LAS VEGAS (CNNfn) -While PC makers are pushing to make household televisions obsolete, couch potatoes can take heart in the knowledge that TV makers aren't taking the threat lying down. Products representing both views are on display this week at Comdex.
Compaq Computer's vision of the future of high-tech home entertainment is just one of several demonstrations of the industry's intense effort to merge computers with televisions.
"Once these solutions become available, get ready to fasten your seat belts," said President and CEO of Compaq, Eckhard Pfeiffer. "We're going to see innovations like we've never seen before."
"With the emergence of digital television and powerful low-cost PC technology, the digital home of the future will contain an array of devices, all genetically related to the PC," he said.
Computer companies like Compaq and Gateway are trying to make the TV obsolete with PCs offering a wide range of broadcast and digital video services.
But TV manufacturers are fighting back. Sanyo and its partner NetChannel will soon offer a set in Japan. It includes built-in Internet capabilities and a split-screen option to watch TV and surf the 'Net at the same time. It is targeting the more than 60 percent of households that don't have a PC.
"Even those one out of three households that do have a PC, less than half of them are online, but I'm telling you every household has a television," said Donald Metzger, of NetChannel.
Panasonic started shipping a 36 inch combination TV/computer monitor last week which retails for $3,000.
Hitachi's 27 inch model comes out in January for $800.
Perhaps capturing the most attention at Comdex is Cyrix, with a demonstration of a device combining the PC, e-mail, video phone, and digital disc movies and television. (QuickTime Movie 3M)
While there are a wide range of technologies on display at Comdex, the keys to their success will be how much leisure time consumers have, and how much they are willing to pay for all these devices.