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WSJ: Apple working on new video delivery technology for TVs

post #1 of 55
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According to a new report, Apple's new CEO Tim Cook faces the challenge of advancing the company's plans for digital video, even as it is developing "new technology" for delivering video to televisions.

The Wall Street Journal has claimed that, according to people familiar with the matter, "Apple is working on new technology to deliver video to televisions," adding that the company has also been in talks over a subscription TV service.

The report suggested that new markets, such as digital video and control of the living room, will pose the first "real test" for Cook, who officially took over for Steve Jobs on Wednesday. Markets that Apple is already entrenched in, such as mobile phones and tablets, have already been handed to him by Jobs and won't require the same level of innovation.

Though further details regarding the rumored new technology were lacking, some have connected the comments to Apple's upcoming AirPlay Mirroring functionality, which is said to be iOS 5's "most exciting feature." AirPlay Mirroring could bring about significant disruption in the console gaming market by allowing iOS game developers to offer console-style gaming with the iPhone or iPad serving as both the hardware and a wireless controller.

Speculation also turned to the possibility that Apple will release an Internet-connected TV in the near future. Analysts have claimed for years that the company is hard at work at an Apple-branded HDTV. Reports have picked up steam as of late, with some rumors suggesting that Apple could release the product as early as this fall.

As for a subscription video service, Apple reportedly attempted to negotiate licenses for a service in 2009 but gave up after talks stalled. Envisioneering Group analyst Richard Doherty compared Apple's efforts to "pushing this giant marshmallow uphill," noting that convincing rights holders, cable and satellite companies to change their business models is "light years" tougher than with the music industry.




Apple has repeatedly referred to its Apple TV set top box as a "hobby." The most recent version, which sells for $99 and is focused on streaming content, has performed well, selling half a million units per quarter.

UBS Investment Research analyst Maynard UM has said that Apple is in the best position to win the battle for the "digital living room."\tHe rated all areas in Apple's ecosystem as strong, with the exception of TV, the cloud, social networking and office suite, which were listed as "needs improvement." The company is expected to drastically improve its presence in the cloud with the introduction of iCloud this fall.



Motley Fool Senior Technology Analyst Eric Bleeker also views Apple's opportunity to leverage iOS in the home entertainment arena as a next step for Cook. According to him, Jobs had already seen the vision of iOS extending into the living room, and it's up to his successor to execute it.

"The main visionary aspect was accomplished, which was creating the mobile platform that now powers Apple and bringing the developers on," Bleeker said. "Once you had iTunes and iOS, less innovation was always needed, in a way, because of the momentum once you start moving forward."

Rival Google is also making a play for the living room in the form of Google TV. However, the Android-based Apple TV competitor has failed to gain much traction.

The Mountain View, Calif., search giant's recent $12.5 billion proposed acquisition of Motorola Mobility could help the company regroup. Motorola has an existing set-top box business that builds high-definition digital video recorders and other devices. The company also has a "Video Solutions" line of products for content sharing. For instance, its "Televation" product lets users rebroadcast live TV to other devices throughout their home.



"They're a leading home device maker, and that's also a big opportunity," Google CEO Larry Page said of Motorola after the deal was announced. "We're working with them in the industry to really accelerate innovation."
post #2 of 55
That little chart really kind of sums up a lot of apples business.

I think Apple is in the right place to at the right time to get into the tv market, I'm really surprised TV makers like Samsung haven't been all over this. Samsung actually makes a decent tablet, probably the best of the bunch, and their tv's are world class. Its absolutely mind boggling why they haven't been able to nail this yet.

But no worries. I'm sure apple will be totally ready when all the deals and technology are ready to go, like they always do.
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post #3 of 55
Ok so thunderbolt is a key factor. The integration of multimedia devices is key. Apple considers all its Core base units and its Ax based devices to be the key. Thats why apple is going to reveal a TV/ Monitor. Basic and simple. But easy to connect devices via thunderbolt or the new generation wireless technology. You can call me nuts but hey I am already nuts so thank you. By the way see you on the mother ship Steve.
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post #4 of 55
Not having Steve around to charm or twist arms is going to make getting content providers on board a lot more difficult. "Steve Jobs to see you" and they drop their forks, "Tim Cook to see you" and they say "Tim who?
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post #5 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

"Tim Cook to see you" and they say "Tim who?

He's only CEO of the world's largest company. I think they'll figure it out.
post #6 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

Not having Steve around to charm or twist arms is going to make getting content providers on board a lot more difficult. "Steve Jobs to see you" and they drop their forks, "Tim Cook to see you" and they say "Tim who?

He's the chairman of the board. He hasn't gone anywhere.
post #7 of 55
Not a new technology but rather minimising the footprint of Apple TV. Probably in the scope of USB stick size as reference. The rest, like iOS mirroring, the chip needed to wirelessly stream content, storage etc. is already in place.
post #8 of 55
Have any of you guys used AirVideo for iOS? It users a small server app that runs on your computer that transcodes your videos and streams them to your iOS devices via the HTTP streaming protocol that Apple uses. It is a great app and I love watching videos on my iPad but now they have made AirVideo compatible with Airplay and the Apple TV. So you can send videos via HTTP streaming to your big screen tv and use your iPad as a remote.

HTTP streaming also keeps a lower quality stream of the video buffered so if your wireless connection suddenly loses bandwidth (like when someone in your house turns on the microwave) it can instantly switch to the SD version of the content without skipping the video.


I'd love to see iTunes adopt HTTP streaming "TV Channels" that allow you to just switch on an Apple TV and just have something playing instantly, without deciding what TV show to watch at first. A lot of people still watch TV because they just want to flick it on and not have to think about what they are going to watch.

These "TV Channels" would would just play the latest episodes of all the shows on iTunes in random cycles. Perhaps each channel would be a playlists of different genres of shows. Then if people come a cross a TV show they are interested in watching, they can easily select with single clicks from their remote or iOS device to pay $1 and watch the whole episode front the start on-demand, or subscribe to the whole season, or subscribe to the whole series.

This would also enable people to discover new tv shows for free without turning to the pirate bay etc.

You could also use the HTTP streaming technology to buffer a stream of the next channel. So when people are flicking through channels they don't have as long to see what each channel is playing. I think a lot of people miss the fast channel flicking that you were able to do in the analogue age.
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post #9 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

Not having Steve around to charm or twist arms is going to make getting content providers on board a lot more difficult. "Steve Jobs to see you" and they drop their forks, "Tim Cook to see you" and they say "Tim who?

Tim Cook is in on all negotiations. Seriously, do you understand that a COO being groomed for the CEO job will have a lot of lead time to become well known across the industry? Tim Cook was well known just as a world class COO, as if that's a knock or something.
post #10 of 55
The Apple TV is extremely inexpensive for what it does. Just as with the under$100 iPods, when I find an admirer or unbeliever, I give them an Apple TV. As time goes on they pay back to Apple. This year all the rising college students in the circle of friends are going to college with iPhone, MacBooks, iMacs and of course Apple TVs.
post #11 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mister Snitch View Post

He's only CEO of the world's largest company. I think they'll figure it out.

When did they become the world's largest company? I thought they became the public company with the largest market cap?
post #12 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by jfanning View Post

When did they become the world's largest company? I thought they became the public company with the largest market cap?

Capitalism 101: dollar$ is how you measure size not inches.
post #13 of 55
An Apple TV set doesn't make as much sense as expanding the capabilities of the AppleTV.

Simple is often better. Selling a device which can be attached to everyone's TV set - as opposed to being a successful niche, selling one more TV set in a crowded commodity market - is worth investing in.

Apple's already forced competitors to cut margins to try to compete with the $99 AppleTV. That's a suckers response. Witness the HP TouchPad and its imminent demise.
post #14 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eideard View Post


An Apple TV set doesn't make as much sense as expanding the capabilities of the AppleTV.

Err......Why not both? I tend to think that think Apple can walk and chew gum at the same time. They are an immense transnational corporation.
post #15 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleLover2 View Post

Err......Why not both? I tend to think that think Apple can walk and chew gum at the same time. They are an immense transnational corporation.

I don't think Apple would sell a TV that could be precisely mimicked by adding a $99 box. It would have to provide something so exciting that we all MUST have one. If not, it would not be an Apple product.
An Apple Television would have to be the finest TV experience out there. Best quality screen, all the latest tech, and something that NO other TV manufacturer can provide. It must make me want to dump my beautiful new 55" top of the line screen for that new Apple centerpiece to my living room.
If they can only build a MeToo device, it won't happen.
post #16 of 55
It's not an Apple TV set. It's a TV with Aiplay built in, licensed by TV makers using Apple tech. Like a radio with built in XM.

Or not.
post #17 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by MattRebs View Post

I think Apple is in the right place to at the right time to get into the tv market, I'm really surprised TV makers like Samsung haven't been all over this. Samsung actually makes a decent tablet, probably the best of the bunch, and their tv's are world class. Its absolutely mind boggling why they haven't been able to nail this yet.

For Apple, making the hardware and the OS are the easier parts. It's getting the subscription TV deals in various countries all over the world that it needs to do to make their TV a real hit that'll prove the hardest part of all. I believe that's the true reason they haven't publicly focused on the TV beyond hobby status.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #18 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Splash-reverse View Post

Not a new technology but rather minimising the footprint of Apple TV. Probably in the scope of USB stick size as reference. The rest, like iOS mirroring, the chip needed to wirelessly stream content, storage etc. is already in place.

They are getting into the TV business. Al-in-one entertainment product for the living room with one remote. That's the future for Apple. It's a games machine with Apps, it's a video streaming machine with Apps, it's a TV machine with TV subscription deals and a movie machine. It's a get your content off an iOS device without fiddling with anything machine. It's an all-in-one Apple television, aka iTV.

The first TV since the 70's that will enable your living room to have one simple remote.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #19 of 55
I just bought my girlfriend a WD TV Live with a 1 TB drive in it for her birthday, even though she has an iPhone 4 and plans to buy an iPad soon. Why? Because the Apple TV lacks storage, and it lacks the codecs to play non-Apple videos.

I know Apple will continue to be stubborn about adding storage to the Apple TV, but without the ability to store and play non-iTunes content, it's really of limited value right now.
post #20 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

They are getting into the TV business. Al-in-one entertainment product for the living room with one remote. That's the future for Apple. It's a games machine with Apps, it's a video streaming machine with Apps, it's a TV machine with TV subscription deals and a movie machine. It's a get your content off an iOS device without fiddling with anything machine. It's an all-in-one Apple television, aka iTV.

The first TV since the 70's that will enable your living room to have one simple remote.

Agree all the way. Except ... no need for the remote at all if you have an iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch. I use my iPad with the Remote app all the time time, it's way easier than the wee aluminum remote.
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post #21 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by cajun View Post

I just bought my girlfriend a WD TV Live with a 1 TB drive in it for her birthday, even though she has an iPhone 4 and plans to buy an iPad soon. Why? Because the Apple TV lacks storage, and it lacks the codecs to play non-Apple videos.

I know Apple will continue to be stubborn about adding storage to the Apple TV, but without the ability to store and play non-iTunes content, it's really of limited value right now.

Bad move, hope you didn't pay too much. Just wait and see what's coming from Apple over the next few months ...
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post #22 of 55
Quote:
acquisition of Motorola Mobility could help the company regroup. Motorola has an existing set-top box business that builds high-definition digital video recorders and other devices

Please correct me if I am wrong, but Google didn't buy Motorola (Motorola Holdings), they bought Motorola Mobility, which is the mobile division/spin off of Motorola correct? Does that division also build set top boxes?

I know Motorola also owns FreeScale which is their chip/silicon spin off.


Never mind... Just read that Motorola Mobility is basically the consumer oriented side of the business which includes cell phones and set top boxes.
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Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
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post #23 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mister Snitch View Post

He's only CEO of the world's largest company. I think they'll figure it out.

Perfect!

+1
post #24 of 55
Add more storage of course.

But make sure to add a hookup to those Red Yellow & White things.
post #25 of 55
I think if Apple make a TV, it will have smell-o-vision
post #26 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Bad move, hope you didn't pay too much. Just wait and see what's coming from Apple over the next few months ...

lmao. you obviously do not own a WD TV Live.

it is the greatest device on the market right now to stream content to. It plays every thing i throw at it. mkv, avi, mp4....

I also have an Apple TV and i only use it to watch MLB.tv.

If a new firmware includes mlb.tv on my WD TV Live, the apple TV becomes worthless.
post #27 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Bad move, hope you didn't pay too much. Just wait and see what's coming from Apple over the next few months ...

Actually, I have experience with several options... WD TV Live, Apple TV, Roku, a Windows Media Server PC, and an XBox 360.

The PC, of course, offers the best/most options, but at the highest cost. Ditch the WMS portion and run XBMC, and alt-tab to a web browser for Netflix, Hulu, or just about anything else out there.

The XBox 360... well, you're stuck using Microsoft's media server again, and all the limitations/clunkiness that go with that. No Thanks.

Roku has built-in Wifi, 1080p output, but no storage and I haven't been able to get the app to stream video from a PC to work properly.

WD TV Live has 1080p out, 1 TB storage, streams from PC's, supports many codecs, supports DLNA, and has apps for all the major streaming services (save Amazon, but I suspect that's coming; they've been good about adding apps). It lacks Wifi, but works with many USB wifi adapters. The unit can even act as a server, itself, if you have TV's in other rooms (as most folks do).

Apple TV is stuck at 720p, has no onboard storage, doesn't stream from PC's (other than via iTunes) and lacks many codecs. The AirPlay streaming in iOS looks intriguing. One other thing I'd like to see in the Apple TV is an App Store. I will end up buying an Apple TV as a secondary set top box, but I'm waiting for the next version before I do.
post #28 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by tylerk36 View Post

Ok so thunderbolt is a key factor. The integration of multimedia devices is key. Apple considers all its Core base units and its Ax based devices to be the key. Thats why apple is going to reveal a TV/ Monitor. Basic and simple. But easy to connect devices via thunderbolt or the new generation wireless technology.

Really? How many external devices have Thunderbolt today? When Apple recently released the latest model of its monitor, it didn't even care to have input from non-Thunderbolt devices, so my two year old MacBook Pro doesn't work with it. Do you think other manufacturers are going to care about hooking up to Apple's monitor when Apple doesn't even support anything but its newest models? Do you think consumers will invest in an Apple-branded television set that only takes input from itself (presumably built-in Apple TV) or another Apple device, but not a cable/satellite box or a DVD/BD player or a video camera?

An Apple television has to have at least multiple HDMI inputs (in addition to Thunderbolt) and even that won't be enough for people who have legacy hardware.

What would be a great device is if an iPad, in conjunction with an Apple TV set, could be the equivalent of the cable box and send content wirelessly to the TV, but only if it's in 1080i for broadcast and 1080p for file content with full 5.1 channel support and with no additional compression. Otherwise, it will be a reduction in quality from what is already easily obtainable (or you might as well just watch the content on the iPad and don't need the Apple TV set at all.)

The problem is that for this to all work, Apple really needs to become the equivalent of a cable company (an MSO), but that means having to make deals with every broadcast and cable network (Discovery, AMC Networks, MTV Networks, Turner, HBO, CBS (Showtime), etc) and then they'd have to price it lower than what people are paying for cable/satellite today. That's a tall bill of goods. Personally, I don't watch very much television - the only reason I haven't killed the cable is because I have a bundle for cable modem service. But the average person in the U.S. watches five hours a day and they're not going to give that up easily. So Apple's got to bring something really unique to the table and a slightly better version of Apple TV isn't going to be enough to get people to buy an Apple TV set that will probably be priced higher than most competition (but will probably will have the nicest looking frame and stand of any TV out there.)
post #29 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

Not having Steve around to charm or twist arms is going to make getting content providers on board a lot more difficult. "Steve Jobs to see you" and they drop their forks, "Tim Cook to see you" and they say "Tim who?


Not really. First because Steve is not dead and he hasn't really left Apple. He demoted himself to a less stressful position possibly on the advice of his doctors. But Steve Jobs, Chairman of the Board can still write an email or make a phone call and folks will pay attention.

Cook also has all the user data etc that is the biggest reason folks deal with Apple. They want access to the potential audience.

And believe me, they know who Tim Cook is. He's been at Apple for 15 years. He was right there with Steve the whole time.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Eideard View Post

An Apple TV set doesn't make as much sense as expanding the capabilities of the AppleTV.

Which is how I suspect they are going. Faster processor, more ram, more storage perhaps (for streaming buffers and rental downloads) in the same little box.

The rest will come with content deals. Get more apps like CNN onto the box. Perhaps a games SDK for making apps that would toss the video up on screen while an iphone or such is the controller. Get HBO etc on board for next day episode releases. Come up with a universal system for dealing with add on content instead of this 'extras' you can only watch on your computer and the apps you can only watch on iOS devices and don't recognize when you bought the movie first then got the app. Get better pricing on all content perhaps with a subscription plan powered by the rental files. Change up the viewing window also perhaps (say the timer is 7 days from download for tv eps, 14 for movies but you can watch it as many times as you want in that window). And so on

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

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post #30 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

Perhaps a games SDK for making apps that would toss the video up on screen while an iphone or such is the controller.

Forget an iPhone as a control; the existing AppleTV has a bluetooth chip inside it so just use a bluetooth gamepad.
post #31 of 55
I think video spawning would be a more interesting idea for gaming. The iPad (or other iOS device) would be broadcasting two videos. One to the TV. One to the iPad. The one to the iPad would serve as a control for the game being spawned onto the TV.
post #32 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

Not having Steve around to charm or twist arms is going to make getting content providers on board a lot more difficult. "Steve Jobs to see you" and they drop their forks, "Tim Cook to see you" and they say "Tim who?

That is exactly what I see as Cook's challenge. WIthout the weight and charisma of a SJ, Apple's going to find negotiations a bit tougher.

Tim strikes me as a nerd. Even his father called him a plodder. None of us are looking forward to Cook's next Keynote.
post #33 of 55
AirPlay from iOS device to AppleTV will be a good start, but I think there's a better solution...
Apps that are split between iPhone/iPad and the AppleTV.
Code that is relevant to the controller (or needs to talk to other controllers used by fellow players) resides in your hand(s), while display and app logic live on a portion of the app that is blasted to the AppleTV when you start up the game.

I don't know of any gaming platform that has that much smarts on both ends of the system.
post #34 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by s4mb4 View Post

lmao. you obviously do not own a WD TV Live.

it is the greatest device on the market right now to stream content to. It plays every thing i throw at it. mkv, avi, mp4....

I also have an Apple TV and i only use it to watch MLB.tv.

If a new firmware includes mlb.tv on my WD TV Live, the apple TV becomes worthless.

Maybe for you, but not for the masses. Apple is a lot more concerned with the public at large, not those with the tech knowledge to set up and realize the benefit of such a device (WD TV).

I use my Apple TV all the time, Netflix, Youtube, Airplay from an iPad or iPhone, Streaming pictures, and the list goes on. What's SJ always saying....It just works. It's also miniscule and doesn't clutter up the TV cabinet with bulk and wires running everywhere. My only complaint is lacking content.
post #35 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by MattRebs View Post

That little chart really kind of sums up a lot of apples business.

I think Apple is in the right place to at the right time to get into the tv market, I'm really surprised TV makers like Samsung haven't been all over this. Samsung actually makes a decent tablet, probably the best of the bunch, and their tv's are world class. Its absolutely mind boggling why they haven't been able to nail this yet.

Try going into any Samsung (or other set for that matter) TV any deeper than 'on/off', and you'll see why they've failed, and will probably continue to fail. They have ZERO idea of how to present controls to a user that aren't completely impossible to understand and use.
They could probably build Android into their sets and into their remotes (or Android phones) that could present a better experience, but I doubt that they can avoid screwing even that up.
post #36 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post

Not having Steve around to charm or twist arms is going to make getting content providers on board a lot more difficult. "Steve Jobs to see you" and they drop their forks, "Tim Cook to see you" and they say "Tim who?

Cook is as bad-assed as Steve. Read up on him. Iron fist inside a velvet glove.
The guy is VERY tough. He just lacks the explosive temper.
post #37 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by cajun View Post

I just bought my girlfriend a WD TV Live with a 1 TB drive in it for her birthday, even though she has an iPhone 4 and plans to buy an iPad soon. Why? Because the Apple TV lacks storage, and it lacks the codecs to play non-Apple videos.

I know Apple will continue to be stubborn about adding storage to the Apple TV, but without the ability to store and play non-iTunes content, it's really of limited value right now.

You may want to know that starting out a post with "I just bought my girlfriend a..." will probably get you spam-filter out because of the jerks who are flooding comments sections with spam that begins precisely like that.

post #38 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Applecation View Post

I don't think Apple would sell a TV that could be precisely mimicked by adding a $99 box. It would have to provide something so exciting that we all MUST have one. If not, it would not be an Apple product.
An Apple Television would have to be the finest TV experience out there. Best quality screen, all the latest tech, and something that NO other TV manufacturer can provide. It must make me want to dump my beautiful new 55" top of the line screen for that new Apple centerpiece to my living room.
If they can only build a MeToo device, it won't happen.

On top of great picture quality comparable or better than the best (Samsung) out there, I think an integrated, high quality camera for Facetime would be killer. My current set of Connected TVs at home all support external (bulky attachments) cameras for Skype which are cumbersome to say the least (I've got to run a USB cable from camera to USB input on HDTV). This, imo, would set Apple apart from other TV manufacturers. Not to mention the integration of iTunes and iCloud services. Plus killer audio which is missing in a lot of FPTV sets these days.
post #39 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by FredAppleHead View Post

On top of great picture quality comparable or better than the best (Samsung) out there, I think an integrated, high quality camera for Facetime would be killer. My current set of Connected TVs at home all support external (bulky attachments) cameras for Skype which are cumbersome to say the least (I've got to run a USB cable from camera to USB input on HDTV). This, imo, would set Apple apart from other TV manufacturers. Not to mention the integration of iTunes and iCloud services. Plus killer audio which is missing in a lot of FPTV sets these days.

hmmm... you know, a cool feature would be a FaceTime camera that can be told to track on the iPhone/iPad/whatever being held by the user. Wherever you wander, the camera keeps you centered.
(And can I now sue anyone who builds this?)
post #40 of 55
Apple is plenty big and powerful, if they can get enough networks to jump on board, Apple can stream channels through something like Apple TV and cut out those suppliers (Direct TV, cable, etc.) out and giving itself a nice entry slice into the market.
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