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Digital Home - Is it Science Fiction?

According to the Economist -- Technology firms are pushing a futuristic vision of home entertainment not because consumers are desperate for it but because they themselves are.

Recently, at one of the fast-proliferating conferences devoted to the �digital home�, John Burke, an executive at Motorola, a maker of mobile phones and digital gadgets, showed a video that presented his company's version of this vision. In the clip, a youngish man wakes up to a rock video that automatically starts playing on a screen next to his bed. He gets up to have breakfast and the rock video follows him to a screen in the kitchen. He moves into the living room and up pops the rock video on yet another screen. When he leaves his flat and gets into his car, the video starts playing on a screen in the steering wheel.

To ordinary humans this sort of thing must seem like silly�or downright frightening�marketing claptrap. In fact, even Mr Burke's audience of self-selected technophiles seemed sceptical. �Did you notice that the guy was a bachelor,� said Tim Dowling, the boss of Pure Networks, a software firm in Seattle that helps users to set up and troubleshoot home-computer networks. �That alone tells you that they're out of touch. I thought: How dumb.� Real people do not want to be hounded through their home and their life by some video stream, he argues; they just want help with basic headaches, such as getting the kids' laptop, mom's Apple Macintosh and dad's Windows machine to share the family's printer.

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