tablets for parents

Toby Parkins toby.parkins at
Mon Mar 3 09:46:49 GMT 2014

On 02/03/2014 22:40, Ben Evans wrote:
> It would mean putting in fixed infrastructure, but modern smart TVs are
> capable of doing Skype.
But is anyone capable of using a IR remote's cursor buttons for typing 
Skype username and password? Let alone navigating the "Smart" TV's menu 
systems.. My parents do struggle with these. Having given them an iPad 
has been a bit step forward though.
> My parents have a Panasonic Smart Viera connected to a standard BT
> broadband line. It does Skype perfectly fine - in fact provides a much
> better video conferencing experience than basically anything else short of
> the $100k dedicated infra I've seen in banks.
> A smart TV combined with a Freeview box and the catchup services available
> on the Smart TV basically do everything my parents want apart from video
> games.
> YMMV, of course.
> Ben
> On Sun, Mar 2, 2014 at 9:20 PM, Nicholas Clark <nick at> wrote:
>> Dear knowledgeable hive mind,
>> It seems that my parents are finally cracking and amenable to the idea of
>> buying a device for the purpose of videoconferencing. My sister and I
>> suspect that the right thing is a tablet connected via 3G
>> (my parents alternate between two locations in southern England, so fixed
>> line would mean 2 fixed lines, and two lots of fixed infrastructure, which
>> feels like a pain)
>> So, what is good to get. Specifically
>> 1) What tablet?
>>     (with camera, obviously, 3G, and possibly not much else "special")
>> 2) What data plan?
>> You can infer from this that they don't currently have an Internet
>> connection, and I don't think that once they get one they are going to
>> start
>> heavy surfing or high bandwidth activities such as watching videos on
>> YouTube or iPlayer.
>> (They have had the "recording the TV" thing sussed for a decade or more
>> now,
>> and whilst they have migrated from VHS to hard drives, I don't think that
>> they are going to move from the idea of a box under the TV connected to an
>> aerial, that they program after circling programmes in a paper listings
>> magazine)
>> I don't think that they care what OS, and I don't think that I do hugely
>> either. I just that care it doesn't get abandoned by the manufacturer as
>> soon as the next model comes out*, and it needs to work without assuming
>> that the owner has a PC for any sort of regular service activity.
>> My sister has Macs (and a Blackberry too, I think), but is dealing with
>> Windows at work, so between us I think we can hand-hold most things.
>> Nicholas Clark
>> * So *this* would put me off Windows RT even if it ticked all the other
>> boxes,
>>    as I can't see how MS are going to sanely sustain 3 different OSes and
>>    ecosystems, and I suspect that RT is more than 33% likely to be the one
>> for
>>    the chop. And even if it isn't, well, Windows Mobile, Windows Phone 7,
>>    Windows Phone 8 - they have a pedigree now of dumping their customers.


Toby Parkins
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