The Laptop: TV You Can Take With You
If you look at this picture of my son Josh catching up on his favorite TV shows this morning before breakfast, you'll see a flat panel display in the upper right of the picture. And yet Josh is watching on his laptop. That's largely because we are in europe right now, where the shows he likes are not available on the local cable channel but are available "on demand" on the Internet.
Yes it's true that Hulu and ABC.com and other web video services block IP addresses outside of the US, but we were able to hack around that pretty easily. Yet another form of DRM that won't work, can't work, and will eventually be removed by content owners.
But I digress.
We don't spend a ton of time watching TV in our house, but early in the mornings when others are still sleeping, or late at night before bedtime are popular times to sit back and catch up with a favorite show or to watch a movie.
And when we travel these days, our laptops have become the perfect way to do that. Take last night. After dinner, the kids rented a movie on iTunes, which downloaded in about 15 minutes, then put the laptop on the floor, put three sofa cushions on the floor, laid down and watched the movie together. Total cost was $3.99.
Compare that to the other night when they went to a local theater that was playing and english language movie at 10pm. That evening cost the three of them around 50 euros.
I think there are benefits to watching the local TV and checking out the local movie theaters. You start to learn the language and soak up the culture.
But when we travel, as I suspect is the case with all families, you need some downtime. You can't sightsee and eat out every night. And as we've learned in the past year or two, the laptop with a good internet connection is the perfect entertainment device when you are on the road.