Originally Posted by SolipsismX
Why would Comcast want to sell a TV when they could just sell a set top box?
Just speculating here but could it be that the dominance of content providers such as Comcast is in threatened by access to content across the web? If you can buy web based content packages from Comcast, does it matter where in the US you live? I have no basis for thinking this is even possible, but if this is what the future holds then there may be an incentive for the Comcasts in this world to partner up with someone like Apple.
The other point is that if Comcast sees a threat from the Apple model of content distribution it may be better for them to be aboard and play Apple's game and remain in control of the content.
If over time Comcast can do away with hardware they may save money.
If the market opens up to competition the one who's in bed with Apple may be better positioned.
Comcast and Apple will want you stay on that same Video 1 input on the TV so making it easier to switch to your Blu-ray player or whatever isn't in their best interest. Once you plug the TV's HDMI and power into the set top box it becomes a dumb monitor that allows you to hide the remote in a draw out of view.
On an Apple TV there would be no 'Video 1' option ;-) Designations such as Video 1, HDMi etc will seem archaic very quickly
The beauty of the set top box is that it's easier to distribute, easier to sell, can be sold at a lower price than a TV yet have a higher profit per unit, can be sold to more consumers because 1) its cheaper, 2) it doesn't mean consumers have to get rid of their currently work and perfectly fine TVs, and 3) because they connect more units to more TVs in their home instead of just on the primary TV in the living room.
I am not sure there would be a higher profit margin on a set top box than on a TV set, but the thing I would worry about buying a 'smart tv' is whether the thing will still be smart in 5 years time.
I can imagine Apple would want to sell additional hardware with a TV set. If you have paid for a content stream why limit that to a single TV? Maybe there is a business model there. A single stream costs x and two, tree or four streams cost xx,xxx, and xxxx. I imagine Apple would want to sell additional hardware to receive and distribute content in the house, building upon existing technology.
Nothing about a partnership with content providers makes putting the AppleTV HW in a TV a more lucrative maneuver. The only HW that would really only work in that sense are any cameras (FaceTime) or motion sensors. However the former has issues because TVs are not placed directly in from of the face the way FaceTime cameras on Macs and iDevices are. Mics for Siri would likely have to be placed in the remote control. You can't have it that far away from the speaker and you still need to initiate Siri with a button press. I doubt some elaborate hand gesture will work for this.
I still contend that nothing would advertise Apple's move into the living room better than a big screen with an Apple logo. That in itself has value. If this TV has a camera and Siri there is no reason the camera needs to be the same as in every other Mac. It may be able to pan and zoom. an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad would make great companions and remotes. I would imagine a separate smart controller being available, also.