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Is Apple Developing Networked HDTVs?

Built-in functionality would allow for streaming of iTunes content, report says.

According to Jason Calacanis, founder of Weblogs Inc. (owner of Engadget and a number of other blogs), Apple is working on high-def LCD TVs with built-in networking functionality, reports CNET UK.

The TVs, says Calacanis, would stream content from iTunes on a Mac or a PC and function similarly to having an Apple TV without the need for the box.

Apple currently offers a 30-inch display, so they have experience in offering high-quality monitors.

Why does this matter to custom installers?

Beyond the number of Apple innovations that our industry doesn't really notice and the rise of Savant's OS X-based system, the recently released Apple TV 2.2 update allows HDTV shows to be purchased straight from the box.

While the Apple TV update only adds purchasing of HDTV shows, high-def movies can't be too far away. If the networked TVs truly had Apple TV's functions, this would be direct competition to services like VUDU, which just recently announced the 1080p/24 HDX format.

The new LCDs would presumably work like HP's MediaSmart TVs, which have built-in Media Center Extender functionality.

Apple has never been known to offer an "open" network and hasn't paid much (if any) attention to the custom channel, but it has long been speculated that the company will expand its presence in the networked home.

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Article Topics

News · Product News · Digital Media · All topics

8 Comments (displayed in order by date/time)

Posted by Bad Idea  on  10/13  at  10:15 AM

If Apple is trying to make a TV version of the iMac, they are lost.

People are picky with their Display options when it comes to watching TV.  Most would want to decouple the AppleTV device from the Display.  For example, I have an LCD display for TV viewing, and a Front Projector for the godo stuff.  Of course I want a standalone Apple TV device, at the very least for my Projector.  And surely I wouldn’t limit my Display buying options to just what Apple has to offer with the built-in AppleTV hardware.

As long as they don’t kill the standalone device, I think it’s OK, but definitely not a necessary product offering.

Posted by Tom  on  10/13  at  12:13 PM

Apple TV’s currently allow purchase / rental / playing of HD Movies, The Apple TV is only Native Capable of 720p or 1080i (Hardware limited, cannot display 1080p), but they allow for HD Movie content already. Not sure what the article means by HD movies are coming, they are already here!

Posted by Jez Hildred  on  10/13  at  01:08 PM

If Apple really do enter into the flat-panel space I’d have to view it as a significant strategic move. I say that because it doesn’t make much sense as a short-term profit opportunity - that market is already tight with too many products and customers looking for ever decreasing price points. Apple has a significant brand, a fairly large retail channel and some buying power for the components for such a product line, but I’m sure their initial volumes would still be way less than the traditional brands in this market.

If there’s any truth to the rumor I think the real story is ‘iTunes everywhere’. They have already trained that world (consumers AND producers) that all music comes from the iTunes store. Maybe the ‘Apple HDTV’ product is more about saying they are THE outlet for video content now? That would have a lot of implications, not least in the custom channel.

Posted by Mr. Stanley  on  10/13  at  01:32 PM

I think it is a smart move on Apples’ part. I have really enjoyed enjoyed most all of their products.
With the religious ferver most Apple fans will want one. I can imagine if this catches on for them, they will offer larger screen sizes, and probably a projector in the the future?

A big step in WiFi & home entertainment devices.

Posted by dan  on  10/13  at  04:54 PM

Apple could build a garden hose and it would outsell all other garden hoses on the market.

Posted by Jez Hildred  on  10/13  at  06:41 PM

Actually Dan I’m not sure you are correct and that’s exactly why I don’t see such a move as anything other than a long term play. Outside of iTunes and the iPod, Apple has always been a big but never top player in their hardware and OS businesses. Even AppleTV has not made huge inroads into the set top box world.

If they create a ‘smart TV’ it won’t be cheap in comparison to the HDTV competition - they don’t manufacture in the volumes Sony, Sharp, Samsung, etc do and they will be making a more complex product with extra high customer expectations to meet. The only way they could compete on price is to use their deep pockets subsidize the product (as it seems they have with AppleTV). If they do that it’s a sure sign they are trying to corner that market before it mushrooms just as they did in the MP3 player space.

Whilst I love the idea of an Apple garden hose, it would probably be more relevant to think of an Apple irrigation system and how it would sell in comparison to garden hoses. They definitely won’t sell ‘garden hose’ volumes, but you can bet that they’ll try to make everyone really want an irrigation system now.

Posted by Jeremy Burkhardt  on  10/14  at  11:10 AM

Great idea.  When the iPod came out with content provided in iTunes it eliminated the need for any other mp3 player.  Why not tie it all together with auto set up and real plug n play.  I have apple tv and vudu (i think vudu has a better pic), they would both benefit by this idea.  Several keynote’s ago Steve stated something to the effect that besides larger monitors what else do they (atendees) want?  I see this as a natural move.  Easier to install, if done right all you need is a wireless network, big external HD and they all route and speak to one another.  Makes install easier, less boxes, more reliable in less termination connections.  Maybe we could make some margin as dealers…

Posted by Steven Kippel  on  10/15  at  12:43 PM

The only “rise of Savant” is in CEPro. Everyone else is ambivalent. The company doesn’t even provide specifications for their product.

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