li wrote.

"Experience has taught me that sometimes you should not 'put all your eggs in one basket,'" wrote Paul Nass. "Television is a form of entertainment that I enjoy sharing with my family or friends. So the TV is in a location where it can be viewed by several people.

"When I work on my computer, I am focused (most of the time) on a specific task," he added. "I am working by myself. So the computer is in a location away from other distractions."

Others simply viewed the whole idea with skepticism.

"Combined devices have always been a jack of al trades and master of none," wrote Christopher Rowan.

Dave Palombo also didn't see the idea as logical: "That's like asking me to buy a microwave oven that dries my laundry."