Last week, Apple CEO Steve Jobs previewed a product “code-named iTV [due in the first quarter of 2007], a small box (the size of a sushi tray) intended to bridge the gap between the way we entertain ourselves on our computers and the way we distract ourselves in the living room,” Steven Levy reports for Newsweek.

“Though I agree with Jobs that downloads are the wave of future, for now I’m pretty happy with my current regimen of buying DVDs or renting them from Blockbuster or Netflix. Also, the price isn’t right. Downloading a movie costs up to $15 for new films, and 10 bucks for the backlist, even though similarly priced DVDs are more portable, can be wrapped as gifts and often come with cool bonus features,” Levy reports.

“On the other hand, Apple’s iTV product promises to be a classic Apple shot at a previously elusive sweet spot. Our computers have become fantastic media devices, holding our songs, our pictures and now our TV shows and movies—but there’s no easy, elegant way to get hold of that stuff while sprawled out in potato-land. iTV wants to be The Way. Instead of trying to be a digital workhorse with DVD drives, a hard disk and a tuner, it’s simply a Wi-Fi-enabled connection machine that cracks open all the stuff in your computer (and potentially, stuff on the Internet) and zips it to the TV set,” Levy reports.

“Is it possible that when iTV ships next year, you may also be able to choose a menu item called Google Video, and then zip through the best of the thousands of user-submitted videos on the search giant’s service? Google’s consumer product chief, Marissa Mayer, tells me that indeed, the two companies are engaged in talks,” Levy reports. “It’s inevitable that one day the boundaries between television and the computer will dissolve, but there are endless technicalities to hurdle. Could a simple $299 box really break the logjam? It seems like a stretch—but that’s what people said when Apple set out to change digital music.”

Full article here.
Note that Apple’s Safari web browser ships with Google search built-in and at the end of August Google CEO Dr. Eric Schmidt joined Apple’s Board of Directors. On the other hand, the addition of Google Video in iTV would seem to be somewhat at odds with the fact that iTV will feature iTunes podcasts, including video podcasts.

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