Man invents computer made for TV
For those who just cannot stand watching streaming-Internet TV shows on their computer’s small monitor, Solana Beach inventor Mark Tiddens may have found the solution.
“It’s a wave of freedom,” he said of his new product, called The Wave. “You can sit in front of your TV and watch anything. Everything is available on the Internet.”
The Wave is essentially a stand-alone personal computer that is customized to work with a TV. It takes a wireless Internet signal and uses the television as its monitor. It includes a wireless keyboard with a built-in trackball mouse that acts as its control. Tiddens said The Wave takes away the hassle of having to walk toward the TV to keep a laptop from going to its screen saver or interrupting a movie with notices from other programs.
“I just thought there’s got to be something simpler than this,” he said, adding that he first got the idea when he and his wife tried to watch something on their computer. “We missed a TV show and we didn’t VCR or DVR it, so we went to CBS.com, sat in front of my little screen, and I thought, this is ridiculous.”
So Tiddens, an electrical engineer by trade, took it upon himself to rectify the situation. He took his experience and industry connections to come up with The Wave, which plugs into a television’s PC input. He built the first version inside a cardboard box before designing the outer shell, which measures 1-inch thick and is smaller than a square foot.
It has USB inputs, can download and transport files, as well as connect with other computers on a home network. The biggest difference is that it is designed to play video on a TV. It also acts as a digital picture frame, projecting photos on the television.
“When we’re not using it, we have these huge pictures of our family and trips on the screen,” he said. “We pass by and go, ‘Oh yeah, I remember that.’ I’ve always wondered why these big TV screens are sitting around blank in your house when they could be digital picture frames.”
Aside from Internet television, The Wave is capable of e-mail, word processing and spreadsheets. It can also be controlled by an iPhone or iPod Touch. The Wave was released for sale on April 14.
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