where do dreams and competence mate?

Filed under what were they thinking… The seemingly incredible chasm between concept design, product design, and the out-of-box-experience.

…After dinner tonight, you flop on the couch for a little TV. But you don’t actually care what’s on right now. Instead, you pull out your phone. You scroll through a list of every TV show broadcast in the last month. You tap the one you want, put the phone back in your pocket, and happily swing your feet up onto the coffee table as the show plays on your TV.

Suddenly, the Internet is your personal TiVo — the world’s biggest. Every show available anywhere on the Web is listed on your phone, ready for transmitting to your TV with one tap. And, it’s all free.

This, believe it or not, is the promise of the Orb TV ($100), a tiny plastic hockey puck that connects to your television. You don’t really have to understand how it works, but in essence, it uses your computer (to which it connects over your wireless network) to fetch Web TV shows — and then it blasts them to your TV.

What a concept! No longer must you pay for TV shows by the episode, as you must on the Apple TV box. No longer are you blocked from Hulu and the major networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox), as you are with Google TV and Boxee. In the never-ending quest to bring Web television shows to your big-screen set, the Orb TV would seem to be the best approach yet.

Any show from any Web source, listed on my phone, ready to play on my TV? I didn’t just want to love the Orb TV. I wanted to sweep it off its feet and marry it.

Unfortunately, the Orb’s concept is a lot better than its execution.

First, you open the box and discover — no manual. There’s a wiring diagram, but that’s it. Not a word of instruction…

via Behold, Another Erratic Web-to-TV Gadget – NYTimes.com.

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