What Do You Want in an HDTV?

Westinghouse Digital issued an interesting press release last week, reporting the results of a poll that asked “If you could design a TV yourself, what would you add?”

The top answer was speech recognition. (Actually, the press release said “voice recognition” but that is really a security feature, like fingerprint recognition. If you want something that takes verbal commands, you want “speech recognition”. But now I’m just being picky.) This is an interesting idea, but I wonder if it would be difficult to implement. For example, how would the TV differentiate between an instruction from a viewer, and dialog from whatever is showing on the TV at the time? I’m also tempted to make a comment about people too lazy to press a button on a remote control, but since I’m as addicted to the remote as the next guy, I’m not going to throw stones. When was the last time you crossed the room to change a channel?

The next most popular item surprised me: touch screen. Maybe it’s just the gimmies for the iPhone talking, but I have to wonder if people really want a touch screen HDTV. Maybe if it were a personal-sized model — say 19″ or so — where you’re sitting close enough to touch it, but what’s the benefit for a room-sized model? Are you going to get up and cross the room to change the channel? (See previous paragraph.) And while we do not currently have any in residence, I’m familiar enough to wonder if you really want rug rats smearing their PBJ over the big screen when they want to watch Bob the Builder?

The rest of the list was interesting, mainly because they are features already available in HDTVs. These include 120 Hz refresh rate to reduce motion blur on LCDs, wireless communication with signal sources, energy conservation, and built-in digital video recorder (DVR) functions. I’ll be watching to see if the desire for these features translates into higher sales for models with these features.

Most of all, I was surprised to see that “integrated beer cooler” wasn’t included on the list. Maybe football fans were not well represented in the sample.

What features would you add to your HDTV? Write me at alfred@hdtvprofessor.com and tell me your idea.