Friday, February 17, 2012

Greece: Not a financial issue anymore

We all know that Greece has major financial problems. The Greeks borrowed heavily and spent beyond their means. This resulted in a lot of loans that now have to be repaid. Since Greece does not have the necessary money, it is turning to the European Commission (EC), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the European Central Bank (ECB) to get a bailout of $170 Billion.

These three agencies are demanding drastic spending cuts and reforms. However, the key issue is that these agencies are also demanding that no matter what the election results are in April, Greece cannot change these policies.

The question then is no longer just financial but about Greece’s sovereignty. No wonder people of Greece are unhappy.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Future of TV?

At the recent Consumer Electronics Show, TV manufacturers showcased new TV models like the 4K TV and OLED TV citing them to be the future of television. But are they really?

TV manufacturers are always trying to build excitement about new technologies. However if one looks at the hundred odd year history of television, there has been just one major technology change - moving from cathode ray tube (CRT) to liquid crystal display (LCD). The other new technologies like Plasma TV, RP TV, Smart TV, Internet TV, 3D TV, etc. have failed to make any major impact.

The issue with new TV technologies is that the cost of manufacturing is very high. The other issue, ironically, is that they are very reliable - hence people don't need a new TV every couple of years or so. So it is difficult to convince someone to spend three times the money to buy a new TV when their existing TV is working well.

Maybe instead of thinking only about the next new technology, TV makers can try something different. Cell-phone manufacturers are able to sell new models almost every year by offering huge discounts (the 16GB iPhone 4S costs $199, instead of $649 due to the 2-year voice and data contract). GPS manufacturers are able to reduce price on some models due to tie-ups with advertisers. Maybe TV manufacturers should look at partnering with cable service providers or content providers and tie-ups with advertisers to subsidize the cost of new televisions, and thus making new technology affordable to consumers.