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Piper: Mac mini with HDMI shows Apple's interest in selling HDTVs

post #1 of 32
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Investment analysis firm Piper Jaffray believes that Apple's recently released Mac mini with an HDMI port is more evidence that the company intends to release an Internet-connected HDTV within 2 to 4 years.

Released last month, the new Mac mini with an HDMI port starts at $699 and allows easy connectivity to an HDTV. HDMI, or High-Definition Multimedia Interface, is a cabling standard intended for home theater, built on top of the computer-oriented DVI, or Digital Video Interface, specification.

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster has long been convinced that Apple wants to get into the HDTV business, and he interpreted the introduction of the first Mac with an HDMI port as evidence that the Cupertino, Calif., company is continuing on that path. He still believes that Apple would introduce such a product within the next 2 to 4 years.

He also acknowledged that Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs said last month that the Apple TV product remains a hobby because there isn't a viable market, due to the fact that existing set top boxes are heavily subsidized by cable operators. "That pretty much squashes any opportunity for innovation," Jobs said at the All Things D conference, "because nobody's willing to buy a set top box."

But Munster said he believes Apple could solve all of these hurdles with an Internet-connected, all-in-one Apple television.

"In the connected TV market software, content and portability would be key differentiators for Apple with a premium all-in-one solution (different than Apple TV or Mac mini)," he wrote. "The set top box and live TV content are the primary hurdles that remain."



Munster's solution sees Apple offering an Internet-based iTunes TV subscription for between $50 and $90 per month, effectively replacing a user's $85-per-month average cable bill and offering access to current and older episodes of select shows on select channels.

"Additionally, this hurdle could be solved with the addition of an App Store for the TV, offering apps like Hulu Plus (currently available for the iPhone and iPad) with current TV content through Hulu for $10/month," he said.

The Hulu Plus applications and premium service were launched this week, offering viewers the ability to watch every episode of every season of a number of shows from broadcast networks in the U.S. However, the CEO of Hulu has insisted that the service is not intended to replace a customer's cable subscription.



Munster believes Apple could be the savior of the TV business, where the average selling price of HDTVs and home entertainment has fallen by more than 50 percent. He believes a connected TV with a greater emphasis on software and Web content could lift the average selling prices of HDTVs. Apple, as a company experienced in marrying hardware and software, would be an ideal fit, he said.

"History shows that Apple can succeed by redefining mature markets (portable music, mobile phone)," he said. "Home entertainment systems aare combinations of an expensive HDTV, complicated A/V components, and a monthly service fee often with a total sticker price of $2,000+... We believe Apple is uniquely positioned to combine these elements and charge a premium ($2,000) for an Apple-branded television at a sticker price that would be competitive with most home entertainment systems."
post #2 of 32
Hmm... this could be very interesting.

As someone who works in the Audio/Visual field, I'd be very interested in seeing what Apple could come up with.

There certainly is potential for Apple to own this space - it certainly would require something special.

I look forward to see how things unfold...

post #3 of 32
See this blog in today's New York Times: http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/0...ving-room/?hpw
post #4 of 32
I suppose there's a segment of the marketplace that this might work for, but I think a vast majority of people are used to having access to a lot of different content, not just TV shows or movies. Until they figure out how to provide at least the same accessibility to real-time news, sports, weather, financial channels, etc, any offering in this space, even from Apple, will have a much narrower appeal than a cable set top box. Content is king, and right now, the cable and sat operators still can deliver a lot more than an Apple TV

Perhaps if Apple built in some cable or sat tuning and sold it as a stand alone, customer purchased box like a TiVo or Moxi DVR...but then, you're back to the content and revenue stream being the operator and not apple (I know TiVo charges a monthly fee for their guide service, but last I heard, they are struggling to maintain the value add....)
post #5 of 32
I dont see any connection between Apple releasing the new Mini and the possibility of an Apple internet TV. I would imagine that a smart, internet HDTV from Apple might replace the need for an Apple TV, but you wouldn't want both, nor a smart TV and a Mini to buy as well, and so this analyst is making up a link to support a view he already has.

I do think that the new Mini with its sleeker aluminum design and media-friendly HDMI connector means Apple want Minis in the home. My guess is they will now sit back for quite a while and see what people do, then decide whether to kill the Apple TV and how much to push the Mini in the home with new negotiated content or perhaps Tivo-like front end and ability to communicate with cable cards, or whatever is the result of this experiment.

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post #6 of 32
There's NO WAY Apple would EVER jump into a low-margin commodity business like selling television sets.
Their strategy of selling devices that can connect to ANY HD television set 9or monitor) makes FAR more sense.

Just look at one brand and see how many models they sell. That sort of strategy is so far from Apple's, it's ludicrous to entertain.

When will these idiotic analysts figure that one out?
It makes as much sense as Apple starting to make assault rifles. iKill?
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post #7 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffharris View Post

There's NO WAY Apple would EVER jump into a low-margin commodity business like selling television sets.
Their strategy of selling devices that can connect to ANY HD television set 9or monitor) makes FAR more sense.

Just look at one brand and see how many models they sell. That sort of strategy is so far from Apple's, it's ludicrous to entertain.

When will these idiotic analysts figure that one out?
It makes as much sense as Apple starting to make assault rifles. iKill?

A reasonable argument with one exception: Apple's unit would have the proprietary feature of seamless integration into households' Apple ecosystems. That would command a premium with a niche market segment.

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post #8 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kibitzer View Post

A reasonable argument with one exception: Apple's unit would have the proprietary feature of seamless integration into households' Apple ecosystems. That would command a premium with a niche market segment.

I just don't see it.

What size HDTV? 32"? 36"? 40"? 46"? 50"? 52" 60"? 65"? Apple doesn't WANT to sell a full array of products. If that were the case, we'd have a mid-sized headless Mac somewhere between the Mac mini and Mac Pro.

If I buy a Mac mini, I can attach it on the back of my HDTV mounting arm. If I upgrade the TV, the mini stays in place.
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post #9 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by thrang View Post

I suppose there's a segment of the marketplace that this might work for, but I think a vast majority of people are used to having access to a lot of different content, not just TV shows or movies. Until they figure out how to provide at least the same accessibility to real-time news, sports, weather, financial channels, etc, any offering in this space, even from Apple, will have a much narrower appeal than a cable set top box. Content is king, and right now, the cable and sat operators still can deliver a lot more than an Apple TV

Perhaps if Apple built in some cable or sat tuning and sold it as a stand alone, customer purchased box like a TiVo or Moxi DVR...but then, you're back to the content and revenue stream being the operator and not apple (I know TiVo charges a monthly fee for their guide service, but last I heard, they are struggling to maintain the value add....)

The chief obstacle isn't technology. The content owners and the content distributors (increasingly one and the same, such as Comcast's buy-in to NBC Universal) are fearful of surrendering their stranglehold over future revenue streams and profits. The Comcasts of the world are truly the biggest restraint-of-trade scandal of the information universe.

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post #10 of 32
Last I checked, you needed to sell HDTVs to get into the HDTV business, and it's really not such an amazing business to be in. To get the type of margins Apple is use to seeing, TVs would need to cost $3000+. I don't know about you, but there aren't a ton of fanboys who can so quickly throw down THAT kind of cash.

Besides, who's going to make the TVs themselves? Apple?
post #11 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffharris View Post

I just don't see it.

What size HDTV? 32"? 36"? 40"? 46"? 50"? 52" 60"? 65"? Apple doesn't WANT to sell a full array of products. If that were the case, we'd have a mid-sized headless Mac somewhere between the Mac mini and Mac Pro.

If I buy a Mac mini, I can attach it on the back of my HDTV mounting arm. If I upgrade the TV, the mini stays in place.

That's a good point. In your concept, then - (to paraphrase Tolkien) "one box to rule them all."

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post #12 of 32
This is the most nonsensical analysis I've read in some time. How, exactly, will an Apple HDTV solve Apple's content problems? And even with all of Apple's high consumer sentiment, there is no way that is strong enough to get people to pay that high of a premium to get a TV by Apple. If Apple's content offerings were that great, people would already be buying AppleTV and simply adding it to the TVs they already have.
post #13 of 32
The one problem with this concept is that Cable providers also are the primary broadband providers in most areas. Therefore, as soon as people start dropping their cable subscriptions, the cable companies will just make internet costs more and decrease cable prices. I'm surprised they haven't done it already. Ultimately, they control all the content coming into your house, either through cable or internet, and they're not going to let Apple take away half their business through their own pipes.

Sorry guys, the only people that can revolutionize TV are current cable providers.
post #14 of 32
Apple may or may not be contemplating an HDTV but would hardly consider the Mini's HDMI port any kind of sign. Many motherboards come with a HDMI port now. I belive most, if not all, of Intel's media series motherboards have a HDMI port.

This is more a sign of the times than any intention on Apple's part. Full media experience has been a growing trend for some time and HDMI has reached the point that computer vendors are seeing value in adding.
post #15 of 32
The TV and Home Entertainment hardware industry is to flexible on price than i believe Apple is willing to compete with. Look at the prices of HDTV's since 2005. I bought a 37" flat panel HDTV in 2005 for $2300. Today you can buy one almost identical, save for some updated features like internet access, Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, etc built-in. It can cost you around 50-70% of the 2005 figures.

Now, looking at the History of how Apple prices it's devices, I just don't see the same flexibility. Apple's Hardware (save for the iPod and iPhone) have been relatively stable in the last 5 years. The iMac, MacBooks have all been priced at a point where they have gone down a little, but not 50%. The home entertainment hardware industry is way too cut-throat on price for Apple. Granted this is a company that primarily caters to the upper echelon markets, but with the invention of the iPod and the iPhone, that has changed slightly.

Personally, i'd rather see Apple tackle the HT STB first before diving into TV's. If they charged $2000 for a TV that replaved all our components, it would have to be pretty darn compelling. There are too many video/audio-philes out there (even in the base market) that would not buy into this. Look at Bose. They have tried over the past 20 years to simplify the Home theater down to it's basic components, not without a struggle, and even now their product still don't sell the kind of numbers that Apple would need to stay competitive in this market.

Think of all the different technologies Apple would have to invest in to make a quality product. Blu-ray (which SJ has been known to frown on physical media), Surround Sound receiver and amplification technology, TV HD tuner technology, etc. That's a lot of junk under the hood, and i'm not sure how willing Ives and Jobs are to play with all these different technologies. Plus, like computers, the monitor is the last thing that ever needs to be replaced. A STB is much more likely. I could see an STB, like what Sony and Bose are trying to market (with relative degrees of success).

Show me a STB that replaced my Cable, Blu-ray, Surrond sound revicer and Game Console (which i own non becase my computer works better for that), and i would be curious, but not 100% convinced.
post #16 of 32
There's a clue here in what Jobs said about set-top boxes being heavily subsidized.

My guess is that the real plan is to become the exclusive set-top box provider for one of the big cable/satellite companies. They pay dearly to have Apple develop and manufacture a slick box with DVR that's tied exclusively to that provider for 2+ years.

Apple gets that sweetheart subsidy deal, and millions of people switch to that provider just for the interface.
post #17 of 32
Piper Jaffrey is full of idiots.

If Apple were going to sell HDTVs, they would have released the Mini with some proprietary slot that would tie the Mini to the Apple TV.
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post #18 of 32
Ugh! This dumb idea is still getting floated around?
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post #19 of 32
I still remember this article...

http://www.appleinsider.com/articles...ise_ships.html

What ever happened with this interface?
post #20 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamiec View Post

There's a clue here in what Jobs said about set-top boxes being heavily subsidized.

My guess is that the real plan is to become the exclusive set-top box provider for one of the big cable/satellite companies. They pay dearly to have Apple develop and manufacture a slick box with DVR that's tied exclusively to that provider for 2+ years.

Apple gets that sweetheart subsidy deal, and millions of people switch to that provider just for the interface.

I said this in another post (tried looking for it but i guess i have to re-type it). With Apple's current relationship with ATT as it stands today. I could easily see Apple partnering with ATT's U-Verse Cable group to produce a product that is subsidized through ATT and Apple does the rest. The UI, the App/iTunes Store, iOS4 (or whatever the current release is), A DVR that works with the UI and U-Verse. It seems like a very plausible scenario. Just like the iPhone, Apple would use it's own UI to do TV, like the YouTube app you'd have your Cable TV App.

But, one big hurdle would have to be overcome:

1. Pay-per-view. ATT and other cable companies rely pretty heavily on PPV TV programming, and the iTunes Store would take a big chunck out of that with Rentals, the Hulu and Netflix Apps as well.

But still, i think this is VERY plausible...
post #21 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffharris View Post

I just don't see it.

What size HDTV? 32"? 36"? 40"? 46"? 50"? 52" 60"? 65"? Apple doesn't WANT to sell a full array of products. If that were the case, we'd have a mid-sized headless Mac somewhere between the Mac mini and Mac Pro.

If I buy a Mac mini, I can attach it on the back of my HDTV mounting arm. If I upgrade the TV, the mini stays in place.

you can read my other posts above, but i agree. It's more plausible to do a STB. The Apple Displays come in 3 sizes small, medium and XL. I don't see Apple doing a display.
post #22 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffharris View Post

There's NO WAY Apple would EVER jump into a low-margin commodity business like selling television sets.

Yep and they'll never make low margin cell phones either.

Or maybe they'll do what they always do which is produce an innovative product that people will pay a premium for. All of Apple's products are like this. Why is this difficult for people to understand?
post #23 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by antkm1 View Post

I said this in another post (tried looking for it but i guess i have to re-type it). With Apple's current relationship with ATT as it stands today. I could easily see Apple partnering with ATT's U-Verse Cable group to produce a product that is subsidized through ATT and Apple does the rest. The UI, the App/iTunes Store, iOS4 (or whatever the current release is), A DVR that works with the UI and U-Verse. It seems like a very plausible scenario. Just like the iPhone, Apple would use it's own UI to do TV, like the YouTube app you'd have your Cable TV App.

But, one big hurdle would have to be overcome:

1. Pay-per-view. ATT and other cable companies rely pretty heavily on PPV TV programming, and the iTunes Store would take a big chunck out of that with Rentals, the Hulu and Netflix Apps as well.

But still, i think this is VERY plausible...

You're exactly right. No one can do anything in the TV market without the backing of a provider. Only problem is that currently cable companies are just a race to the bottom and offering more channels. Apple hardware would surely be more expensive than the crappy boxes they have now, and that would make ATT more expensive service.

On top of that, like you said, AT&T loses money on the rentals and PPV which they invested a lot of money into. I doubt they ditch it.
post #24 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by sdh5019 View Post

The one problem with this concept is that Cable providers also are the primary broadband providers in most areas. Therefore, as soon as people start dropping their cable subscriptions, the cable companies will just make internet costs more and decrease cable prices. I'm surprised they haven't done it already. Ultimately, they control all the content coming into your house, either through cable or internet, and they're not going to let Apple take away half their business through their own pipes.

Sorry guys, the only people that can revolutionize TV are current cable providers.

This is exactly my experience with Comcast internet. I tried to purchase internet only and found it would cost me more then getting internet plus basic cable bundled together. Then you have all the promotional and package deals that entice you to get more then just internet.

I for one would love to have a more all in one solution. Currently, HD TV's and desktop computers are quite dissimilar when it comes to the screen resolution and inputs/outputs of each, especially when working in the Mac ecosystem. A mac mini paired to a HD TV isn't enough power to play the current crop of computer games being released. But an iMac doesn't easily allow for connecting a gaming console and/or cable TV box. The easiest solution I find is dreaming of HDMI inputs on an iMac. I imagine HDMI inputs is most likely sharing the same boat as Blu-ray, both floating far out in the ocean falling off the end of the world.
post #25 of 32
How about a new Mac Pro first already?!?!
post #26 of 32
Gene Munster is a very lucky guy. He keeps on getting paid for talking nonsense, and some people are naive enough to take him seriously.

His "Apple are going to start selling TV's" line is one he has been pushing for about 5 years, since rumours of the name Apple TV or iTV circulated and some people thought this meant an actual TV rather than a box. Anyone who spends a moment thinking about the number of size variations, plus all the other permutations of models and the speed of innovation in a cut-throat market should soon understand that selling HDTV's is something Apple will leave to the people who are able to do it best. Not to mention that Apple sells its products globally, while what works for TV in the US does not work in Asia or Europe.

Gene Munster has been pushing this story for so long that he can interpret any change as proof that it is coming true soon. In fact, the exact opposite is the case. The fact that the Mac Mini has an HDMI port is further proof that Apple expects its home theatre product to be connected to even more HD displays made by others.

I do not get paid to make wild and unsupported predictions about the Apple TV, but if I had to it would be this: in a world where you and your family use iPads and iPhones, there will be less need for desktop computers and more need for a home server that backs up your media, iPads, iPhones and iTunes accounts. The Mac Mini will then replace your iMac or home PC, using your HDTV to display media and as an occasional monitor.

Meanwhile, the AppleTV line will become lower-spec versions of the Mac Mini or low-cost "headless iPad" internet boxes for your TV, depending on your home server needs.
post #27 of 32
I doubt there will be a HDTV. This topic comes out ever 2 years or so.
post #28 of 32
Yeah, Apple wants to get into a cutthroat commodity business where nobody makes any money.... sure!!!


The Mini has an HDMI port because... it IS Apple's entry into the home theater market. It is fully functional as a television / video convergence device and it's here today. There is no added value by building the Mini into a one-size fits all display.

I see what Munster is thinking but he forgot to say what the point is. A Mini ($999 for the good one) with a $1000 television gets you an absolutely killer setup today, minus Blu-Ray. Which frankly, it should have.
post #29 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Ugh! This dumb idea is still getting floated around?

Here he comes again.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #30 of 32
What moron did the math in that first picture?

Wonder how iTunes is going to replace my Blu-ray player... when iTunes movies are limited to 720p.

This Apple TV is going to replace my Denon Surround Sound Receiver with Definitive Technology 5.1 surround sound speakers with... 2 built in TV Speakers. Lol

It's gonna replace my game console too right? Because I'm sure a TV is going to be capable of displaying Hi-End graphics from all the latest games.

Going to replace my FIOS TV too? So all the channels I get with FIOS, I"ll be able to get with Apple TV. Don't hold your breath on that one.


It's these kind of bullshit claims that makes me hate Apple Fan Boys. This does nothing but try to justify Apple's 60% Markup while everyone else is the industry uses 30%.
post #31 of 32
The numbers are (like many times when two very different settings are compared) rather random. Why would you have to add a receiver (of a surround sound system) only to the TV set, but not to the counterpart produced by Apple?! Sure, you can have a huge screen without surround sound ... but in my opinion, that's no fun.
post #32 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by PXT View Post

I dont see any connection between Apple releasing the new Mini and the possibility of an Apple internet TV. I would imagine that a smart, internet HDTV from Apple might replace the need for an Apple TV, but you wouldn't want both, nor a smart TV and a Mini to buy as well, and so this analyst is making up a link to support a view he already has.

I do think that the new Mini with its sleeker aluminum design and media-friendly HDMI connector means Apple want Minis in the home. My guess is they will now sit back for quite a while and see what people do, then decide whether to kill the Apple TV and how much to push the Mini in the home with new negotiated content or perhaps Tivo-like front end and ability to communicate with cable cards, or whatever is the result of this experiment.

I agree. The current Mac Mini disposes of the need for an internet connected TV. The addition of HDMI to the Mac Mini is a nod to consumers who have been using the Mac Mini as an addition to their home theater system, or at least have been hesitant up to this point.

This is not a sign of Apple moving in to the TV business. You really have to go a long way through some convoluted thinking to get to the conclusion that this is a sign that Apple is moving in to the TV business.
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