I was talking to my sister the other day and she said she wishes she had a flat panel TV on the wall of her home that is dedicated to displaying the family calendar. Oddly enough, as sibling coincidences go, I have been lusting after that very thing. Here's a view from my desk chair. (I started work at 3 am today so the room looks a bit dark.)

In the picture you see a wall that I have kept undecorated while I fantasize that someday my calendar and to-do list will appear on some sort of display there. I was imagining a ceiling mounted projector system, but with current technology that has some tradeoffs such as noise, heat, and a bad image in daylight. I'm waiting for technology to offer a cleaner solution.

You might ask why I don't use the TV in my office as the calendar. That would almost work, except I use the TV as a TV while I draw, and switching back and forth would be just enough of a pain in the ass that I might as well use my computer monitor.

Anyway, this made me wish that Apple and Samsung would create a "Calendar TV" for the kitchen. Let me spec it out a bit here.

Imagine a flat panel TV (like a big iPad) that has touch screen capability and a primary purpose of displaying your family calendar and your family to-do list, including shopping list. Every family member has a smartphone app that syncs their own calendars to the family calendar. The Calendar TV would hang face-high so you could also easily type directly onto the touch screen. If you open the fridge and see you need milk, just enter it into the Calendar TV and it goes to the family's common shopping list.

That's the basic function of the product. Future versions might include some of this:

1.     Calendar senses whose smartphone is in the room and only displays the information that person cares about. If two or more people are in the room it defaults to the full family calendar.

2.     Stream TV shows.

3.     Stream video security picture that pops up instead of the calendar when there is motion near the front door, or  wherever cameras are focused.

4.     Stream baby monitor pictures.

5.     Stream family photos.

6.     Track family members by GPS and display on a map, so you know when Dad is coming home. (Parents would be able to turn that function off for their own phones if needed.)

7.     Weather.

8.     Streaming music. (Wireless speakers as an option.)

9.     Bar code scanner so you can wave the empty milk carton in front of the TV and it gets added to the shopping list.

The Calendar TV's default function would be the family calendar, and it should never be more than one button away for the user. You want sub-second switching to the calendar from any other function. That's what makes this product a Calendar TV and not a general Smart TV. If you're streaming a TV show and want to see the calendar, one command pauses the show and switches.

Your phone app would be able to control all of the switching among functions, volume, etc. Or you could do the same switching on the TV's touch screen.

There's a psychological component to this product. If I tell you it is a Calendar TV, you might say you want one for your kitchen, perhaps mounted on the fridge door. Any features beyond the calendar are just icing. But if I say I have a so-called "smart TV" for you, and it does a thousand cool things, you probably say you haven't felt the need for any of it. This might be one of those less-is-more situations. Forget about the battle for the living room TV and focus on the kitchen. The kitchen is the brain of the house.

Would you buy a Calendar TV for $500?

Rank Up Rank Down Votes:  +57
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+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 4, 2013
The company I work for makes many such products. www.crestron.com
I'm surprised you aren't alreeady using them.
Oct 4, 2013
I've been thinking about how many offices (Doctors, haircut place, etc) still use a big paper book for appointments. A GOOD dedicated calendar app BIG touch-screen monitor/tablet running android (these now exist, you can get a 24" one - primary market is the elderly), might sell into this market well. I WOULDN'T go for all the extras (streaming video, etc), just make it a good solid app to run on existing HW. Let someone else (Amazon?) do a dumbed-down O/S behind it if needed.
Oct 4, 2013
I would consider such a device, but most likely not if it were made by apple, mostly because itunes makes me so angry I can't think, and they apparently have to infect everything they make with that program.

I am thinking more of a scenario like this-

-android tablet based with optional output to tv/roku box/something similar
-apps which combine to create and/or expand the functionality you wanted
-some kind of link to the new super awesome voice recognition in Google Now search
-2 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 4, 2013
All of that sounds like it would take way too much energy. It sounds like a huge e-ink display would be better for this mostly static info, and routing the more dynamic stuff (like the door cam) to the TV as needed. As for the location stuff, I like that, but tie it into geofencing like Apple notifications. I don't need an exact location as much as "At work" "left work X minutes ago", etc.
Oct 4, 2013
I want one. But it has to be bolted to whatever surface it is mounted on. My wife always takes the calendar down to write on it and then never puts it back.
Oct 4, 2013
Basically you're asking for a digital dry erase board, or really just a permanently wall-mounted iPad.
Oct 4, 2013
No, because I'd just buy an iPad or a TV for $500

But, I know exactly what you're talking about, and would love that feature set. Given that it's a lot more limited than a standard tablet (ie you wouldn't need a quad-core processor, or a retina screen), I'd expect a nice, big, to-the-point Calendar Tablet like the one you're describing to cost around $200.

After all, if part of the goal is to have them in multiple places (wherever you need to see the calendar frequently), then $500 is way too much
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 4, 2013
Any of the large touch screen all-in-ones can do what you are describing (except Macs because they aren't touch screen). Using the Blackberry Link software it detects my smart phone using bluetooth when I am in the room. Works great. Try this one out.
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 4, 2013
I think the manufacturers would love for us to use bar codes to create our shopping lists, thus re-purchasing the same brand each time. Particularly if it is tied into something like a Peapod home delivery system.
Oct 4, 2013
People have been pushing the idea of a kitchen computer for at least a decade.
Maybe its time has finally come.
Calendar TV is a terrible name though.
I much prefer the term "Fridge Tablet."©
Oct 4, 2013
I like the concept of "sub-second switching". I think a sub-second switch button should come with a nifty sound effect, like:

"Oh no! I'm 10 sub-menus deep in this app, but I need to check my calendar right now! Maybe if I press the SSS button..."


"Aha! So it IS Friday! I need to bathe and maybe get a job. Thanks SSS technology!"
Oct 4, 2013
I'm a little reluctant to having my personal calendar on display. Sure, it's OK to have "Cousin Bob's Birthday" on display. The problem is having "See Proctologist 9am" on display. Otherwise, my phone does all the other stuff, and it's portable.
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 4, 2013
Why wouldn't you mount one huge-ass TV, and then a couple of smaller ones next to it? Then you could have whatever you wanted displayed on each.
Oct 4, 2013
You are describing an iPad mounted to a wall. There is nothing but the cell phone recognition that an ipad couldn't do now.
Oct 4, 2013
You know what, I actually might. As a smart calendar - you can scrap the TV functionality as far as I'm concerned. And most of the other functions except the shopping list one.

Personally I'd like a menu planner included - really useful alongside a calendar as you cna see what days you're out, doing what etc, and obvious links to the shopping list function.

One other thing that sounds trivial but I'd really have reservations if it didn't have...pictures! One thing I love about my paper calendar is that it has pictures for each month (or week). I cna't be alone, judging by the calendar industry either. This needs some ability to display pictures alongside the calendars, if desired.

This could be a fun way of displaying your own pictures, or you could buy a picture set, like buying a calendar, except electronic. And multiple options so you could think that today is a seascape day or you're just in the mood for gazing at art, or animals, or your favourite celebrity...
Oct 4, 2013
Yep I would. I've been tempted to build something similar to this guy:

http://lifehacker.com/5451243/build-a-wall mounted-kitchen-computer
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