NY Times: How will Steve Jobs marry the computer and TV?

“With an enticing invitation proclaiming ‘It’s Showtime,’ Mr. Jobs last week touched off speculation about how far Apple will go as it takes its next big step into digital video,” John Markoff reports for The New York Times.

“A distribution deal with the Walt Disney Company and sleeker, higher-capacity video iPods are part of the consensus among those who handicap Apple product announcements. But company executives have hinted that Apple has at least one bigger idea on tap,” Markoff reports. “Mr. Jobs needs one. In his quest to remake Hollywood distribution in the Internet era, his main challenge is one that has bedeviled the personal computer industry. Today, despite many efforts by Microsoft, Intel and a variety of start-up companies to insinuate the computer into home entertainment, almost all movies watched at home use cable, satellite or DVD players, making it possible for Hollywood to control both piracy and pricing.”

“So far Mr. Jobs has kept his strategy well hidden. Much speculation has centered on a living-room-ready version of the company’s least expensive computer, the Mac Mini, a compact desktop model originally positioned as an inexpensive way for PC users to switch to the Macintosh market. A living-room Mini could play DVD’s, download Internet data like digital movies and include a TV tuner,” Markoff reports.

“A more intriguing possibility discussed by former Apple engineers and on rumor sites like AppleInsider.com is that Apple may use wireless technologies like Wi-Fi and ultra-wideband to stream digital content from a Macintosh to the TV. Such a system would allow the video to be played on television screens with the computer’s hand-held Apple remote control,” Markoff reports.

“Such an approach would almost certainly appeal to Mr. Jobs’s spartan aesthetic. And it tracks well with one of Apple’s peripheral products, AirPort Express, which makes it possible to stream digital audio wirelessly to speakers in different rooms of a home,” Markoff reports. “Moreover, such an approach would keep Hollywood digital video content locked up on a Macintosh and stream it to the TV using a connector called HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface), which is engineered to offer copy protection.”

“Mr. Jobs and Apple were pioneers in using Wi-Fi in their computers, and it is likely that he is looking for a way to renew Apple’s technological leadership in video,” Markoff reports. “That is almost certain to make Tuesday’s event, to be held at a theater across the street from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, one of Apple’s most closely watched product introductions.”

Full article here.

Related articles:
Is this Apple’s 6G iPod? – September 10, 2006
Speculation ramps up ahead of Apple Computer’s ‘It’s Showtime’ event – September 06, 2006
Report: Apple to unveil movie service with full-length Disney features on September 12th – September 06, 2006
It’s Showtime: Apple invites media to special event in San Francisco on September 12th – September 05, 2006
Analyst: Apple ‘iPhone’ finally ready for production – September 05, 2006
RUMOR: Apple plans blockbuster product announcements next Tuesday – September 04, 2006
RUMOR: Apple to launch iMac Core 2 Duo, movie store, new iPods on September 12th – September 04, 2006

22 Comments

  1. It’s official: I can have John Markoff’s Job at the New York Times.

    I too can:

    1. Make educated guesses on Apple and industry trends.
    2. Ask people their opinion.
    3. Use my imagination and put 2 and 2 together.
    4. Browse rumor sites.
    5. Type.

    Which office do I get?

    Is there a good coffee shop in the building?

    When do the benies kick in?

  2. The fact is that this is going to be a shotgun wedding, with Jobs dragging the studios kicking and screaming to the alter.

    This is different from when iTMS started cos then the labels were desperate for an alternative to online piracy and were willing to let SJ do what he wanted.

    It will be interesting to see who has signed up for the expected movie iTMS. My bets are that a few studios rather deal with other vendors because they get the control they want and Jobs is unwilling to toe the line.

    Sometimes I think SJ’s stubborness can get in the way of progress.

  3. It all boils down to the bottom line.
    Will the Unbox approach work? Probably… a little… after they refine it and over time…
    Will the Apple approach work…They are going to start with Disney…but if they sell more with ONE studio than Unbox does with many…that will get everyone’s attention…and don’t think that isn’t likely.
    If it’s EASY to use…and provides a living room experience that’s in good enough quality Apple can’t lose.
    If they sell enough, the other studios will strike deals very quickly.

  4. Would bunny slippers be appropriate attire for the wedding of computers and TV?

    I still think that a separate set-top box would be appropriate; something small, with Bluetooth capability for the use of assorted wireless devices (especially wireless headphones when one wants to watch while their SO wants to sleep)…something small…no, Mini…

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