On November 2, 2006 the USPTO published Sony Corp's patent app for "Gateway screen for interactive television." (App #20060248572) It sounds fancier than it really is. When you turn on your Sony TV in the far future, you can expect to see the screen show a different window for each information source. Think of picture-in-picture with the main screen initially for TV and the inset picture showing your internet connection.
Personally, I found the description of the invention unintentionally very funny. Snippets like this one (where I add emphasis for effect):
Namely, consumers must purchase a television to watch television, and a computer to access the Internet. One result not only is that costs are duplicated and significant space is required, but also that undertaking both activities at once, in one room, can be difficult.Really. It's too difficult for your average person to do two things at once on different consumer products? Won't Sony be asking these same people to do two things at once on the same screen with a more complicated remote control?
Here's another favorite:
Moreover, the need for two systems burdens some consumers who, while familiar with operating a television and its remote control, might not be familiar with operating an Internet computer.Come on. Sony really expects consumers, who don't currently use the internet because they don't know how, will fork out the cash for a TV with a feature they never use? If they can't use the internet because it's too much effort to learn, won't Sony make watching TV more difficult with a more complicated remote?
Sony's idea is fine, but the company sure doesn't have a high opinion of its consumers!