Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Battery-Back Up TV: Toshiba Delivers, Long Overdue

I used to live in Nigeria.  The national power company was then known as NEPA (Nigerian Electric Power Authority) or, more honestly (Never Enough Power Anywhere).  Everyone who was anyone had a back-up generator for their home.

But people who are not "anyone" - e.g. most people who live in emerging markets - back-up generators are an unobtainable luxury.  And while TV remains the most essential form of entertainment for people, power cuts can make ruin a good evening.

Toshiba has released a perfect solution: a battery backed-up TV that can run for 2 hours.  Targeted at emerging markets, it could be a big hit.  The product is called PowerTV.  Unfortunately, it doesn't look to me like something that may be fully executed.  All the TVs look like they are pretty large and sporting state-of-the-art LED displays.  Nice, but probably out of reach for the people who suffer most from regular power failures.

This is perhaps a typically Japanese failing: a promising idea ruined by over-engineering.  Having worked so long in Japan, I have seen it time and again: an unwillingness to sacrifice performance for affordability.  Too bad, because it's a great idea.  But not to worry: I'm sure Vestel or someone in China or India will have an affordable version of this out soon.

Image from Toshiba site.  Slashgear report, press release (in Japanese) link

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