Free Press

December 22, 2010 Previous day Next day

Analysis from two recent research reports show what many of us already know – that people are spending less time with offline media such as radio, newspapers and magazines. But a side-by-side comparison of these surveys reveal conflicting results about where people are spending more of their precious time: in front of the TV or engaging with the Internet.

 

According to a study released last week by Forrester, North Americans are spending 13 hours a week online and the same amount of time watching TV, while eMarketer reports that the average adult is spending 30 hours per week watching TV compared to an average of 18 hours per week.

 

“While consumer usage of digital platforms is growing at a rapid pace, television is still consumers’ most-used media channel,” said Haixia Wang, forecasting director at eMarketer, in a blog post found on her company’s blog.

 

Both reports show the growth of Internet popularity rising faster than that of TV’s, indicating that people are spending more time in front of computer and mobile device screens than ever before.

 

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One recent study said people are now spending an equal amount of time surfing the Internet and watching TV, another seemed to say TV was still king.

 

eMarketer estimates that time spent online grew 6 percent this year, compared to a 1 percent decline in time spent watching TV. Forrester discovered dramatically different results; time spent watching TV has climbed 5 percent while time engaged online shot up 120 percent since 2005.

 

Just over 6 hours a week are spent offline tuned into radio, which has declined by 15 percent since 2005, according to Forrester. Less than 3 hours are spent reading newspapers, down 26 percent in the past 5 years.  And time spent reading print magazines is now at 2 hours per week, a decline of 18 percent since 2005.

 

According to another eMarketer report published in The Wall Street Journal this week, this is the first year that advertisers will spend more money on Internet ads than on print newspaper ads, reaching an estimated $25.8 billion online versus $22.8 billion on print in the U.S.

 

As more people sign up for broadband connections at home and wireless Internet service in their laptops, it would appear that PCs and mobile device could soon become the screens of choice for staying current with the world and with what’s important in people’s lives, especially if researchers factored in on-the-job time spent connecting to the Internet.

 

Forrester’s report showed that the top activity for most people online is shopping, while Facebook has become one of the fastest-growing attractions online.

 

Another growth area bringing more people to the Internet is mobile technology. According to eMarketer, time spent on such mobile devices as smartphones and tablets grew 28 percent in 2010 to reach an average of 50 minutes per day. Meanwhile, time spent reading print magazines and newspapers decreased 9 percent in 2010.

In our quest to find new computer intelligence, we turn to the UK, home of the Beatles, Rolling Stones and the Orange Amplifier Company, long time maker of guitar amplifiers used by legends like Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page and modern hit makers Black Eyed Peas.

 

This year, Orange created the nifty OPC, a full-functioning amplifier fitted with full-blown computer.  Some might think of fusing a computer with an amp some kind of a Frankenstein contraption, people who are creating homemade digitally recorded and mixed music see this as a match made somewhere along the stairway to heaven.

 

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Intel Free Press spotted one in action, connected to a guitar and a large flat screen, during a tech demo preparation for the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show.  The built-in software allowed the guitar player to change the sound from classical to grunge guitar on the fly, or record and edit multiple tracks of music.

 

This looks like any portable Orange amplifier until you turn it around and see the neatly integrated computer tucked in behind the front speaker.

 

Orange claims this is “the first computer of its kind that you can connect yourself and your music to the digital world simply by plugging in your instrument,” according to the company’s Website.

 

By first, Orange says it means that the OPC is the first computer of its kind to have a built-in high powered speaker delivering full-range, hi-fi quality sounds as well as vintage guitar sounds, which can be changed around with a click of a mouse.  Orange says it’s the first computer to have a universal input jack for a multitude of musical instruments, like guitars or keyboards, and jacks for peripherals such as the iPod, MP3 players and microphones.

 

Updates are expected to be released at CES, but current OPCs is priced at $1,499 and run Windows 7 x64 home premium, an Intel Core i3 processor, with on-board graphics, 4GB of DDR2 RAM, a 500GB Hard Drive, eight USB2.0 ports, built-in Wi-Fi, and HDMI and DVI outputs for plugged into HD monitors.

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