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Apple To Start Making TVs? 313

timothy writes "Apple might want to sell you your next TV,' says this CNN report. Which makes a lot of sense, considering that Apple's razors-and-blades, vertical-marketplace model for iTunes (and the various iDevices) doesn't make as much sense with the world of TV, where your Sony, Samsung, or (egads!) Westinghouse set is just as happy with a Google TV box, or a Roku, or one of many other media devices, as it is with an Apple TV attached."
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Apple To Start Making TVs?

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  • How would bundling a TV with AppleTV and iTunes NOT be anti-competitive?

    • by necro81 ( 917438 )
      Bundling the browser was not, in and of itself, the problem. A main thrust of the problem was Microsoft then going to computer OEMs and saying "if you want Windows on your machine (and, being the overwhelmingly dominant OS on the market, you must), then you cannot bundle any other browser". There were many other aspects to the case against Microsoft, but that's probably the one you were aiming at.

      In this case, Apple does not have a monopoly on making TVs or net-connected set-top boxes, nor even on inte
      • TFS certainly sounds like Apple desires to pursue that sort of anticompetitive situation, however.

        Which makes a lot of sense, considering that Apple's razors-and-blades, vertical-marketplace model for iTunes (and the various iDevices) doesn't make as much sense with the world of TV, where your Sony, Samsung, or (egads!) Westinghouse set is just as happy with a Google TV box, or a Roku, or one of many other media devices, as it is with an Apple TV attached.

        By implication, the writer of TFS believes that Apple would be happier if a significant portion of the TV market was made up of devices that did not work or did not work as well with their competitors boxes.

        • by necro81 ( 917438 )
          But now one is comparing a hypothetical - that Apple is seeking to make Apple-branded TVs, which then somehow come to dominate the marketplace, so that Apple can then crush the competition by abusing that monopoly - to the historical events of Microsoft first coming to dominate in one sector (operating systems) and then using that to utterly crush a nascent competitor in a different sector (web browsing).

          For the situations to be analogous, AppleTV would first have to become more-or-less ubiquitous among
    • by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Thursday June 23, 2011 @08:29AM (#36540100) Homepage Journal

      I must have missed the alternate universe where IE was banned in 1999.

      Microsoft wanted to protect its market and decided to do so by using its existing monopoly to control a likely future threat, by developing a web browser in competition with Netscape's and then doing what it could to ensure its browser, and not Netscape, would become standard, in particular using its control over a product it had a monopoly in to promote IE and suppress Netscape.

      This is somewhat different from Apple, who doesn't really have a monopoly in anything deciding to enter a new market so that it can sell its products and services there. Microsoft did the same thing without anti-trust criticism in the form of the X-Box. There's nothing illegal or anti-competitive about that.

      BTW, interesting fact: what got Microsoft so heated up about Netscape was that it was genuinely concerned that the web might become an environment in which an open, or at least not-controlled-by-Microsoft platform for software in the future. If the platform was not under Microsoft's control, then people might very well cease to be tied to Windows.

      And that's exactly what's happened since the anti-trust suit. The move to an entirely web based infrastructure has been slow, but much of the success of Apple in the 21st Centursy has been attributable to the decreasing need to use Windows as the browser becomes the major tool that everyone uses for an increasing percentage of their work (in some cases all of it.) Are we there yet? Obviously not, but when John Carmack releases Doom 7, available for all HTML7 browsers, complaining that the W3C Net3DObjects API sucks the big one, I suspect it'll be largely game over.

      Would that be true if Microsoft hadn't been sued? If Microsoft had been allowed to bury Mozilla the same way it did Netscape? If Apple hadn't bothered with WebKit/KHTML because, frankly, nothing out there of any significance worked in anything other than Trident? Would smartphones still be the unpopular devices of geeks and CEOs?

    • Again the problem that MS had was not that it bundled a browser. The problem MS had was (1) they had a monopoly on operating systems and (2) they used that monopoly to harm and exclude others like Netscape and Sun. Yes Netscape made a lot of mistakes but it came out in the trial tactics that MS used like "hinting" to OEMs that their Windows prices would rise if they installed or supported Netscape products. Intel wanted to develop a JVM for Java; MS let them know that AMD would be the "preferred" CPU in

    • That is a very different thing.

      If Microsoft bundled a TV with XBox, I doubt there would be a problem with it... that is unless this TV was not standards compliant and there began to be a critical mass of programming that would only work on the XBoxTV combination which didn't quite work correctly with standards compliant TVs causing people to think being standards compliant isn't a good thing. This results in a marketplace being harmed.

      And if Apple did what I described, then that would be just as bad.

      But yo

    • How would bundling a TV with AppleTV and iTunes NOT be anti-competitive?

      Are you selling torches and pitchforks or something?

    • Apple doesn't own 95% of the TV/computer/phone/music market share.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Because of "consumer demand" it:

    1) won't support HDCP sources
    2) won't have a VGA input, because, hey, it's a TV
    3) would be a CRT
    4) would be only an HD Ready tv (720p), with 1080i scheduled for next year, and 1080p for the year later (only in the 60hz frequency, and not the 24hz one).
    5) would only work with airport-enabled stereo systems for audio output
    6) would only play back video from thunderbolt-enabled cameras
    7) would refuse to play porn movies even if legitimately bought by the users, because appletvs

    • by alen ( 225700 )

      well that's a big improvement over a lot of LCD TV's today. the 40" panasonnic i bought last year doesn't have an on switch, need a remote. same with the 47" LG LED TV some family bought as well

  • Some problems though:

    1. Internet service providers. Many of them are cable companies, and can make agreements with other service providers who don't like this idea, or Netflix, to keep their business model afloat.

    2. Congress might see that once Apple wins, they'll get fewer bribes compared to keeping Cable alive.

    3. Competition - once the idea of a threat to cable becomes a realistic idea, content producers might want to sign on with more than just Apple, meaning that they have to compete on just about ev

  • I suppose it wouldn't be too hard for them, considering how their Cinema Displays are one of the best out there and they have enough clout in the marketplace to secure bigger, but similarly amazing, LCD displays for this. Plus, even though their Apple TVs haven't really sold much, I'm sure they could push tons of them if they up their marketing.
  • by chill ( 34294 )

    What is wrong with Westinghouse T.V.s? I got a really good deal on mine from Costco and am quite happy with it.

    • Well you don't think of the Westinghouse brand when you are shopping for hdtv's but Consumer Reports actually scored several of their models very high when compared to such giants in the field such as LG, Samsung, Sony etc. I'll never buy a Samsung tv again. Two years later and I've got problems with the lamp which caused a huge dark spot to appear in the middle of the picture as well as a split picture with 2 different resolutions and other problems.
    • by Idbar ( 1034346 )
      Isn't it obvious? We can finally buy a shinny and very expensive TV set. Does westinghouse offers that?
  • Makes sense? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by antifoidulus ( 807088 ) on Thursday June 23, 2011 @08:34AM (#36540132) Homepage Journal
    How does this even remotely "make sense" for Apple? By bundling Apple TV with a TV you are essentially targeting the market who wants, but doesn't currently have an Apple TV and is in the market for a new television.....thats what, maybe hundreds of people tops? The TV market is a commodity market where the interface is usually last on people's list of priorities. Unlike a PC, cell phone, or music player, you almost never interact with the TVs interface, consumers buy based on size, price, connectivity and picture quality. A TV really only needs to be able to turn on and off, switch channels and video inputs.
    This ranks up there with some of the stupidest Apple articles I have seen.
    • Oh, for mod points. The only way this would make sense for them is if they applied some truly obscene markup to the same hardware from Whang Dong Audio Visual and Fish Gutting Concern that everybody else ships. And made it white. The the remote only had one button.

      Hmmmm, actually...

    • by brokeninside ( 34168 ) on Thursday June 23, 2011 @08:45AM (#36540220)

      Most people rarely "interact" with their TV the same way that they rarely interact with their cell phones and mustic players. Note the shift from the prevailing view not all that long ago of "I don't want all these features, I just want to make a damned phone call" to wanting the latest iPhone or Android. Ditto with music players.

      These days, when people watch TV, they want to schedule recordings, pause, play, rewind, watch two shows at once with picture in a picture, have a stock ticker running while they watch a comedy, stream video sources, stream audio over the internet while they play a video game, make phone calls, etc. Turning what essentially a dumb disply into a smart device capable of doing that is the next logical step.

      So the market that would be targetted is not the existing market of people buying an Apple set top box. Rather, it's people looking for new TVs and, if the rumors are true, the strategy is to get a sizeable portion of that market to buy one that has Apple's iOS built into it. I think that's a reasonable strategy. The biggest obstacle seems to me to not be the market itself but barriers to entry for varioius services. Cable companies hate cable-ready TVs. They absolutely loved the advent of digital TV where they could start encrypting the signal and requiring a set top box in every room. Apple is going to have to pull a rabbit out of the hat to convince cable companies to allow Apple branded TVs to use the Apple interface rather than the set top box of the cable company. As long as consumers pretty much have to use the cable company interface, or as long as cable card is inconvenient to install, it's going to be difficult to break into the market.

      That is, until such time as streaming over the Internet is capable of replacing cable service.

      • These days, when people watch TV, they want to schedule recordings, pause, play, rewind, watch two shows at once with picture in a picture, have a stock ticker running while they watch a comedy, stream video sources, stream audio over the internet while they play a video game, make phone calls, etc. Turning what essentially a dumb disply into a smart device capable of doing that is the next logical step.

        I wan't all those things, but I don't want my TV doing any of it. When I buy a computer, I don't want an all-in-one model. I want my monitor separate in the event that it breaks or I want to upgrade. The same goes for my TV.

    • by samkass ( 174571 )

      While I understand and don't necessarily disagree with your opinion, I'm also reminded that a lot of these arguments could have applied to phones before the iPhone or MP3 players before the iPod Touch. It might be interesting to see what a TV with an embedded iPhone in it, syncing to an iCloud/iTMS could bring. Maybe Apple will even take advantage of the recent rulings that cable/FiOS providers need to lease capacity and essentially become media distribution competitors on the TV just like they are on iDe

      • by Rich0 ( 548339 )

        Yeah, but a cell phone was already a device with a 2-year lifespan before the smartphone came along. If cell phones already cost $1k and lasted 10 years I doubt you'd get as many people to just toss them to buy a new $1500 phone with a computer built-in.

        A TV typically lasts 10 years easily. They can also be quite expensive. Plus, the sorts of people who buy $150 TVs that are fairly disposable are unlikely to be in the market for anything Apple is going to sell them.

        Now, what I could see is Apple pushing

    • How does it make sense for anybody to bundle it with a TV? If I wanted an Apple TV, I'd want it to be portable, not tied to one television only.

    • Yes, but an Apple TV is something special. You expect the experience to be fabulous and Steveish. As pretty and minimalist as the AppleTV box is, it's still a separate box. And Steve hates boxes and wires.

      I don't think it will happen, but it could. And if it does, it will chain you that much tighter to the iEcoSystem.

      • And if it does, it will chain you that much tighter to the iEcoSystem.

        IEco IEco

        Your Spy-Boy and My Spy-Boy sitting by the TV
        My Spy-Boy says to your Spy-Boy
        "I'm gonna send your deets to Stevie"

        Talkin' 'bout
        Hey now (hey now)
        Hey now (hey now)
        IEco IEco an nay (whoah-oh)
        Jockomo feena ah na nay
        Jockomo feena nay

  • by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Thursday June 23, 2011 @08:38AM (#36540162) Homepage Journal

    A television with a decent user interface! Thats a novel idea.

    • I think there's mileage in the idea of a drastically simplified TV. The actual 'TV' parts of my TV are redundant. The analogue tuner is useless because analogue broadcasts have ceased, and I don't use the built-in DVB-T tuner because I use an external, HDMI satellite tuner.

      All my TV really does is accept inputs from other devices (rapidly converging on HDMI), and output audio to an external box through an optical cable. The only thing I do with my TV remote is turn it on and off, and switch between input

  • While my experience with non-technical people has given me the impression that their fear of cables, even relatively simple ones, should not be underestimated, I still find it hard to imagine that the TV market could possibly be in Apple's interest.

    Apple's work in hardware has, for quite some time now, observed a number of basic characteristics, all unhelpful to the TV market:

    Cost/time structure: Upon first release, a new Apple device is(strictly compared to equivalents) often reasonably aggressively
  • ...welcome a Jobsian stab at remaking the television. Right now, what good is a sleek flat panel set if you need all those wires to connect it for power, Bluray player, amp...? Perhaps a two-element design (like the last Pioneer Kuro) with a single cord connecting the panel to a separate box?
    • HDMI gives you what you're looking for. Get a receiver that takes in all the other jumblefuck of cable types and variety, and run a single HDMI cable to the display. Then, put the receiver, BluRay, Xbox, etc. in a cabinet to conceal said jumblefuck. For an extra clean install, put the HDMI cable in the wall / under the carpet / in a piece of J-channel trim, and have an electrician install a 110v receptacle behind where the TV will be.

      No wires visible whatsoever.

  • by DynamoJoe ( 879038 ) on Thursday June 23, 2011 @08:59AM (#36540324)
    Apple already has a device that handles everything the TV needs without having to deal with the TV's problems (backlight, dead pixels, manufacturing problems/"green-ness", etc). My guess is if Apple is looking in this direction, they're going to sell AppleTV equipment to TV manufacturers for integration into their TVs, not their own Apple-branded flat panels. I seriously doubt Apple will release an Apple TV to compete with the Sonys and Philips And Samsungs out there, but Apple will happily sell those companies a plug-in module that'll increase the value of their TVs and increase the userbase of the iTunes store. Maybe Sony won't bite, but the smaller manufacturers might.
  • First, Apple would have to start "making" Iphones, Ipads, and Macs. All of Apple's units are produced by Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd., aka "Foxconn", which also manufactures TVs for Sony. Best Buy is now a "manufacturer". "Polaroid" is a TV manufacturer. Heck, I could start "Manufacturing" TVs. The western press appears to be utterly oblivious to what "manufacturers" are. We have a Tin-Tin image of China (see 60 Minutes coverage of e-waste - the product they filmed was actually delivered to
  • I'm guessing that, a big "if true", then they have more networks in their good graces than GoogleTV does which seems to have angered almost all of them and reduced its functionality and market demand.

    Wouldn't it be better to get an app for smart TV's like Netflix, Pandora, and the other big streaming companies have and stay out of the crowded hardware market (unless blocked)? Unless they can do something truly innovative that is also beyond what a small add-on box can do, with none of the headaches invol
  • Like their existing Apple TV product, this is going to be a tough sell.

    Seriously... Why would I want to pay $4 to rent a single HD movie or TV show from iTunes, when I can watch as many as I want from Netflix for $9 a month?

  • Sorry, but there are already enough designs out there that other than slapping an Apple logo on it what can they do in TVs that has not been done? Aluminum - already done, all black, well that is everywhere, white? ewww?

    Throw in the low margins and just how much of an idiot fanboi market do they think they can exploit? I cannot imagine anything less than 40+ would have a margin sufficient to matter. Do they really think GoogleTV/etc is such a threat? After seeing their lock in/lock down attempts with the iO

    • Re: universal remote that doesn't scream "dork" but actually works. Check out the Logitech Harmony One. It looks mostly like any other remote, but programs to allow one button to activate any activity. One button to turn on the tv, receiver, blu ray player, and set everything to the proper inputs / outputs. One button to change to AppleTV, change I/O, and turn off the blu-ray player. Etc.

      I absolutely love mine - it's made a complex setup so easy to use that my baby boomer parents can use it.

  • ... that thinks this summary is written so poorly that it might well set a new low for Slashdot summaries?
  • Apple could license the AppleTV interface and hardware to manufacturers to build in AppleTV functionality; and then sell content off of iTunes. This lets the TV manufacturers fight it out in the marketplace and no matter who wins, Apple wins. Once enough AppleTV capable sets are out there, Apple would be in a great position to get more content providers to move to iTunes. Ultimately, they could move users from cable TV to an a la cart and / or subscription model from iTunes. It would also make as sea change

  • Hopefully the Apple television won't come with an underpowered CPU like the AppleTV does.
  • Seriously - we spend so much time in our cars, why not a head unit from apple? For the kind of coin they ask, they could probably get a HD big enough to sync at least 2-3 iDevices to the unit (one way) so that your phone/pod/touch could be the link between your home system and the unit, though a video/interface pass-through via the super-secret connector handshake would probably be enough.

    Since wifi sync is on the way, let your car sync to your home pc wirelessly. Add a sim slot, and now your head unit is

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

      Stop buying crap.... []

      Hands down the EASIEST to use head unit for a car made. it's integration with the iphoneipod is stellar . It uses real Bluetooth for hands free from BlueParrot instead of the low grade crap that Kenwood uses. and you can get an audio DSP that will make your Daewoo sound better than a BMW premium sound system.

      I used to listen to on it daily until they started to charge for it, so now I listen to Sirius instead ($6.99 a mont

      • But none of our three vehicles has a double-DIN, you insensitive clod! Indeed, they are more uncommon than not. I think out of the 21 cars I've owned maybe one had room for a double-din. Two more appeared to, but once you pulled the pocket from under the stereo you found that there was a module there. In my Impreza it was SRS. In my Nissan I forget, but there was no room there either. All my chevys and fords have been single-din only. My Mercedes is single-din, though there's room for double if you shrunk c

    • Dunno about now but years ago Costco had a Sharp AQUOS display the same size for less than half that, and it has a serial port on the back for remote management. (Most functionality is NOT expressed through the serial port, but there's enough for most purposes.)

    • by geekoid ( 135745 )

      Whats service came with them? If Cisco provided some other value, then it may well have been worth it.

  • If Apple puts a Mac Mini inside the TV set so that third parties can add apps (or use open source software, or bootcamp to dual boot with Linux/windows to run ANY PC application to surf the web for content). Actually just add a TV tuner to large screen iMac and you have a TV.

  • Only when I can rockbox it.
  • iPod, iPhone, iPad..these are all TVs.

APL hackers do it in the quad.