While many technologies remain out-of-reach for households in the developing world, one exception to this rule is that of entertainment technologies. Even in poor communities, there is a strong drive to own devices such as TVs and, increasingly, DVD players. Though they are typically used for video content, ordinary DVD players also support rich interactivity and programmability, including the capability to browse over 100,000 menus using the remote control. Our vision is to leverage these capabilities to support interactive applications – such as encyclopedias, language tutoring, and medical decision systems – without any dependence on a computer.
As a step towards this vision, in this paper we explore two novel applications of interactive DVDs in the context of education. The first is as a platform for PowerPoint presentations, where TVDVDs have the potential to replace computers while reducing costs and improving teacher familiarity. The second is as a platform for children’s books, where one can provide thousands of books on DVD for the same price as printing a single book. We evaluate each of these solutions – which have already found uptake with NGOs – via case studies in Indian schools.