Crash course in TV technology

They say that "necessity is the mother of invention." I've got to ask: Why is this necessary?

The "this" is an invention by Jay Schiffman of Farmington Hills, Mich., that allows automobile drivers to watch television as we speed down America's streets and highways! Apparently it's not sufficient for drivers to have cell phones in their cars so they can yak and drive at the same time. Schiffman wants to add the distraction of television to our already dangerous roads.

No problem, Schiffman says, claiming that he's tested his onboard television with more than 500 drivers without a single accident. Indeed, he asserts that his invention makes drivers more alert, therefore less of a menace on the road.

His TV device is mounted in the car ceiling and powered by the battery, with a TV antenna on the car roof. The TV image is projected onto a small mirror that's installed on the windshield in front of the driver. While driving, says Schiffman, your favorite soap opera, the ball game, the news or other television programs appear to float out in front of you, roughly in line-of-sight with the traffic ahead. Thus, goes the theory, you watch the TV and the traffic. Cars can even be equipped with VCRs so you can watch videos -- everything from instructional tapes to X-rated movies.

If you think this is too far out to be adopted, more than three million Japanese drivers already have TVs in their cars, though these televisions are in the dashboard and rigged so the picture only appears when the car is stopped. Mr. Schiffman notes that our cars are already equipped with phones, computers, faxes, shaving sockets and other in-transit devices for drivers -- so his TV is just a matter of time.

Let's go all the way. Why not replace the driver's seat with a hot tub and put a barbecue grill on the dash?