To USB or Not to USB


4 USB Ports on a LCD TV at CES 2011

So you’ve heard about tablets, the fact that Apple didn’t launch their iPad at CES, everyone is gunning for Apple’s iPad, the Blackberry, Sony, Samsung,… tablet will be famous, and every single article that was written said “Apple iPad” in it.


This isn’t about that.


I went to the HiSense booth at CES 2011, and saw their excellent 3D TVs.  HiSense is a China based TV maker.  More importantly, if you look at this picture there are 4 USB ports.


Yes, 4 ports.

I’ve seen HiSense TVs in China with a single Device and a single Host port. 

What would you use 4 ports for?

1) Webcam for video conferencing

2) WiFi dongle for connecting your TV to the internet (although I think WiFi will be standard in TVs pretty soon)

3) USB Hard Drive to record TV programs.

4) Connect to a USB Flash Drive or Digital Camera to view pictures.


For Video Conferencing, I’m reliably informed that Panasonic and Toshiba demonstrated this with at CES 2011.  This year, they did it again.  Panasonic had an integrated webcam, but Toshiba, Samsung, (and I think Sony) all demonstrated Skype Video conferencing on their big screen TVs.  Samsung’s webcam wasn’t available for sale, but it uses USB and will be available later according to the booth person I talked to.  The webcam at the Toshiba booth used USB in the picture below.


In case, you missed it, you can load Apps on your TV now.  In addition to Skype, there’s Facebook, Twitter, Google Talk and probably more.  The Samsung demo of Skype below shows the interface and in the upper right you can see the symbols next to “Be Updated with Friends”.



Now I just need to make some Friends.

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