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Utilizing DVD Players as Low-Cost Offline Internet Browsers

Guarav Paruthi and William Thies


In the developing world, computers and Internet access remain rare. However, there are other devices that can be used to deliver information, including TVs and DVD players. In this paper, we work to bridge this gap by delivering offline Internet content on DVD, for interactive playback on ordinary DVD players. Using the remote control, users can accomplish all of the major functions available in a Web browser, including navigation, hyperlinks, and search.

As our driving application, we map the entirety of – encompassing 5,500 articles and 259,000 screens – to a double layer DVD. We evaluate our system via a study of 20 low-income users in Bangalore, India. Using our DVD as reference, participants are able to answer factual questions with over 90% success. While most participants prefer to use a computer if one is available, for resource-poor environments the DVD platform could represent a viable and low-cost alternative.


Publication typeInproceedings
PublisherACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
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